To fight one’s way hundreds of meters up a mountain for hours long only to ride down for a few seconds — that might just sound crazy to some people. For a snowboarder, it can be a way to take a first step against today’s environmental crisis.

Between the desire to achieve something and the actual accomplishment lies the pathway to get there. It may be short or long. For a snowboarder, this journey can mean 3,456 feet. It’s an apparently insignificant elevation difference, which is not realized in lightning speed by some resource-intensive machine. It’s an elevation difference that must be surmounted with one’s own strength. This is done quite consciously — to descend the mountain only one time, to summit only one time, and thereby feel and respect nature’s rhythm.

Ride Greener and Patagonia Snowboard Ambassador Sten Smola has been journeying to the Alps for over 15 years, using mainly public transportation, and summiting countless peaks on foot. He consciously refrains from flying around the world to chase the everlasting snow. In doing so, he makes his own very modest contribution not to further accelerate global warming.

This article originally appeared on Ride Greener and is republished here with permission.

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