Sunday, June 15, 2008

Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Accomplishments in U.S. Ski Areas

Established in 1993 by Clif Bar & Company, the Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence recognize the environmental achievements of ski areas. Based in Berkeley, California, Clif Bar is a leading maker of all-natural and organic energy and nutrition foods. This year’s award winners were recognized for excellence in the following areas:

  • Golden Eagle, Overall Environmental Excellence: Jiminy Peak (Massachusetts); Finalists: Arapahoe Basin (Colorado), Grand Targhee Resort (Wyoming). Jiminy Peak became North America’s first mountain resort to install a 1.5 megawatt wind turbine ($4 million), generating 45-50 percent of its total electricity needs. Unused excess power Jiminy creates goes back into the power grid.

  • Silver Eagle, Water Conservation: Vail Resorts (Colorado); Finalists: Arapahoe Basin (Colorado), Homewood Mountain Resort (California). Vail has implemented many water conservation measures, including installing efficient water-saving devices, reducing leaks and designing trail layouts to make the most out of snowmaking. The Easy Street Run Enhancement project at Heavenly reduced snowmaking by 65 percent, saving over 1.3 million gallons of water.

  • Silver Eagle, Energy Conservation/Clean Energy: Park City Mountain Resort (Utah); Finalists: Okemo Mountain Resort (Vermont), Whistler Blackcomb (BC, Canada). Through initiatives that include the purchase of more energy-efficient snowmaking equipment and biodiesel use in its snowcat fleet, the resort has been able to reduce energy consumption by 23 percent.

  • Silver Eagle, Fish & Wildlife Habitat Protection: Snowshoe Mountain Resort (West Virginia); Finalists: Stratton Mountain Resort (Vermont), Vail Resorts (Colorado). Snowshoe Mountain Resort completed West Virginia’s first Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). In partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the HCP established a 230-acre plot of land as a permanent, protected habitat for the endangered West Virginia flying squirrel.

  • Silver Eagle, Environmental Education: Aspen Skiing Company (Colorado); Finalists: Grand Targhee Resort (Wyoming), Telluride Ski Resort (Colorado). Aspen Skiing Company has taken the approach of gutsy activism to educate and build awareness among its guests and the broader general public on what is arguably THE issue of our time, climate change. Aspen’s approach has taken many forms, including the Save Snow ad campaign, congressional testimony, a Kimberly-Clark boycott and development of solar energy at a utility scale.

  • Silver Eagle, Visual Impact: Arapahoe Basin (Colorado); Finalists: Stevens Pass (Washington), Winter Park (Colorado). Arapahoe Basin’s new 400-acre Montezuma Bowl was developed with an emphasis on minimizing environmental impacts through alternative construction methods. The only structures installed include the chairlift, snowfences, avalauncher tower, trail signs, and boundary posts and signs. Furthermore, less than 3 acres of trees were removed connecting open areas and providing feeder trails into the lift.

  • Silver Eagle, Stakeholder Relations: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (California); Finalists: Copper Mountain (Colorado), Whistler Blackcomb (BC, Canada). Working with the Mono Lake Committee and Inyo National Forest, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area purchased 112 acres overlooking Mono Lake’s ecologically unique waters, permanently protecting the property from development for future generations.

  • Silver Eagle, Waste Reduction & Recycling: Grand Targhee Resort (Wyoming); Finalists: Gore Mountain (New York), Whistler Blackcomb (BC, Canada). The resort has worked to reduce the trash each guest generates by eliminating disposable products in its restaurants and switching to bio-based compostable plastics. Grand Targhee also started e-waste, food waste and household hazardous waste recycling programs. All told, the resort reduced its waste stream by 4 percent from 2006 to 2007, and has a goal to reduce it 50 percent by 2010.