The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) honored three ski areas, including Wyoming’s Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole, and Park City, Utah, with the 2011 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence. Established in 1993, the Golden Eagle Awards are the ski industry’s most prestigious award for recognizing resort environmental programs and projects. This year’s Golden Eagle Awards were awarded to ski areas of three size categories: Up to 200,000 skier and snowboarder visits; 200,000 to 500,000 visits; and 500,000 or more visits.
As part of its efforts, Grand Targhee, the winner in the small ski area category, not only met, but exceeded its goal set in 2010 to of reduce its energy use by 10 percent below the previous five year average. By season’s end, Targhee achieved an 18 percent reduction in electricity use, which marked the lowest electricity use at the resort in a decade. The ski area accomplished this reduction through equipment upgrades and retrofits, building weatherization, improved operating procedures and policies and most importantly, behavioral change.
Jackson Hole took the top environmental honors in the medium sized ski area category for implementation of its ISO 14001 registered Environmental Management System (EMS) over the past five years. The EMS provides for integration of all departments to reach overall resort sustainability goals; promotes continuous annual improvement; and involves monitoring, reporting and external verification to international standards.
Finally, Park City won the Golden Eagle Award in the large resort category for its efforts in reducing the ski area’s carbon footprint. In the 2010/11 season, Park City reduced its carbon footprint by a whopping 54.8 percent, equivalent to taking 7,112 cars off the road for one year or the electricity used by 4,514 homes in one year.
Judges for this year’s Golden Eagle Awards include: Rod Judd, 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 (CDPHE).