Ski Industry Releases Annual Environmental Report

Ski Industry Releases Annual Environmental Report

Monday, September 29, 2014

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – September 29, 2014 – The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today released its 14th Sustainable Slopes Annual Report detailing the ski industry’s progress in implementing the principles of its Environmental Charter during the 2013/14 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). “The Climate Challenge had a fantastic year in 2014 as the number of participating resorts skyrocketed to 30,” says NSAA president, Michael Berry. “Ski areas are proactive on the issue of climate change and are engaging in advocacy on this critical issue more now than ever.” Results of the Climate Challenge are presented in Chapter 3 of the report for the participating resorts, including Alpine Meadows, Alta Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Beaver Valley Ski Club, Boreal Mountain Resort, Buttermilk, Canyons Resort, Copper, Giants Ridge Ski & Golf, Gorgoza Park, Grand Targhee, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, June Mountain, Killington Resort, Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, Mammoth, Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort, Mt. Bachelor, Park City Mountain Resort, Pico Mountain, Snowbird, Snowmass, Soda Springs, Squaw Valley, Steamboat Ski & Resort, Stratton, Sugarbush Resort, and Telluride Ski & Golf Resort.  Overall, the participating Climate Challenge ski areas implemented on-site projects that reduced emissions 1,015 MTCO2e in 2013.    

Also highlighted in the 2014 report is the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program, now in its fifth year of providing seed money and in-kind donations to support important ski area sustainability projects. “We want to thank NSAA supplier members HKD Turbo of Massachusetts, Brendle Group based in Fort Collins, Colo., and California-based CLIF Bar for their longstanding and amazing support of this program, that this year resulted in more efficient snowmaking systems and erosion reduction,” says Geraldine Link, NSAA public policy director. In 2014, two in-kind high-efficiency snowmaking system grants provided by HKD Turbo were awarded to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area in Tennessee and Stratton in Vermont. Stevens Pass in Washington received an in-kind grant for sustainability consulting services with an emphasis on return on investment from Brendle Group. CLIF Bar awarded a cash grant to Tamarack in Idaho for an erosion reduction project benefitting nearby Lake Cascade, and the development of a “FIREWISE” demonstration garden.

Last winter, NSAA hosted an in-depth sustainability education track at its 2014 Winter Conferences in Steamboat, Colorado and Mount Snow Vermont. The education sessions covered the most pressing and current topics in the realm of sustainability, including the economics of sustainability, sustainability branding and communication, environmental regulatory compliance, the business case for climate change action and advocacy, and efficient snowmaking and sustainable operations. “This focus on sustainability energized resort sustainability personnel and provided great ideas for improving future environmental performance at ski areas,” says Link.  

The report additionally recognizes the winners of SKI Magazine’s Golden Eagle Awards for environmental excellence. This year’s winners include Steamboat Ski & Resort in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, and Proctor Academy in New Hampshire. Maura Olivos from Alta Ski Area received the first ever “Hero of Sustainability” Award from SKI Magazine.Through Olivos’ leadership, the Alta Environmental Center has improved sustainability practices at the ski area, enabled research and collaboration with partners, and helped spread the word of sustainability to guests. Alta’s General Manager Onno Wieringa states “through her persistent efforts, Maura has raised the bar on bringing environmental care into Alta’s operations and serving as a valuable model for all departments of the ski area.”

More than 190 resorts endorse the association’s Environmental Charter, and those resorts represent about 75 percent of the ski industry’s annual skier and snowboarder visits. For more information on Sustainable Slopes, click on “Environment” at www.nsaa.org.