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VAIL RESORTS GOES GREENER - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Friday July 28, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

It commits to a zero net operating footprint by 2030. It follows US ski resorts criticism of President Trump's grasp of environmental issues.




Vail Resorts owns and runs a string of major resorts across North America:  

Colorado - Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone.  

Utah - Park City.  

California - Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.  

It also runs some smaller ski areas including Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan.

In Canada it has bought the biggest of them all: Whistler.

Some say the environmental knowldege it has gained from Whistler since it bought the resort and looked at its strategies has helped the new initiative.

It is a serious environmental move and has been greeted with widespread approval within the snowsports industry. 

Even from business competition.  

Aspen Skiing Company has welcomed the move.

"This is great. This is a major commitment to clean energy by Vail," said . the vice president of sustainability for Aspen Skiing Company, Auden Schendler, to the Aspen Times.  

The two rival companies own and run nearly all the major resorts in the USA and Canada and are set for a titanic battle for business over the coming years.
Vail Resorts also intends to achieve a 50% reduction in its net missions by 2025, based on 2016 levels.  

By 2030 the resorts will have:
  • Zero Net Emissions 
  • Zero Waste to Landfill   
  • Zero Net Operating Impact on Forests & Habitat  

SLCPollution worries in the US mountains





























"Everything we do at Vail Resorts is driven by the spectacular natural surroundings where our employees, guests and communities live, work and play.

The environment is our business, and we have a special obligation to protect it," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

  "As a growing global company so deeply connected to the outdoors, we are making a commitment to address our most pressing global environmental challenge and protect our local communities and natural resources. Vail Resorts is both doing the right thing for the environment and for our business," he added.  

In June President Trump pulled out of the Paris Accord, the international initiative to curb emissions.

The US snowsports industry, including Vail Resorts, criticised his move and vowed to fight climate change.  

They gave this response:
"It's the leadership of companies like Vail Resorts that recognize that this is good business and good for the environment that will truly make a difference in the world," said Carl Pope, co-author of Climate of Hope. 

 "We will combat climate change through commitments such as this and others from cities, municipalities and companies across the country," he added.      

So, how will Vail Resorts achieve its goal and what is the detail?
  • The Company pledges to  reduce it's electricity and natural gas use by improving operating practices and investing $25 million in energy-saving projects. These include low-energy snowmaking equipment, green building design & construction. There will be more efficient grooming practices and equipment. 
  •  Vail Resort will purchase  100% renewable energy equivalent to its total electrical energy use. It will work with utilities and local, regional and national governments to bring more renewable energy to the grids where the Company operates its resorts.
  •  It will invest in programs such as tree planting to offset the use of other types of energy (e.g., gasoline and diesel). The will lobby its vendors and suppliers to identify and collaborate on opportunities for them to reduce their emissions and environmental impact.
  • The resorts will provide guests with information and opportunities for them to reduce or offset their carbon footprint.Vail Resorts will share  its progress in an annual sustainability report following the fiscal year ending July 2018, which will follow the Global Reporting Initiative's standard.  
Here at PlanetSKI we welcome the move. 

We have a healthy scepticism of ski resorts emphasising their environmental credentials as resorts are inherently un-environmental given what they do to the natural environment and the amount of energy used.

Not to say the impact of air travel, and other modes of transport, used to get to ski resorts.

But this initiative is a move in the right direction, albeit with some caveats.

ig the_magnetic_pullMan's impact on the mountain environment



























Vail Resorts plans to achieve its 2030 goal of "zero waste to landfill" by diverting 100% of the waste from its operations to more sustainable pathways.  

How? 

- Improving its recycling and composting program.

- Engaging with vendors to reduce packaging and to use recyclable and compostable products.

- Working with local resort communities to increase options for reuse & diversion.

- Increasing awareness and engagement with employees and guests through signage, labeling and training.  

The company has also committed to the following initiatives:   
  • Minimizing or eliminating the impact of any future resort development.
  •  Planting or restoring an acre of forest for every acre of forest displaced by the Company's operations
  •  Continuing and expanding its existing commitments to partner with and fund local organizations focused on the health of forests, habitat and wildlife. In 2016 Vail Resorts  contributed more than $1 million to 50 environmental stewardship projects.   
Polluting near ski resorts, British Columbia - CanadaPollution near ski resorts in British Columbia, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ski resort operator has a vested interest in preserving the environment and future snow levels, that is its business after all, but its move has been widley welcomed.

Shape of things to come?Shape of things to come?


 
























For more information about Vail Resorts' "Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint", visit www.epicpromise.com/zerofootprint.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

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