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by Chris Solomon

How green is that black run? For the first time, environmental groups will grade the West's larger ski areas -- A to F -- on how gently they treat Mother Nature. The Ski Area Environmental Scorecard is a response to Sustainable Slopes,the National Ski Areas Association's (NSAA) environmental charter, which has been signed by over 160 ski areas but has been criticized as "vague and unenforceable" by some environmental groups. Since then, the Ski Area Citizen's Coalition has sent out dozens of surveys to Western ski areas, querying them about everything from how they safeguard wildlife habitat to terrain expansion and home building in untouched areas. Forest Service data will also be used. NSAA sources say they don't expect the report cards to be fair.

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