Sam Porter is on to something; if you want a skier’s attention, talk about snow. Porter (Porterhouse Productions) is about to take this attention-grabber to a whole new level.
Avalaunch – Porter’s latest “medium for change” through the arts and environment– begins this week at the Salt Lake City Outdoor Retailer Show at The Depot, January 24, 25 and 26. The hybrid event is the launching pad for what Porter hopes will be a nation-wide tour through 21 major North American ski communities bringing entertainment, education and sustainability together in an effort to save lives and snow.
“There are 200 million skiers all over the world,” Porter says. “I know skiers that almost love snow more than their kids. Snow reaches a demographic of this planet that is incredibly passionate about this world because they love it.”
The focus of Avalaunch is two-fold: raising avalanche awareness and reducing global warming contributions from the many, many people who rely on snow for fun and survival. Porter hopes Avalaunch will inspire and educate through something he takes very seriously: fun.
“We’re trying to reach people who aren’t going to the avalanche seminars. They’re going to a hip-hop show. For me, it’s purely about fun…It’s about celebrating the things that are working.”
Some top-notch acts, businesses and organizations will help Porter celebrate in Salt Lake City; Michael Franti & Spearhead will headline the entertainment and a virtual village replete with “eco snow” will feature avalanche experts, exhibitions, gear companies and information on skiing, snow and climate change. 1% For the Planet is sponsoring Avalaunch as a recipient group at OR. Allison Gannet of Save Our Snow will present, and Salt Lake City’s mayor is slated to speak and cut a green ribbon to celebrate a new “Platform for Green” at The Depot and the new Depot restaurant. Ski films, DJs and VJs will provide entertainment throughout the festival and show.
Eventually, in Salt Lake City in 2009, Porter hopes to take Avalaunch on the road with a converted bio-diesel tour fleet fully loaded with “green” technologies. By keeping the environment as a focus of the tour while working with individual ski communities and avalanche centers, Porter says Avalaunch will gain its own momentum.
“It’s not just your typical show,” Porter explains. “The model of this work has to be from the local community or it won’t work, period. It’s not a product tour. We’re going through strong leadership networks like Outdoor Retailer to teach people. For Avalaunch to work, we need to be a fundraising effort that does not interfere with the local fundraising efforts.”
Porter also created Avalaunch as a non-profit to ensure all energies are directed on the festival’s mission. Though the mission for Avalaunch is driven by Porter, he says it will have its own energy.
“The greater value is in figuring out how to create social movements that succeed on their own without the idea guy,” Porter says.
Porter says two ideas will govern Avalaunch: “Know before you go” and “You’re not a sailor if you don’t pay attention to the weather.”