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Trump sworn in, met with protests

U of T profs, community members weigh in on Trump inauguration, protests

Trump sworn in, met with protests

Ten weeks after a particularly long and messy election season, Donald Trump has been sworn in as the forty-fifth President of the United States, with protests engulfing Washington, DC and other cities across the world.

At noon on Friday, Trump took the oath of office on the steps of the US Capitol and gave his inaugural address to the nation —  his first official address as president.

Trump employed a number of talking points that he used during the election, but the “Make America Great Again” slogan came across with the most zeal, with Trump promising: “From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.”

With his firmly inward-looking rhetoric, the installation of Trump as president is sure to mark the beginning of a period of major change in how the influential state interacts with the world — including Canada.

Toronto joins the world in protest

With an approval rating between 34–40 per cent, Trump has the lowest of any incoming president in recent memory. Saturday was Trump’s first full day as president — and it was met with substantial protest.

The Washington Post reports that at least 1,200 buses sought permits in the city for January 21, which coincided with the Women’s March on Washington. ‘Sister Marches’ organized in solidarity with the march in Washington also took place in over 600 cities across the world, including Toronto.

Over 60,000 gathered at Queen’s Park before marching down University Avenue to the US Consulate and then proceeding to Toronto City Hall. The Varsity attended the march and spoke with numerous attendees to find out their reasons for marching.

A protestor named Diane told The Varsity “I’m marching because I’m in my fifties and I lived through the feminist movement, and I can see where we were and where we’ve come, and I want to make sure that we continue to move forward.”

Cathy, another protester, also expressed concerns over the situation, saying that she is “really, really concerned about what’s happening south of the border and the effect it could have here in Canada in empowering expressions of hatred and violence against women, and that that’s okay, because that’s the way he’s acted — and it’s not okay. And we’re going to stand up and say, ‘We will not let it happen here.’”

All ages were represented at the march. Liam, age 11, said, “I’m marching because Donald Trump’s not a nice person… and he does bad things.”

A number of faculty members also participated in the march. York University Professor Jody Berland stated, “I’m of the generation of women that spent many years getting healthcare rights, abortion rights, equal pay rights, and dignity rights for women, and we don’t want to lose those rights. And we are confident that the new generation will pick it up and run.”

Anna Korteweg, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UTM also weighed in: “I’m marching because I’m scared about what Trump will mean for the globe, for the world, for my children, for my students, and I don’t know yet how we can stop the tide Trump signifies, but I hope together we can figure out how to get back on a better path.”

What’s next for the US and Canada?

In an email to The Varsity, Professor Robert Bothwell of the Munk School of Global Affairs wrote that he felt the relationship between Canada and the United States would be maintained “with great difficulty” under a Trump presidency.

“The US is bitterly divided, with the result that party positions become very rigid. One party, the Democrats, is recognizable and comprehensible as a party. The other… well, not so much. This is not just my conclusion, but Norman Ornstein’s, the Canadian at the American Enterprise Institute and a major scholar on US politics,” noted Bothwell.

When asked how Trudeau might maintain Canadian/US relations under a Trump presidency, Bothwell stated, “The USA’s a big country, and there are always some Americans we can get along with, and some we can’t. The proportions differ, however.”

“If we are to believe what Trump’s entourage [says], we are in for some difficulties, especially over trade. I don’t think it would make much difference what Canadian party was in power: I don’t think the Trump team discriminates. Dealing with Trump the Twitterer will be [hard] enough; dealing with Republican politicians who worship Ayn Rand will be impossible,” explained Bromwell.

Public consultations for U of T Secondary Plan to begin

Proposed UTSG Secondary Plan divides campus into distinct ‘Character Areas’

Public consultations for U of T Secondary Plan to begin

The Toronto and East York Community Council adopted a motion to begin public consultation on the University of Toronto’s proposed amendments to the City of Toronto’s Official Plan to establish a new Secondary Plan for UTSG.

The Secondary Plan provides a municipal planning framework to manage developments on campus; it outlines policies on how land in the area can be used and provides municipal expectations regarding where and how future projects are carried out. These policies include height allowances, zoning, parking requirements, and other urban land use restrictions.

The new Secondary Plan aims to provide flexibility to how the university develops the planning area in response to the increasing academic and ancillary demands of students, staff, and faculty, while at the same time conserving the distinct heritage of multiple blocks around the campus.

This stands in contrast to the current Secondary Plan, which identifies 29 specific individual sites for further development.

“The current Secondary Plan, adopted in 1997, requires updating to ensure it appropriately addresses the current planning policy framework and the existing and future City context,” said Christine Burke, Director of Campus & Facilities Planning at U of T. “The proposed Secondary Plan was developed with a focus on the public realm and the pedestrian experience.”

Burke believes that the updating the Secondary Plan with additional flexibility and the move away from site-specific planning “allows both the University (and other area institutions) and the City to think both creatively and long-term.”

Scott Mabury, Vice-President University Operations, says that since the current Secondary Plan was adopted, all projects have needed to go to the City for rezoning. “The strategy was crafted… out of our experience,” he said of the failure of site-specific planning in mitigating the need to rezone.

The new Secondary Plan proposes to divide the campus into five distinct ‘Character Areas’, namely Historic Campus, Huron-Sussex, North Campus, South Campus, and West Campus.

“Each character area has been evaluated separately and as part of the greater whole, creating a comprehensive planning framework for the St. George campus,” Burke explained.

According to the Secondary Plan, “By looking at the Campus as a collection of areas of distinct character… [the university] can direct future growth and change in ways that both make efficient use of Campus lands and are considerate of these Character Areas.”

The new plan also proposes the designation of ‘Significant Open Spaces’ to protect historically significant open connections between buildings such as Front Campus, Philosopher’s Walk and Taddle Creek, Hart House Circle, and the Victoria University Quad.

Any new development within or adjacent to these open spaces must take into account the relationship between the project and the surrounding open space.

Views of specific landmarks and features will also be protected under the new plan. This includes the view of Victoria College from Queen’s Park Crescent East and Wellesley Street West, the view of the Soldiers’ Tower from the north side of Hoskin Avenue in front of the Trinity College entrance, and the view of the dome of Convocation Hall from Russell Street at Huron Street.

These views “have been deliberately designed to be viewed from specific axial or oblique viewpoints” and new developments have to be designed to maintain these protected views.

The proposal also identifies a public realm network made up of the Significant Open Spaces, major streets and various branch streets and lanes that connect buildings and spaces. This network is to be maintained and enhanced with a focus on pedestrian use.

The Historic Campus Character Area covers the area east of and including Queen’s Park; Front Campus and the surrounding buildings; Hart House Circle; and Trinity College. This area is not intended to see significant growth but the new plan allows for new underground parking, limited vehicular presence, and improved pedestrian amenities. These policies would enable the Landscape of Landmark Quality project, which would pedestrianize King’s College Circle and relocate surface parking to underground parking below Front Campus.

The Huron-Sussex Character Area covers the section of low-rise residential buildings and parkettes that form the Huron-Sussex neighbourhood. The area is expected to be stable, with policies included for laneway housing and small-scale commercial uses in the area. These provisions were recommended by the Huron-Sussex Neighbourhood Planning Study that was conducted and released in 2014.

“We developed the Huron-Sussex plan in cooperation with the university. So we’ve signed off on it,” said Julie Mathien, President of the Huron-Sussex Residents Organization. “We’ve known all along that it would be folded into the Secondary Plan.”

The North Campus Character Area is the portion of campus that faces Bloor Street and contains institutional buildings such as the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Varsity Stadium. It also includes newer academic buildings such as the Jackman Law Building and Woodsworth College.

The South Campus Character Area includes buildings on the south side of King’s College Circle and extends down to College Street.

The West Campus Character Area covers the area west of St. George Street up to Robarts Library. Whereas the Historic Campus Character Area has an open and connected public realm, the West Campus Character Area is identified as requiring a “more strategic approach” in terms of creating better open spaces.

It is expected to experience the most growth out of all the Character Areas according to the strategy of balanced intensification outlined in the new plan.

The Secondary Plan proposes the development of Huron Street into “a densely built-up but pedestrian focused street,” as well as a student hub at Sidney Smith that ties into the Willcocks Common and St. George Street.

This planned expansion in the West Campus Character Area has drawn some criticism from Sue Dexter, U of T Liaison of the Harbord Village Residents’ Association. “The solution [the university has] come up with to date is that they put in heights… for buildings in the area and then they put a kind of dotted line and say, ‘We could go up to here, but we promise we won’t go up to that height.’” Dexter told the Toronto and East York Community Council. “So it’s vague, it’s really vague.”

Given the size of the envisioned development in the West Campus Character Area, Dexter believes that the portion from Harbord Street to Russell Street should have its own Secondary Plan.

In an interview with The Varsity, Dexter cited the Huron-Sussex Neighbourhood Planning Study as an example of how this fine-grained area plan could be drawn up. “It’s a huge development and it’s going to affect both St. George and Huron Street, and Huron all the way down. So what you need is… to plan it properly so it will fit and integrate into the green space in the heart of the campus,” she said.

Max Allen, Vice-President of Planning and Development for the Grange Community Association, does not believe another Secondary Plan is necessary. According to him, one of the problems has to do with technical issues.

The association is “in agreement with the university with respect to dividing it up into Character Areas,” Allen said.

As to what the Grange Community Association would like to see from the proposed Secondary Plan, he brought up the area on 256 McCaul Street, including the parking lot. While the university has no plans for the area, Allen would still want to see “all of the properties the university owns on the perimeter” covered under the new plan.

U of T forecasts net income of $178.4 million, deficit of $93.9 million

Debt surpasses $1 billion, S&P credit rating upgraded

U of T forecasts net income of $178.4 million, deficit of $93.9 million

U of T’s financial forecast for the current fiscal year ending April 30, 2017 reports a projected net income of $178 million and projected net assets to be approximately $4.7 billion. This projected net income has decreased by $32.2 million from 2016, while the forecasted net assets have seen an increase of $347.7 million.

These numbers were presented in Chief Financial Officer Sheila Brown’s report, Financial Forecast to April 30, 2017 as at January 4, 2017.

The report will be presented at the Business Board meeting on January 23. It lays out the university’s projected revenue, expenses, net income, and changes in net assets from January to April 2017.

The university also projects a deficit of $93.9 million, which is an increase of $41.9 million from last year’s figure of $52 million. This increase is largely attributed to additional internal debt which is reported to be financing capital expenditures under the university’s debt programme.

U of T is also forecasting $3.13 billion in revenue for the fiscal year, with the largest source of income being student fees at about $1.39 billion. Based on the projected figures, this means that the tuition fee revenue for this fiscal year will have risen $14.8 million.

The growth is primarily attributed to an increase in international undergraduate tuition revenues.

Expenses have been forecasted to be $2.96 billion, which implies an increase of $257.2 million from 2016. The bulk of the expenses will be going towards salaries, at about $1.36 billion; $234.3 million will be dedicated to scholarships and bursaries.

The university is assuming a projected investment return of 6.8 per cent, which is based on the actual return from May 2016 to November 2016. The endowment payout is expected to be $81.1 million for the year ending April 30 2017, while the projected endowments are expected to total about $2.2 billion. This represents an increase of $98.5 million from endowments last year.

The financial report also forecasts an increase of $101.4 million in divisional and central general reserves and $37.7 million in future divisional capital expenditures. The university acknowledges that investment returns are uncertain and that they only have interim information on divisionally-controlled revenues and expenses.

The debt report

The university’s annual Debt Strategy Review will also be presented at Monday’s Business Board meeting. U of T sets its debt burden ratio at 5 per cent, meaning that debt and interest must be within 5 per cent of total expenditures. At this ratio, the total debt policy limit has been set at $1469.0 million. Of this, $350 million is internal debt and $1.12 billion is allocated for external components.

The university’s actual outstanding debt has surpassed $1 billion and is now at $1.02 billion; $715.8 million is external long-term debt and $304.1 million is internal debt. Of the internal debt, $150 million comes from pension funding. Of the external debt, 99.2 per cent is made up of unsecured debentures.

The university’s credit rating has gone up slightly from last year. Moody’s Investor’s Service gave the university an Aa2 rating, and Dominion Bond Service assigned a rating of AA, both unchanged from a year ago.

The grade from Standard & Poor has improved a letter grade from AA to AA+. These ratings are considered ‘investment grade.’

The report also states that last year’s debt policy limit projection for 2021 of $1.75 billion has been raised to $1.8 billion, which shows a $46.2 million increase.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated the name of U of T’s Chief Financial Officer. 

U of T Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee releases report

President Meric Gertler says university is “beginning to work on issues right away”

U of T Truth and Reconciliation Steering Committee releases report

The university’s Steering Committee tasked with making actionable recommendations for the university’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released its own report last week.

The report was titled Wecheehetowin, which is Cree for ‘working together,’ and on January 13, the committee delivered and entrusted the report to President Meric Gertler and Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr. In a ceremony at Hart House that included the lighting of sage and group dancing, Indigenous elders and members of the Steering Committee formally entrusted Gertler and Regehr with their recommendations.

Gertler, speaking to The Varsity, called the ceremony “one of those moments that will stick with me for a long, long time. Personally, it was very moving and very meaningful, and one of those milestones of one’s work at the university that will just be emblazoned in my memory.”

Formed early last year by Gertler, the Steering Committee was a direct response to the 2014 TRC report that outlined challenges facing Canada’s Indigenous population as a result of systemic abuse and racism, particularly the residential school system.

The TRC was an attempt at a transitional justice model of conciliation but has faced criticism in the years following its conclusion for lacking concrete reform.

The report is available online; it includes 32 recommendations.

Indigenous spaces

Many of the tangible recommendations of the committee are related to physical changes on campus. The working groups informing the committee “emphasized that space was central to the Indigenous experience at the University, and that the current spaces dedicated to Indigenous experience were lacking in both number and features.”

The report stressed the importance of creating the “right environment” for Indigenous people, “if the University truly wishes to ensure the recruitment, retention, and flourishing of Indigenous people on our campuses.”

One of the more major recommendations related to Indigenous spaces includes the creation of a dedicated Indigenous space at UTSG.

Both the report and Gertler suggested that the Front Campus redesign process may be an appropriate and significant context for the establishment of this Indigenous space. “We have heard very clearly the call for a better and more visible space, and we will do everything we can to achieve that,” Gertler said.

In addition, the report called on the university to “begin planning immediately for the creation of dedicated, appropriate Indigenous spaces on the UTM and UTSC campuses.” The relationship between nature and structure on these campuses is crucial to this recommendation. Gertler says he has already reached out to the principals of both campuses regarding the implementation of this recommendation.

Further recommendations on the topic of Indigenous spaces include funding and placing more Indigenous public art across all campuses, and launching “a process to identify and name appropriate spaces on the three campuses using Indigenous languages.”

Indigenous faculty and staff

Many of the working groups identified a “strong desire for increased recruitment of Indigenous faculty members — particularly full-time, tenure-track or teaching-stream faculty members.” Their call to action on this point was a university-wide initiative to support significantly more Indigenous faculty over the next three years with the use of targeted funds.

Gertler said that “this one is really important, because so many of the other recommendations and calls to action in the report depend on our ability to work collaboratively with members of the Indigenous community. And the report makes clear that our current Indigenous community on our three campuses is stretched pretty thinly. There aren’t really enough of them to serve on all these committees and provide this important advice.”

Gertler elaborated: “We have to hire more faculty and staff of an Indigenous background.”

Some of the other recommendations surrounding how the university relates to and hires Indigenous faculty and staff are: exit interviews for Indigenous faculty and staff who leave employment with the university; a review of anti-discrimination training materials for hiring committees; and an increase in the number of Indigenous staff supporting “important programs,” especially ones that aim to revitalize and strengthen Indigenous languages.

Indigenous curriculum

A long-term call to action by the committee was that “the University should work to integrate significant Indigenous curriculum content in all of its divisions by 2025.”

Changes to curriculum will happen over time, according to Gertler. He made it clear that the faculty needs time to digest and think through the report. Once they’ve done that, “we will start a university-wide conversation about how to do this,” he said. “It’s in the faculties and divisions where curriculum is developed and implemented, so it’s really important for leaders at that level to buy in and lead the process of implementing these changes in ways that work for them and their disciplines.”

In addition, the report details a short-term goal of launching an initiative “to develop and offer Indigenous learning opportunities for faculty, instructors, staff, and teaching assistants.”

What now?

Both the university’s Steering Committee and Gertler see accountability as an important aspect of the university recommendations.

The report asked Gertler and Regehr to “consider the creation of an Indigenous Advisory Council made up primarily of members of Indigenous communities external to the University, and ensure that it is operating by the end of 2017 at the latest.”

This council would be tasked with monitoring the implementation of the calls to action made in the report and would address the issue of accountability to the recommendations.

“We haven’t yet settled on one model yet,” Gertler said, but he made it clear that the university is “looking around the country to see how other universities have been doing this, to see what we can learn from them.” Accountability is paramount to this ongoing progress and “it’s really important to ensure there is some mechanism for sustained progress,” Gertler said.

The Steering Committee also made significant calls to action in the categories of “Indigenous research ethics and community relationships,” and “Indigenous students and Indigenous co-curricular education.” One recommendation in the former category is “the development of research training modules that recognize historical patterns of unethical research in and with Indigenous communities,” which would be made available to any scholar looking to work in an Indigenous community.

Regarding students and co-curricular education, the Steering Committee highlighted the need for “the creation of a more visible, single Indigenous web portal to provide one stop for key information for Indigenous students, expanding and diversifying the existing Aboriginal Student Services web page.”

Lawsuit filed against Massey College, U of T after student falls from stairs

Plaintiffs allege negligence, seek over $120,000 in damages for injuries

Lawsuit filed against Massey College, U of T after student falls from stairs

A former Massey College student and her husband are suing the college and U of T after she allegedly fell from a flight of stairs and suffered serious injuries.

In the statement of claim filed on September 23, 2016, plaintiff Judi Kobrick alleges that she suffered permanent physical, emotional, and economic damages after slipping and falling down a flight of stairs at Massey College in October 2014, when she was a student.

According to the lawsuit, Kobrick suffered “serious and permanent injuries including [but not limited to,] an acute undisplaced fracture of greater tuberosity of left humerus,” which is a shoulder trauma. Kobrick is seeking $100,000 in general damages, along with “Special Damages in an amount to be ascertained.”

The lawsuit alleges negligence, as well as a breach of the Building Code, the Occupier’s Liability Act, and the City of Toronto Municipal Code on the part of both Massey College and U of T regarding the safety of the premises.

According to the plaintiffs, the lack of a handrail in place on the staircase, no surface in place to prevent water from accumulating, no demarcations on the landing, and “incompetent” employees who were not property instructed or supervised constitute negligence.

According to the statement of claim, Kobrick has had to undergo various treatments as a result of her injuries involving various out-of-pocket medical expenses, and her injuries affected her ability to make a living.

“The Plaintiff Judi has lost income, the ability to earn an income and will continue to lose income in the future,” reads a portion of the suit. “Furthermore, the Plaintiff Judi has suffered a loss of competitive advantage as a Psychologist and has suffered and will continue to suffer loss of income.”

Kobrick’s husband, Ronald, is also bringing legal action under the Family Law Act. He is seeking compensation of at least $20,000 for damages suffered as a result of Kobrick’s injuries. These damages include “loss of past support, care, service, comfort,” as well as “loss of income, expenses incurred and services provided” from caring for his wife.

Massey College is a residential college for graduate students that describes itself as “affiliated with, but independent from the University of Toronto.” The residence is located on 4 Devonshire Place and was built in 1962.

Ashley Artopoulo from Black, Sutherland LLP is serving legal counsel for both U of T and Massey College. U of T and Massey College submitted a notice of intent to defend on October 21, 2016 but have yet to file a statement of defense.

Massey College Bursar Joyee Chau and U of T Media Relations Director Althea Blackburn-Evans declined to elaborate in response to The Varsity’s requests for comment, as the case is before the courts. Manny S. Solnik, who is the plaintiffs’ legal counsel, could not be reached for comment.

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Deferred maintenance at U of T on the rise

Report says that despite $552 million increase, overall building condition remains stable

Deferred maintenance at U of T on the rise

The university’s annual report on deferred maintenance has been released, revealing that the total cost of repairs required by University of Toronto’s buildings is $552 million — up $34 million from last year.

The report, which will be presented to the university’s Business Board on Monday, concludes that, despite the rise, overall building condition has remained fairly stable over the past five years and will hopefully soon begin to improve. It adds that “[the financial] liability, however, will be with us for a very long time into the future.”

By the numbers

Home to many aging buildings, UTSG is responsible for the majority of the total cost, to the tune of $474 million.

It also has the worst overall ranking on the Faculty Condition Index (FCI). FCI scores are calculated by dividing the cost of deferred maintenance by the cost of replacing the building. The higher the percentage, the worse for the building or portfolio of buildings; anything over 10 per cent is considered “poor condition.”

Buildings at UTSG possess an FCI rating of 15 per cent, which is up from last year’s 14.4 per cent. Out of the campus’ 109 buildings, 73 are classified as in poor condition.

The university as a whole has an FCI rating of 14 per cent, which is up from 13.4 per cent last year. In 2015, the average score for Ontario universities was 11 per cent.

Though UTM and UTSC are doing comparatively well, with FCI scores of 7.9 per cent and 11.9 per cent, respectively, they are facing their own struggles. UTM’s total deferred maintenance has risen $6.4 million from last year, lifting their FCI from last year’s 6.5 per cent. UTSC’s overall FCI ranking has fallen — last year it was 13.5 per cent — but the total cost of needed repairs has risen by $2.3 million.

The deferred maintenance context

The report is not all bad news. Between provincial funding and internal budgeting, enough money is now being invested into U of T’s buildings to hold the deferred maintenance to its current levels and even improve them over time.

The report credits this achievement partly to the university’s policy of solving high-priority projects first.

For instance, though the total cost of deferred maintenance at UTSG has increased over the past five years, the number of priority one deficiencies, which require the highest priority repairs, has stayed fairly stable. The report also notes that $18 million of the growth in deferred maintenance costs were due to a re-assessment of the price of replacing windows, not new problems arising.

Building highlights

Sidney Smith Hall (UTSG)

When Sidney Smith Hall was built in the 1960s, its chunky, brutalist architecture was intended to give the campus a more modern feel. Today, its has a total deferred maintenance price tag of $31,905,991, almost half  — 49.6 per cent — of the cost to replace the building. Though it was projected to be audited in 2015, its most recent audit occurred during the 2010–2011 academic year.

Science Wing (UTSC)

The Science Wing’s deferred maintenance cost of $26,100,501 triples any other building’s maintenance price at UTSC. It has an FCI score of 18.2 per cent and is a substantial contributor to UTSC’s overall score of 11.9 per cent.

Kaneff Centre for Management and Social Science (UTM)

Though it is hardly responsible for the largest total dollar amount of deferred maintenance at UTM, the Kaneff Centre has by far the highest FCI score at 47.1 per cent. Its last audit was in 2012–2013, which was before it underwent construction to add the rotunda in 2014.

Ramsay Wright Physical Laboratories (UTSG)

The fact that Ramsay Wright carries $32,477,231 in deferred maintenance is not surprising, since the university has been renovating the sciences building since 2015. The sum represents 30.9 per cent of the laboratories’ replacement value and is due to be re-audited in 2018.

Dentistry (UTSG)

The building housing the Faculty of Dentistry requires $25,179,660 in deferred maintenance; this represents 23.1 per cent of its cost.

How to avoid winter sports injuries

Try not to slip

How to avoid winter sports injuries

For many people, the mere thought of stepping outside into freezing temperatures is enough to send them scurrying for cover beneath a mountain of blankets. For winter athletes, however, the weather presents the perfect opportunity to indulge in the sports that are only made possible by the seasonal shift in climate.

From the park to the rink, winter athletes go hard over the course of their limited season. In their pursuit of perfection, athletes squeeze every last flake from the mountain before the spring comes to melt away their fun. They push themselves further and further, flying ever closer to the sun and, as a result, accidents often occur.

According to data collected from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), over 246,000 individuals were injured while participating in winter sports in 2015. Skiing was the number one culprit, accounting for 88,000 of the injuries; snowboarding and ice-skating together resulted in 111,000; and sledding, snow tubing, and tobogganing injured 47,000 winter athletes.

These numbers represent what a lack of preparation leads to in the reality of all sports: people getting hurt. Many injuries are preventable, and with a few minor considerations for the sport beforehand, the chances of walking away instead of being carried away can be increased.

Many athletes find solitude a necessary and enjoyable part of any sport, but when an individual is 12,000 feet above sea level on a peak of Breckenridge Colorado’s famed Rocky Mountains, the level of risk involved in the activity can result in terrible consequences.

For this reason, risk needs to be managed more effectively by going about the sport with a partner and agreeing upon a method of communication in the case that something goes awry.

The AAOS also recommends that athletes properly warm up their muscles and ligaments before cruising through that British Columbia double black or skating headlong into the forward of your beer league team’s rival.

Limbering up will always aid in the prevention of tearing and pulling of muscles and ligaments. As ACL injuries run amok in winter sports due to the tenacity of athletes, stretching before and after in the environment of the activity is a good method of avoiding months of painful surgeries and reconstructions.

Additionally, recuperation plays a big role in winter sports safety. Typical rules of rehydration and replenishment apply to outdoor winter sports, and the addition of rest days to the weekly routine are important, as the body can only handle so much stress before it will give out. 

Of course, not all injuries can be prevented with physical preparation. Simply maintaining gear and efficiently dressing for the sport are sure-fire ways to increase an individual’s chances of returning home in one piece. A helmet is a necessary piece of equipment for hockey players, skiers, snowboarders, and skaters alike, and it possesses the ability to save the life of the individual that is wearing it.

While pushing the limits is necessary for athletes to progress, grow, and reach their goal, winter sports athletes still must stay within the limits of the possible. All athletes should aim for improvement but should never attempt the physically impossible; fully understanding this distinction can drastically decrease the number of broken ankles and blown knees an individual suffers.

Aside from physical ability, all winter sports athletes need to demonstrate athletic intelligence while going about their sport. Winter sports may be cold, fun, and exhilarating, but before you race outdoors into frosty bliss, you should take the proper precautions to indulge in your sport, because no one wants to be stuck inside with an injury all season long.

Skiing in the face of rising temperatures

How ski clubs and resorts operate with low natural snow availability

Skiing in the face of rising temperatures

Global temperatures are rising, with 2016 as the hottest year on record. Higher temperatures typically mean less snowfall, and natural snow becomes scarce for Canadians seeking to participate in their beloved winter sports. In short, winter sports industries are at risk.

There are 30 different ski clubs and resorts in Ontario alone, but it is difficult for them to keep services running when temperatures drop barely below zero during winter months. Most skiers hardly notice this during a day on the slopes though because resorts can create large amounts of artificial snow, which currently covers the majority of slopes at Ontario ski resorts.

Artificial snow is made of small ice particles produced by a high pressure pump that sprays a mist of water into the air, which crystallizes to form snow. Bacteria are also used to allow water molecules form crystals at higher temperatures than normal and produce lighter, drier flakes. Snow is constantly being fluffed up after being placed onto ski trails, creating better snow for skiers to enjoy.

Large bodies of water are needed for this process, and nearby ponds or dams are often used as supply. However, many ski resorts across North America are using recycled water, or more accurately, sewage water, to create the fake snow for their ski resorts.

Jason Stratton, a spokesperson for the Arizona ski resort Snowbowl, told the Telegraph that water is a precious resource that must be conserved and using sewage water was an environmentally-friendly way to keep the ski industry alive.

Although there are no reports of any patrons complaining of sickness at ski resorts that have been linked to the use of recycled water, 28 per cent of Telegraph readers polled did not agree with skiing on sewage.

Manmade snow has no unique shape like natural snowflakes. The drier snow created by the machines makes it easier to glide over while skiing, but it has a tendency to get slushy if temperatures are too high — a problem that resorts mitigate by replacing the snow every few hours during higher temperature days.

Each ski resort has a weather centre and technicians who ensure that the snow is constantly kept intact for the patrons’ pleasure. This has become an increasingly important job with rising temperatures.

The UK, France, and Switzerland’s most popular resorts have not seen snowfall since November of 2016 and over 45,000 ski resort employees lost their jobs; North American ski resorts may not be far behind. Diana Madson is the Executive Director of The Mountain Pact, an organization that raises awareness for mountain communities in North America.

Madson was quoted by the Telegraph as saying that ski towns have to diversify their economies in order to stay relevant.

The warmer weather, however, isn’t only affecting the recreational aspect of winter sports. In November 2016, the men’s races at the Lake Louise World Cup were cancelled because of high temperatures and lack of snow on the race tracks.

Creating more fake snow and closing the tracks when days aren’t cold enough is not a solution. If the environment keeps heating up at the rate that it is right now, winter sports might become a thing of the past that we have to teach our grandchildren about in school.