Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Funds Target Carbon Emission Reductions, Snowmaking Improvements, Lighting Upgrades and Sustainability Staffing at U.S. Ski Areas

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today named four member ski areas as the recipients of its annual Sustainable Slopes Grant Program: Blue Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania, Mountain High Resort in California, POWDR Resorts in Utah, and Snow Creek Ski Area in Missouri.

Blue Mountain received a cash grant to install LED and motion-controlled night lighting in its parking areas that border the Appalachian Trail, an important national trail managed by the National Park Service. The new lighting project will improve safety for guests and employees, reduce the lighting impact on the Appalachian Trail through controlled and sharp lighting cut-offs and rapid dimming, reduce the resort's carbon emissions, and educate guests and employees through informative signage. Blue Mountain is joining the ski industry’s Climate Challenge this season, and the lighting project will help the ski area meet its goals for carbon reduction (see pwww.nsaa.org/environment/climate-change/). Blue Mountain’s $5,000 grant was made possible by a generous donation from Clif Bar & Company, based in Emeryville, Calif. Clif Bar has contributed to the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program for nine years running. “As a company focused on climate change solutions, we are pleased to support ski area projects making a positive impact on climate and the environment,” said Rachel Klipp, Adventure Sports Marketing & Environmental Partnership manager at Clif Bar & Company.

Massachusetts-based HKD Snowmakers awarded a high-efficiency snowmaking grant to Mountain High. The ski area will receive five high-efficiency snowmaking guns from HKD Snowmakers, a total value of $23,000. Mountain High will use this grant to help continue its efforts to reduce diesel fuel and electricity consumption associated with snowmaking. Mountain High has snowmaking on more than 80 acres of terrain with runs about 200 feet wide. Low-energy snowmaking equipment will decrease the ski area’s compressed air consumption, save power, and reduce the ski area’s carbon footprint. Mountain High estimates that the new HKD equipment will help the resort save $4,000 per acre foot of snow. “We at HKD are excited to support the team at Mountain High in meeting their goal to reduce energy consumption through the use of our energy-efficient snowmaking equipment,” said Charles Santry, president of HKD Snowmakers. HKD is a founding sponsor of the grant program and has provided 14 snowmaking grants over the past nine years.

Ultra-Tech Lighting’s in-kind grant of 10 Snow-Bright™ light fixtures went to Snow Creek. The ski area will install the 10 fixtures to replace existing Metal Halide fixtures and cover a great deal of its beginner area, as night skiing is a staple for Midwest resorts. The value of the grant is $7,000. Snow-Bright™ is energy-efficient lighting that will result in savings up to 85 percent over conventional lighting in operating electricity. Snow-Bright™ also substantially reduces “in-rush” current associated with electricity demand charges, which can shave enormous amounts off of total energy bills. “Ultra-Tech is pleased to provide Snow Creek with a product that will not only dramatically reduce energy use but reduce light pollution and improve the experience for night skiing guests,” said Philip Gotthelf, owner and founder of Ultra-Tech Lighting. Snow-Bright™ also has a 100,000-hour lifecycle, which will greatly reduce maintenance costs for the ski area.

POWDR will receive the benefits of an in-kind Sustainability Staffing consulting services grant valued at $5,000. Brendle Group, the sustainability engineering and planning firm that manages the Climate Challenge, will work with POWDR to assess the important intersection of HR and sustainability. POWDR recognizes the importance of building an internal structure that supports the actions the resorts must take to ensure we play forever, and the adventure lifestyle company is ready to build on the momentum that the past 10 years of commitment to operational sustainability has created. “Brendle Group looks forward to working with POWDR’s leadership and Play Forever Teams on integrating sustainability into all aspects of employee culture at its resorts,” said Judy Dorsey, president and founder of Brendle Group. POWDR’s resorts were founding members of the ski industry’s Climate Challenge in 2011.

Since its inception in 2009, the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program has awarded $128,500 in cash grants and $394,500 in in-kind grants, for a total of $523,000 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.; Crystal Mountain, Mich.; Giants Ridge, Minn.; Grand Targhee, Wyo.; Granite Peak, Wisc.; Greek Peak, New York; Mt. Abram, Maine; Mt. Ashland, Ore.; Mt. Bachelor, 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; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico; and Telluride Ski & Golf, Colo.

Sustainable Slopes Grant winners will be highlighted in the 2018 Sustainable Slopes Annual Report, to be published in September 2018. 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.