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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Skiers receive a hat after taking a free bus ride to Snowbird on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. UTA is promoting bus rides and carpooling to the resorts statewide, especially in months like January when the inversion is bad.

SALT LAKE CITY — In September 2015, Ski Utah announced a partnership with advocacy group Protect Our Winters in a campaign to raise awareness in the state and nationally about the cause of environmental responsibility.

In support of those efforts, Ski Utah, Protect Our Winters and local ski clothing company Discrete, along with Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, hosted POW Day for the first time Wednesday in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

The date was chosen because, based on decades of snow data, Jan. 13 is statistically the snowiest day in Utah, explained Paul Marshall, communications director for Ski Utah. The one-day effort was developed as a way to celebrate "The Greatest Snow on Earth," as well as endorse sustaining the beauty of the natural surroundings of Utah's ski areas.

“We’re trying to promote getting cars off the road,” Marshall said. “We encouraged skiers and riders to carpool, take UTA or rideshare to help lower CO2 emissions, reduce traffic congestion and increase the overall awareness around environmental accountability.”

To encourage skiers and snowboarders to use public transit, the Utah Transit Authority provided free ski bus passes up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta and Snowbird on Wednesday morning. In addition, participants received a limited edition POW Day hat as a gift from Discrete.

“We’re trying to make sure everyone gets on the slopes,” Marshall said.

There have been times already this season when skiers were forced to forgo their ski excursions due to overcrowding at resort parking lots and along canyon roads, he noted.

Getting more people to carpool or take public transportation, Marshall said, will help reduce pollution in the atmosphere and congestion on the roads leading to the resorts.

“The main objective is to (encourage) environmental accountability and responsibility,” he said.

Financial support for the project was made by Mountain Accord through a significant donation that was gifted to Protect Our Winters for each skier who signed up to be a member, rode UTA and/or carpooled Wednesday, Marshall said.

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