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Saving The Snow: Skiing Industry Sets Sustainable Example

Saving The Snow: Skiing Industry Sets Sustainable Example

The Network for Business Sustainability’s Leadership Council recently announced its list of seven challenges for businesses seeking to become more sustainable in 2010.

One of the key challenges listed by the network is “building an enduring corporate culture of sustainability,” and in many areas, the skiing and ski resort industry is proving that bigger companies can, and should, be pursuing reduced environmental impact in all of their operations.

The future success of ski resorts in North America is undeniably tied to the natural environment, and unchecked global warming poses a real threat to their ability to continue to draw large crowds of snow sports enthusiasts each season.

Several ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains have the added responsibility of being located on or near National Forest lands, making it even more important for them to address the negative environmental impacts of their development.

The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition provides grades for ski resorts in the Western US, rating their environmental policies and management. The scorecard is easily accessible online, and is a great tool for skiiers that want to show their support for resorts that are demonstrating proactive environmental stewardship.

The SACC works to ensure that ski area management decisions, either by the Forest Service, the ski companies, or local goverments, are responsive to
the needs of real environmental protection, local communities, and the skiing public.

In Colorado, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte and Wolf Creek are among a select group of resorts that offset 100 percent of their electricity use via purchase of renewable energy credits, according to the Montreal Gazette.

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 (Environmental Leader).

Those involved in other areas of the skiing and snowboarding industry, like resort caterers and equipment manufacturers, are taking their example from the resorts and helping to develop more sustainable practices for the future.

Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shops, located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, has plans to build a 620 kilowatt solar system at its corporate headquarters that will involve nearly 3,000 roof-mounted solar panels and will be one of the largest such arrays in the state, according to a press release.

Making skis, snowboards, and other snow accessories from sustainable materials is another practice gaining in popularity, even amongst companies that are considered more mainstream, like Burton and Spyder. Some have even suggested that sustainable equipment is key to saving the industry, and consumers are encouraged to research and seek out products that are safer, both in production and disposal.

Take Action by signing this petition: U.S. Senate: Time Is Running Out for Climate!

Learn more about environmental efforts by members of the National Ski Areas Association, click here.

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Image Credit: blog.underthecanopy.com

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51 comments

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1:14AM PST on Feb 10, 2010

Awesome !

12:54PM PST on Feb 2, 2010

awesome! I go skiing often, glad to see the industry working for the environment :)

8:48PM PST on Jan 10, 2010

Glad to see these~!! ^^

7:57AM PST on Jan 7, 2010

Thanks for the article...HOPE ONE DAY !?!

4:51AM PST on Jan 3, 2010

Thanks for sharing!

8:38PM PST on Jan 2, 2010

very good to hear

9:22AM PST on Jan 2, 2010

In the east we have ski areas powered by wind

6:14AM PST on Jan 2, 2010

Sustainable equipment is the key!

6:05PM PST on Jan 1, 2010

THANK YOU, GOOD ARTICLE

4:55PM PST on Jan 1, 2010

There is absolutely NOTHING sustainable about the ski industry. The entire industry is based on excessive, conspicuous consumption, requires massive energy inputs, faker-snow machines, cutting down trees, paving over wildlife habitat, etc etc etc.

Merely buying some carbon offsets is not "Sustainable", it's green washing.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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