The ski resorts picked up honors for their work in protecting the environment during the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) convention this week in San Antonio, Texas. Aspen Skiing Co., Colo.; Mt. Abram, Maine; Steven’s Pass, Wash., were cited.
The Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence is the most prestigious honor in the mountain resort industry in recognizing environmental projects and programs.
Aspen Skiing Co. took home the Golden Eagle in the large resort category (more than 500,000 skiers/riders annually) for its Coal Mine Methane to Electricity Project. The resort operator captures waste methane to generate three megawatts of power using piston engines. That’s roughly the equivalent of the company’s annual energy consumption.
The Golden Eagle for Steven’s Pass in the Pacific Northwest was in the medium-sized resort category (200,000-500,000 skiers/riders annually) for its efforts in energy conservation and Green House Gas (GHG) reduction. Steven’s Pass has offset 100 percent of its electricity and propane consumption for the past five years through renewable energy credits and carbon offsets. The savings is equivalent to taking 2,878 cars off the road for a year.
The award in the small ski area category (areas up to 200,000 skiers/riders annually) went to Maine’s Mt. Abram for a combination of on-site renewable energy generation, energy-efficient systems, carbon-neutral fuel sources, and smart transportation practices. The ski area invested in a wood pellet burning system that has reduced its CO2 output by 166 tons of GHG annually.
Judges for the 2012 awards include Tiffany Beal, International Mountain Bicycling Association; Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group; Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar & Company; Geraldine Link, NSAA; Loren Kroenke, USDA – Forest Service; Greg Owsley, New Belgium Brewing Company; and Kirk Mills, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. NSAA is a national trade association of ski areas.
What It Means: The mountain resort industry, spurred on by NSAA, has gone to great lengths to mitigate its environmental impact. Skiers and snowboarders, as outdoor lovers, care about their environment and preserving it for future generations. Aspen, Steven’s Pass, and Mt. Abram are to be applauded for receiving the top Golden Eagle Awards in their respective categories.
Top right: Aspen-Snowmass (aspen-regenerativemedicine.com)
Left: Steven's Pass (bpa.gov)
Bottom right: Mt. Abram (easternslopes.com)