Killington Resort, Greek Peak, and Homewood Mountain Resort, as well as Utah's Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude, were recognized for helping protect the environment by incorporating various programs and projects.
The National Ski Areas Association Golden Eagle Awards were presented to each resort based on the number of annual skier visits. The categories are as follows: Small resort, up to 200,000 visits; medium resort, 200,000 to 500,000 visits; large resort, 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,” Michael Berry, NSAA’s president, says in a statement.
Here’s why each resort won:
Small resort: Homewood, 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.”
Medium resort (tied): Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, Solitude, Utah
— “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.”
Medium resort (tied): Greek Peak, New York
— “The (newly constructed Hope Lake 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.”
Large resort: Killington, Vermont
— “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 ski areas were chosen by a panel of judges including Katie Wallace, New Belgium Brewing Co.; Elysa Hammond and Ryan Mayo, Clif Bar; Tiffany Beal, International Mountain Biking Association; Jim Bedwell, U.S. Forest Service; Kirk Mills, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Judy Dorsey, Brendle Group; Geraldine Link, NSAA.