Ski Industry Releases 2015 Annual Environmental Report

Ski Industry Releases 2015 Annual Environmental Report

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Resort initiatives demonstrate collective commitment to reduced climate impacts

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today released its 15th Sustainable Slopes Annual Report detailing the ski industry’s progress in implementing the principles of its Environmental Charter during the 2014/15 season. The report highlights results of the industry’s Climate Challenge Program, a voluntary program for resorts to inventory, target, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
“These ski areas are leading the ski industry by addressing climate change head on and making changes in their operations that will reduce their impacts,” said NSAA’s president, Michael Berry.
The Climate Challenge program provides technical support and recognition to ski areas that are developing carbon inventories, setting goals for carbon reduction, and measuring success in reducing their overall carbon footprint. Participating resorts are:

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort (CA), Alta Ski Area (UT), Arapahoe Basin (CO), Aspen Highlands (CO), Aspen Mountain (CO), Beaver Valley Ski Club (ON, Canada), Boreal Mountain Resort (CA), Buttermilk (CO), Canyons Resort (UT), Copper Mountain Resort (CO), Crystal Mountain (MI), Deer Valley Resort (UT), Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort (MN), Gorgoza Park (UT), Grand Targhee Resort (WY), Hunter Mountain (NY), Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (WY), Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort (MA), June Mountain (CA), Killington Resort (VT), Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort (NV), Mammoth (CA), Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort (OR), Mt. Bachelor (OR), Park City Mountain Resort (UT), Pico Mountain (VT), Soda Springs (CA), Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort (UT), Snowmass (CO), Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation (CO), Stratton (VT), Squaw Valley Resort (CA), Sugarbush Resort (VT), Taos Ski Valley (NM), and Telluride Ski & Golf Resort (CO).

Overall, Challengers reported a total of 191,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e) emissions across all resorts in the 2014 reporting year. In 2014, resorts implemented on-site projects that reduced emissions 1,700 MTCO2e while purchasing Renewable Energy Credits or carbon offsets equivalent to 41,192 tons. The cumulative impact of on-site projects (which accrue annual reductions for the life of the project) and 2014 REC purchases totals 454,201 metric tons reduction in 2014, or 23 percent of total 2014 emissions.

Also highlighted in the 2015 report is the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program, now in its sixth year
of providing seed money and in-kind donations to support important ski area sustainability
projects. In total, the grant program has directed more than $400,000 to 36 resort sustainability
projects in 13 states. The ski industry thanks NSAA supplier members HKD Turbo, Brendle Group,
CLIF Bar and Ripple Resort Media for their generous support of this program, which this year
resulted in more efficient snowmaking systems, plans for climate adaptation, and significant
carbon footprint reductions.

Massachusetts-based HKD Snowmakers awarded a high-efficiency snowmaking grant to Alpine
Meadows in California. The ski area received five high-efficiency snowmaking guns from HKD
Snowmakers, a total value of $23,000. Alta Ski Area received an in-kind grant for Climate
Adaptation consulting services. Brendle Group provided 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,
with a specific focus on impacts to the ski area’s water supply. Sugarbush Resort received a cash
grant for a 4-stream waste receptacle to start implementation of a program to increase its
diversion rate for recyclables, food scraps, liquids, and trash. The grant will help the ski area meet
its goal of reaching a 50 percent diversion rate (diversion rate = waste kept out of a landfill) in
three years, and in turn reach its Climate Challenge goal of reducing GHG emissions by 5 percent.
Arapahoe Basin received a cash grant for installation of Freeware Refrigeration economizers in the
ski area’s walk-in coolers. The Freeaire system monitors temperatures inside and out, cycling
clean, cold outside air through the cooler whenever possible, reducing refrigeration-related energy
use by 50 percent. The grant will provide a significant boost in helping A-Basin meet its Climate
Challenge goal of reducing GHG emissions by 3 percent below the 2009/10 baseline levels by 2020.

The report additionally recognizes the winners of SKI Magazine’s Golden Eagle Awards for
environmental excellence. This year’s winners are Shawnee Peak Ski Area in Maine in the small ski
area category, Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon in the medium-sized category, and Winter Park
Resort in Colorado in the large resort category. Brent Giles, chief sustainability officer for Powdr
Corp., received the Hero of Sustainability award for his role in “Powdr Green,” the sustainability
program that drives all of Powdr’s ski areas towards reducing their environmental impact.
For 15 years’ worth of Sustainable Slopes Annual Reports, click on “Environment” at
www.nsaa.org.