Ski the Sustainable Slopes: Winter Resorts Are Greening Their Operations

By Blomberg, Lindsey | E Magazine, November-December 2011 | Go to article overview

Ski the Sustainable Slopes: Winter Resorts Are Greening Their Operations


Blomberg, Lindsey, E Magazine


This year, ski areas were issued a challenge: Could they reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and help to undo some of the global warming damage that would inevitably be their down-fall? They didn't have to go it alone. The National Ski Area Association's Sustainable Slopes program teamed up with Clif Bar & Company, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Leitwind and Renewable Choice Energy to launch the Climate Challenge. Participating ski resorts must complete a climate inventory on their resort operations, set a target for greenhouse gas reduction and implement a new program or project annually to meet the reduction goal. So far, eight resorts in the Sustainable Slopes Program have stepped up, including Utah's Aha Ski Area and Canyons and Park City Mountain Resorts; Colorado's Arapahoe Basin and Telluride Ski and Snowboard Resorts; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Massachusetts and Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort in Oregon.

In 2011's Sustainable Slopes annual report, over 50 resorts summarized what they have done and continue to do to provide tourists with a more sustainable getaway. Here are some of the environmental initiatives highlighted in this year's report:

Beaver Creek Ski Vacation Resort, Colorado

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This season saw Beaver Creek's first composting effort at their on-mountain restaurants. They also diverted nearly half a million pounds of material through their recycling efforts and limited vehicle idle times through their Idlewise Program. A top focus for Beaver Creek is energy conservation. Over the last three years the resort has reduced electricity use by 9.15% and natural gas use by 19.67%. beavercreek.com

Canyons Resort, Utah

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Canyons draws 20% of the resort's energy from wind power. The resort also purchases local beef and produce for The Farm Restaurant and installed heater controls in the operator shacks, lift canopies and snowmaking facilities. thecanyons.com

Deer Valley Resort, Utah

Deer Valley partnered with Recycle Utah (recycleutah.org) to launch a massive recycling effort at the more than 35 summer concerts and ski competitions held at the resort, diverting 30% of the waste from the resort's three lodges and 67% of the waste from their maintenance facility from landfills during the 2009-2010 season. …

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