NSAA Announces 2016 Sustainable Slopes Grant Winners

NSAA Announces 2016 Sustainable Slopes Grant Winners

Friday, May 13, 2016

Funds Target Carbon Emission Reductions, Snowmaking Improvements,
& Climate Adaptation at U.S. Ski Areas

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today named two member ski areas as the recipients of its annual Sustainable Slopes Grant Program: Crystal Mountain, Mich., and Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico.

Crystal Mountain received a cash grant for an LED lighting project in its day visitor lot that is used year-round by guests and employees. The use of LED lighting results in a significant reduction in carbon emissions and also lowers energy and maintenance costs. Crystal Mountain estimates that the LED fixtures will save 7,000 kWh annually—a reduction of approximately 4.9 tons of CO2. Crystal Mountain is a participant in the ski industry’s Climate Challenge (see www.nsaa.org/environment/climate-change/), and this project will help the ski area meet its goal of reducing MTCO2e emissions for the next several years.

“Energy resiliency initiatives have been a particular focus of Crystal Mountain as they represent an opportunity to mitigate impact both environmentally and fiscally, and this grant undoubtedly will help us move toward our goal of greater energy efficiency and resiliency,” said Brian Lawson, director of public relations for Crystal Mountain.

Crystal Mountain’s $5,000 grant was made possible by a generous donation from CLIF® Bar, based in California. CLIF Bar has contributed to the Sustainable Slopes grant program for seven years running. “As a company focused on maintaining climate-neutral business operations, we are pleased to support ski area projects making a positive impact on climate,” said Bryan Cole, senior sports marketing manager at CLIF Bar & Company.

Massachusetts-based HKD Snowmakers awarded a high-efficiency snowmaking grant to Taos Ski Valley, also a participant in the Climate Challenge.The ski area will receive five high-efficiency snowmaking guns from HKD Snowmakers, a total value of $23,000. Taos has made great strides in improving the efficiency of its snowmaking system over the past five years, including purchasing low-energy HKD snow guns and upgrading to premium-efficiency, variable-frequency electric motors and drives.

“The HKD Low-Energy guns will improve our efficiency even more, enable us to move more water more consistently, and help us avoid use of high-energy guns when it is cold,” said Jordan Osterman, sustainability specialist with Taos Ski Valley.

“We at HKD are thrilled to support Taos in participating in the Climate Challenge and meeting their goal through the use of our energy-efficient Impulse snowmaking equipment,” said Charles Santry, president of HKD Snowmakers.

New this year, all participants in the ski industry’s Climate Challenge program will receive the benefits of an in-kind climate adaptation consulting services grant. Brendle Group, a Colorado-based sustainability engineering firm, will provide the services with a value of $5,000 to help the ski area assess and respond to potential vulnerabilities and risks due to a changing climate by providing education and tools through the Climate Challenge program.

“The Climate Challengers are deserving of this award for their willingness to lead by example in addressing and preparing for climate change,” said Brendle Group’s president, Judy Dorsey.

Since its inception in 2009, the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program has awarded $118,500 in cash grants and $321,000 in in-kind grants, for a total of $439,000 in support of resort sustainability projects. Past winners of the Sustainable Slopes grants include Alpine Meadows, Calif.; Alta Ski Area, Utah; Arapahoe Basin, Colo.; Beaver Valley Ski Club, Ontario; Canyons, Utah; Burke Mountain, Vt.; Copper Mountain, Colo.; Crested Butte, Colo.; Giants Ridge, Minn.; Grand Targhee, Wyo.; Greek Peak, New York; Mt. Abram, Maine; Mt. Ashland, Ore; Mt. Hood Meadows, Ore.; Oak Mountain, New York; Ober Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Spirit Mountain, Minn.; Stevens Pass, Wash.; Stratton, Vt.; Sugarbush Resort, Vt.; Tamarack, Idaho; and Telluride Ski & Golf, Colo.  

Sustainable Slopes Grant winners will be highlighted in the 2016 Sustainable Slopes Annual Report, to be published in September 2016. For more information on NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes Grant program, the Climate Challenge, or to learn more about environmental initiatives and projects, visit the Environment section of nsaa.org.