The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) released its 11th Sustainable Slopes Annual Report detailing the ski industry’s progress in implementing the principles of its Environmental Charter during the 2010/11 season. Based on information submitted by member resorts, the report highlights the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program and the new Climate Challenge. The report also highlights the latest environmental implementations at ski areas including the use of electric vehicles, composting, local purchasing programs, efforts to reduce carbon footprints, water conservation efforts, and employee and guest education as it relates to sustainability. More than 190 resorts endorse the Environmental Charter, and those resorts represent about 75 percent of the ski industry’s annual skier and snowboarder visits. The primary focus of the Sustainable Slopes program last season was implementing the new Sustainable Slopes Grant Program and launching the new Climate Challenge, a voluntary program for resorts to inventory, target and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Eight resorts have taken the Challenge in its inaugural year, including Utah’s Alta Ski Area, Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort, Colorado’s Telluride Ski & Golf Resort and Arapahoe Basin, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts, and Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon.
The annual report highlights sponsor and partner contributions that make the grant program possible, including in-kind snowmaking grants from NSAA supplier member HKD Turbo of Massachusetts, and cash grants from LeitWind, a division of Leitner Technologies, Colo., Renewable Choice Energy based in Boulder, Colo., California-based CLIF Bar & Co. and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). These donations made the implementation of the Climate Challenge possible and helped fuel resort efforts to develop more efficient snowmaking systems, solar trash compactors, water bottle refilling, electric vehicle recharging stations and lighting retrofits.