Climate change – and its threat to snow-dependent ski and snowboard resorts -- has become a priority for many resort owners, and a large number in the West are taking steps to reduce emissions and energy use.
The issue also is important to skiers and riders on the slopes and trails – so much so that many indicate a preference from resorts with green priorities, and a number of resorts incorporate their environmental efforts in their marketing campaigns.
Since 2012, the National Ski Areas Association has issued a voluntary “climate challenge” to its members, and publishes an annual report on their efforts. Here’s the latest report about what’s green at a sampling of resorts in the West:
Alta. Native tree planting continuing, plus a 51 percent recycling rate and upgrading to LED lighting, more efficient heating and weather stripping.
Arapahoe Basin. Carpooling and/or riding the free bus yields close-in parking and discounted tickets. No-idling policy enforced in drop-off/pickup areas.
Boreal. Vegetable oil from the cafeteria becomes bio-diesel to power lifts, and automated snowmaking cuts emissions.
Canyons. Purchasing wind power cuts fossil-fuel use, and composting on the mountain promotes sustainability.
Copper Mountain. Ten water bottle-filling stations around the mountain sell reusable bottles, and a combination of wind turbines and solar arrays has reduced petroleum use.
Grand Targhee. Aggressive promotion of shuttle service reduces traffic, recycling program cuts waste including voluntary energy bar wrapper collection.
Mt. Bachelor. Resort offsets 100 percent of electrical use with renewable wind-power credits, and shuttle service from city of Bend cuts deeply into employee vehicle miles.
Mt. Hood Meadows. Resort has focused on recycling with tracking system to streamline the effort.
Park City Mountain. A decade of projects has dramatically cut electricity use, including solar arrays and wind power offsets, biodiesel fuel in all equipment and on-mountain kiosk for public education.
Photos: (Top) Alta snowcats operate on biodiesel fuel to reduce carbon footprint (Alta/Facebook); (Bottom) Copper Mt. provides water bottle refilling stations for guests..