Moguls of Sustainability Pop Up in Ski Industry

by | Dec 16, 2009

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ski imageFrom resorts catering to skiers, to companies that sell skis, sustainability and energy efficiency is helping define the future of the business.

A number of Colorado ski resorts have ramped up recycling efforts, taken on lighting retrofits and even taken infrared pictures of their buildings to see where heat is escaping, reports the Montreal Gazette.

Meanwhile, in the Philadelphia area, ski products retailer Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shops is building a 620 kilowatt solar system at its corporate headquarters in Pottstown, Pa.

Buckman’s headquarters will have nearly 3,000 roof-mounted solar panels and will be one of the largest such arrays in the state, according to a press release. Once this project is done, Buckman’s intends to add a wind turbine at the headquarters, as well as solar-powered heating systems at its five Philadelphia area retail outlets.

Back on the powdery slopes of Colorado, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte and Wolf Creek are among resorts that offset 100 percent of their electricity use via purchase of renewable energy credits, according to the Gazette.

Other resorts that offset at least a portion of their energy use via RECs include Powderhorn, Steamboat, Telluride, Winter Park, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Aspen Mountain in 2008 said its eventual goal was to become carbon-neutral.

Outside of Colorado, Powdr Corp. is offsetting 100 percent of the grid supplied electricity consumed at its seven ski and snowboard resorts and one tubing park through the purchase of RECs. Powdr owns and operates seven ski and snowboard resorts including Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah, Killington Resort and Pico Resort in Killington, Vermont, Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon, Boreal Resort and Soda Springs Resort, both in Donner Summit, California, and Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort outside of Las Vegas, Nevada. Powdr Corp also operates Gorgoza Park, a lift-served tubing park, in Park City, Utah.

Vail Resorts, however, has chosen not to renew its three-year commitment to buy wind-energy offset credits.

Vail Resorts is working to reduce its energy use by 10 percent in two years. So far it has lowered its gasoline consumption by 16 percent in two years, while reducing consumption of treated water 27 percent over five years by using a variety of low-flow plumbing methods, according to the Gazette.

For a compendium of environmental efforts by members of the National Ski Areas Association, click here.

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