Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ski Resorts Lead the Way Going Green

Most of the U.S.A.'s winter destinations are actively working to lower their carbon footprint and make the phrase "sustainable tourism" more than just a buzzword.

Here's what some ski and snowboard resorts are doing to prevent the environment from going downhill:

VAIL, Colorado, is 100 percent wind powered.

CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN, Washington, has relocated a chair lift base out of a marsh area, and donates used cooking grease to be converted into bio-diesel fuel.

SCHWEITZER, Idaho, is operating two new chairlifts on 100% renewable energy through the purchase of green tags.

DEER VALLEY, Utah, has tweaked lifts and snowmaking to reduce energy usage by 390,000 kilowatt hours -- which adds up to 400 tons of carbon emissions a year that won't be polluting the atmosphere. Also, season pass holders and guests booking a lesson or other skier service can opt to add one percent of the cost of the purchase for donation to the Summit Land Conservancy.

PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT, Utah, purchases enough reneweable energy to run four of its six-passenger chairlifts (which skiers and snowboarders affectionately refer to as "sixpacks"). That eliminates 3.64 million pounds of emissions. The resort also is researching sites for solar power and wind turbine power to reduce fossil fuel use even further. Also, Park City's fleet of snowmobiles, which are used by Ski Patrol and other employees, is fueled entirely by bio-diesel, which is keeping 55 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

SIERRA-AT-TAHOE, California, began offering close-in, preferrential parking this season to skiers and boarders who arrive in hybrid vehicles. And, the resort's official vehicle is a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which also gets preferential parking, of course.

There's yet more about the greening of ski resorts in the annual Ski Issue of the New York Times Travel Section

Yes, ski/snowboard resorts are going green. It makes for a nice color combination -- white snow, blue skies, and Green Travels.