SKI Magazine announces 2015 Golden Eagle Awards

Winter Park, Mt. Hood Meadows, Shawnee Peak Win SKI Magazine Golden Eagle Awards

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

SKI Magazine has honored three ski areas—Winter Park Resort, Colo., Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, Ore., and Shawnee Peak Ski Area, Maine—with the 2015 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence. Additionally, SKI named Brent Giles of Powdr Corp. as the "Hero of Sustainability" honoree for 2015.

The Golden Eagle Awards, overseen in a partnership between SKI and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), are the ski industry’s most prestigious honor for recognizing resort environmental programs and projects.

"When SKI founded this program in 1993, our goal was to recognize resorts that were actively addressing environmental issues, hoping to encourage other resorts to do the same and also to help publicize templates for similar projects across the industry," said Allen Crolius, SKI’s publisher and vice president of Active Interest Media’s Mountain Group. "It’s gratifying to see how far the industry has come in 20 years, particularly with today’s vital focus on addressing climate change."

The resort awards are divided into three categories: small (fewer than 200,000 annual skier/boarder visits), medium (200,000 to 500,000 visits) and large (more than 500,000 visits). In 2014, SKI also launched the Hero of Sustainability Award, designed to honor an individual making a difference.

Shawnee Peak Ski Area won the Golden Eagle Award in the small ski area category. Shawnee Peak has invested significantly in efficient snowmaking, resulting in measurable reductions in energy use. Today the ski area’s entire fleet is composed of low-energy snowguns. Recent improvements include the addition of 10 low-e HKD tower guns and two Techno-Alpin fan guns, switching from a system that generated 100 percent of its compressed air capacity from diesel compressors to one that generates 50 percent from diesel, using different nozzles in the snowguns to reduce the amount of air consumed, and the addition of three fan guns. Finally, through a partnership with Energy Maine, Shawnee Peak has replaced the remaining 25 percent of its snowguns with energy efficient, low-e guns that use 30 percent less air. As a result of these improvements, the ski area has achieved a significant reduction in demand charges from its utility provider, a 55 percent reduction in diesel consumption, and a sizeable reduction in its CO2 emissions. Read more about Shawnee Peak at www.shawneepeak.com.

Mt. Hood Meadows took the top environmental honors in the medium-sized ski area category for its carbon emission reduction results. As a founding member of the industry’s "Climate Challenge," the ski area has taken significant steps over the past four years to meet its goal of achieving a 6 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 using a 2011 baseline. Mt. Hood’s focus on reduced electrical consumption, fuel consumption, and waste sent to the landfill have produced exemplary results, including a power use reduction of 76,035 kWh and a waste disposal reduction of 141,277 lbs. Some of the ski area’s most innovative initiatives include its table-to-farm composting program, which diverts guest plate and kitchen food waste to a local commercial compost facility that sells the compost to local farms and retail consumers, and its snow harvesting program, which collects snow from base area parking lots to spread on the slopes to reduce the need for snowmaking. For more information about Mt. Hood Meadows’ environmental initiatives, visit www.skihood.com.


Winter Park Resort won the Golden Eagle Award in the large resort category for the sustainable construction of its new Lunch Rock Restaurant. The exterior of this impressive building, which is 16,600 square feet and has seating for 400, was designed to meet the specs in the US Forest Service’s Built Environment Image guide. Features include a roof line that matches the nearby topography; a compact, simple structure for the building itself; the use of natural materials such as wood and rock; and color schemes that match the nearby landscape. Construction disturbance to the area was minimized by utilizing an existing building site. Recycled material including mountain pine beetle and Wyoming snowfence wood was used extensively on the interior for siding, furniture, cabinets, signs, and doors. Employees of Winter Park made the tables and chairs in their shop using pine beetle kill wood, and made the light fixtures in their shop as well. CFL and LED electrical fixtures and bulbs were used throughout the building along with low-flow water fixtures. The electrical and gas usage is monitored and controlled remotely to reduce energy use. There is also a state-of-the-art interpretive display, providing guests with current information on the resort, the local USFS district, and the importance of clean water. Lunch Rock Restaurant embraces the history of the Mary Jane area while adhering to the principles of responsible building in a fragile, high-alpine environment. Find out more about Winter Park’s sustainability programs at http://www.winterparkresort.com/

Brent Giles is a Hero of Sustainability because he leverages his company-level impacts to an entire industry and beyond. As the chief sustainability officer for Powdr, Giles has been instrumental in Powdr Green, the sustainability program that drives all of Powdr’s ski areas towards reducing their environmental impact. He has led a variety of energy saving and carbon cutting initiatives, and then consistently challenged and tested those efforts to see if Powdr could do better. The result has been a whopping 62 percent reduction in carbon emissions in the last fiscal year. Giles has helped Powdr put their money where their mouth is on the topic of climate change—investing $7 million on energy savings initiatives that are now reaping their rewards: $2 million annually in reduced energy costs.

Walking the talk has provided Giles a key ingredient for scaling positive impact—credibility to challenge others across the ski industry and across ski communities. As a founding member and key technical advisor in the formation of the NSAA Climate Challenge program, he has been an inspirational voice and a trusted peer mentor to other ski areas working on measuring and reducing their contributions to climate change. What’s most impressive about Giles is his ability to inform and motivate all levels of the ski industry, from the boiler room to the board room. He might sheepishly tell you that this just comes with time, having spent more than three decades in the industry. But really it comes from his style of leadership—modest, grounded and credible, yet persuasive, passionate, and inspirational. Brent Giles is a true hero of sustainability for the ski industry and beyond. For more information about environmental initiatives at Powdr Corp., visit http://www.powdr.com/

About the GEAs
Established in 1993, the Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence recognize the environmental achievements of ski areas. The awards are sponsored by SKI Magazine. Judges for this year’s awards include: Andy Hawk and Greg Ditrinco, SKI Magazine; Tiffany Beal, International Mountain Bicycling Association; Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group; Ryan Mayo, CLIF Bar & Company; Geraldine Link, NSAA; Don Dressler, USDA–Forest Service; and Kirk Mills, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).

About SKI
SKI Magazine (www.skimag.com), located in Boulder, Colo., is the world’s oldest and largest ski publication. It is part of Active Interest Media’s Mountain Group, which also includes Skiing, Warren Miller Entertainment and NASTAR. AIM (www.aimmedia.com) is a leading publisher of enthusiast publications across all platforms, and a producer of consumer shows. The company’s five publishing groups—the Equine Network, the Home Buyer Group, the Healthy Living Group, the Marine Group and the Outdoor Group—reach more than 20 million readers in 85 countries around the world. AIM’s titles include Backpacker, Yoga Journal, Vegetarian Times, SAIL, Log Home Living, and Old House Journal. AIM was formed by Wind Point Partners, a private equity investment firm with offices in Chicago and Southfield, Mich., in partnership with CEO Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III in October 2003.

About NSAA
The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), headquartered in Lakewood, Colo., is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. Formed in 1962, NSAA today represents 332 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has more than 400 supplier members who provide equipment, goods, and services to the mountain resort industry.
For further information on the Golden Eagle Awards or to learn more about environmental programs at ski resorts nationwide, visit www.nsaa.org.