Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ski Areas Honored with Annual Golden Eagle Environmental Awards

Today the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) presented seven ski areas with the 2013 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence including California’s Homewood Mountain Resort, Utah’s Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude ski areas, New York’s Greek Peak, and Vermont’s Killington Resort. The annual Golden Eagle Awards, now in its 20th year, are the ski industry’s most prestigious award for recognizing ski area environmental programs and projects. Awards are given based on three ski area size categories (up to 200,000 annual skier and snowboarder visits; 200,000 – 500,000 visits; and more than 500,000 visits).
"Ski area environmental programs have come a long way in 20 years, particularly in terms of their level of sophistication, demonstrated results, and their concerted focus on addressing climate change", says Michael Berry, president of NSAA.
As part of its winning effort among small ski areas, Homewood Mountain Resort (California) dramatically reduced erosion through on-mountain restoration projects, including removal and restoration of nearly four miles of unpaved on-mountain roads. The ski area also brought about a 41 percent reduction in watershed sediment in just one year thanks to a new peer-reviewed stream monitoring method developed by the project team.

This year judges report that there were a number of high-quality applications received in the medium ski area size category, creating a tie between two ski area projects.
First, the combined environmental stewardship efforts of Utah’s Alta, Brighton, Snowbird and Solitude ski areas has earned an unprecedented joint Golden Eagle Award. Since 2002, these four resorts have worked together in partnership with Salt Lake City and the U.S. Forest Service to support conservation projects on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The resorts have also collectively donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation (CCF) through participation in the National Forest Foundation’s Ski Conservation Fund. The four resorts are the primary funding mechanism for CCF, which now has an annual budget of $240,000.Meanwhile in New York, Greek Peak was also recognized in the medium size category for its green building efforts with the construction of Hope Lake Lodge. The lodge features reclaimed lumber, efficient lighting and automated controls, heat recovery, a Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) heat pump system, a Direct Digital Control (DDC) building management system, condensing hot water heaters, and ozone-based laundry equipment among other green implementations. These green features have resulted in annual energy savings of about 690,000 kilowatt hours (kWh). In May 2012, Hope Lake Lodge received Platinum Rating from Audubon International’s International Green Lodging Program for its eco-efficiency and environmental performance.

Finally, Vermont’s Killington Resort earned a Golden Eagle award in the large resort category for its leadership in implementing innovative clean energy and energy conservation measures that help fight climate change. A participant in NSAA’s Climate Challenge, Killington powers its K-1 Express Gondola with electricity generated directly from cows on Vermont dairy farms through Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power program. The power comes from methane released from manure as it decomposes, helping local farms, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and ultimately helping to keep snow on the mountain. Killington also offsets 100 percent of its electricity use through the purchase RECs, which in total has resulted in emissions reductions of 66,000 tons.
The GEA judging panel includes Katie Wallace from New Belgium Brewing Company; Elysa Hammond and Ryan Mayo with CLIF Bar; Tiffany Beal from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA); Jim Bedwell from the U.S. Forest Service; Kirk Mills from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE); Judy Dorsey from Brendle Group; and Geraldine Link from NSAA.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), formed in 1962, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. It represents 325 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 472 supplier members who provide equipment, goods and services to the mountain resort industry.

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