Grizzlies and Gondolas: Animals and the Meaning of Skiing Landscapes in British Columbia, Canada

in Nature and Culture
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This article examines several ways in which animals are brought into skiing in British Columbia, Canada. Discourse analysis, interviews with skiers, and field observation are used to analyze how skiing joins together skiers, mountain landscapes, and non-human animals. First, animals enter ski industry discourse primarily as symbols of nature, or as species that ski corporations manage through habitat stewardship. Second, environmentalists recruit animals—particularly bears and mountain caribou—into a discourse of wildlife and wilderness values that are threatened by ski industry expansion. From this standpoint, skiing landscapes transform wildlife landscapes to meet the needs of a global tourist economy. Finally, skiers' talk about their own encounters with animals illustrates how embodied animals also shape skiers' experience of mountainous nature.