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Head Of International Ski Federation Denies Climate Change, Says It's Easier To Work With Dictators

Photo: Mark Runnacles (Getty)

In an interview with Tages Anzeiger ahead of the alpine world championships, Gian-Franco Kasper, the president of the International Ski Federation, forwarded some opinions about climate change, immigrants, and working with dictators. The interview amounts to an all-you-can-eat buffet of batshit things that old white men with power and money say.

Let’s start with what he has to say about immigrants. He talks about them the same way that boomers talk about millennials, discoursing on how they “ruin” all the things by not having the money to do and buy the things that boomers are able to afford, like cars and homes.

When asked about the decline of winter sports in Switzerland, he said—all translations here are per a friend of the site—“The second generation of immigrants has nothing to do with skiing. There are no ski camps anymore.”

This probably won’t shock you, but Kasper does not believe in the science around climate change:

All the discussions about artificial snow and wasting of water, they never stop. Not a single drip of water is lost. Ok. The energy needed to create artificial snow, that’s a different thing, but considering waste of water: if you sprinkle your garden the water does not disappear out of a sudden. And that is supposedly the argument against winter sports? And then there still is the so called climate change.

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When the reporter questioned him about him characterizing climate change as “so-called,” Kasper replied in the manner of Republican politicians who point to the weather outside their window in order to “disprove” climate change.

“There is no proof for it. We have snow, in part even a lot of it,” he said. “I was in Pyeongchang for the Olympiad. We had minus 35 degrees C. Everybody who came to me shivering I welcomed with: welcome to global warming.”

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Look at Kasper outsmarting all of those scientists with their research and longitudinal studies. All you need to disprove climate change are personal anecdotes!

Kasper also likes working with dictators, which is a good thing since almost every country or city that’s allowed its citizens to weigh in on whether or not to host the Olympics has rejected the Games. (Dictatorships are about all the IOC has left to choose from when it comes to hosting.)

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Kasper said:

It’s just the way that it is easier for us in dictatorships. From a business view I say: I just want to go to dictatorships, I don’t want to fight with environmentalists anymore.

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He also made the dubious claim that hosting an Olympics can potentially start to democratize a country and lead to improvements in civil rights. That was the claim leading up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and, of course, since then civil society hasn’t gotten any freer. In fact, China has been locking up Muslims by the hundreds of thousands in camps. Kasper, though, said:

Not everything that is being reported is correct. Sport can also be a door opener. Perhaps we contributed to the opening of North Korea with the unified team in Pyeongchang. I don’t want to go with the games to a country where people are starving. That’s my red line. If Qatar wants to host games tomorrow, I will be against it.

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So Qatar is his red line when it comes to human rights! When the interviewer noted organizations like FIFA don’t seem to take the same issue as he does, Kasper replied, “I am not bothered by the politics. In Qatar there is just too much sand on the snow.”

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About the author

Dvora Meyers

Dvora Meyers is a staff writer at Deadspin.