(LAKEWOOD, Colo.) February 19, 2003 -- Ski resorts across the country are launching a new campaign this weekend to "Keep Winter Cool, " highlighting the impact of global warming on winter recreation and the opportunities both resort operators and their guests have to start solving the problem. "Keep Winter Cool" is a partnership between the National Ski Areas Association and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), a leading environmental organization.
"For diehard skiers and snowboarders, winter is already too short," said NSAA's president, Michael Berry. "The ski business depends on snow and we view global warming as a long-term concern. We are doing our part to help fix the problem and we're giving our guests an opportunity to join in the fight."
Resorts adopted a new climate change policy (click here) this season to address global warming. On February 22nd, "Sustainable Slopes Outreach Day," they will be showcasing simple, innovative efforts they are using to reduce carbon dioxide and other heat trapping emissions associated with global warming. Skiers and snowboarders will also have a chance to sign up for global warming solutions of their own.
"Global warming is a tough challenge, but we know how to fix it," said Dr. Daniel Lashof, deputy director and chief scientist for the NRDC Climate Center. "The problem is pollution from cars and power plants, which traps heat in the atmosphere. The answer is cleaner, smarter energy technologies that pollute less. The ski industry is calling attention to the threat, and more important, the solutions that exist right now to fight global warming."
Resorts are using a variety of measures to reduce global warming emissions in their operations, including pollution-free wind energy to run buildings and lifts and the use of energy-efficient "green building" techniques. They're retrofitting existing facilities to save energy (and money); replacing inefficient compressors in snowmaking operations; using alternative fuels in resort vehicle fleets; and providing or promoting car pooling or mass transit use by guests and employees.
Innovative ski resort solutions highlighted on February 22 include:
Five ski areas (Gore Mountain, Holiday Valley, and Peek 'n Peak in New York and Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon) are teaming up with Green Mountain Energy Company, the nation's largest and fastest growing retail provider of cleaner electricity. GMEC will purchase enough pollution-free windpower to run the resorts' main chair lifts for the day -- 18,000 kilowatt-hours -- offsetting more than 10 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
In California, Mammoth Mountain is rolling out a new alternative energy project -- the use of solar heating for lift shacks. Mammoth recently installed a solar external thermal heating panel on the lift shack at the top of Thunder Bound Express and plans to install solar panels on additional resort lift shacks within the next month. Mammoth will also announce the use of renewable, biodiesel fuel made partly from recycled cooking oil in its snowcats on February 22.
Northstar-at-Tahoe is conducting a biodiesel test program with five of its on-site transportation buses. If successful, Northstar plans to eventually run its entire transportation fleet on biodiesel.
In Colorado, Keystone Resort purchases 16,500 kilowatt-hours of renewable wind power per month, the maximum amount available from the local utility. In addition, Keystone's River Run Information Center features natural day-lighting and is powered by a new solar energy system.
Vail Mountain purchases 300,000 kilowatt-hours per year of wind energy to power the Wildwood Express Lift, preventing 300 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Aspen Skiing Company purchases wind energy to power the Cirque Lift at Snowmass and the Sundeck Restaurant on Aspen Mountain. ASC recently announced that guests driving low-pollution hybrid vehicles -- gasoline-electric cars that cut CO2 emissions in half and never need plugging in -- will park for free at certain lots all season long. On the 22nd, Aspen will display a Toyota Prius hybrid at the base of Snowmass and provide information on the environmental benefits of hybrid-electric cars.
Winter Park Resort will feature an interactive display on the 22nd of its "AreaNET" program, an integrated computer program designed by own of the resort's own electricians that saves energy -- and therefore cuts global warming pollution -- by managing electrical power consumption at the resort for maximum efficiency. Visitors will be able to see an interactive display of the program.
In Vermont, Mount Snow Resort has cut energy consumption in half at the Main Base Lodge and Snow Lake Lodge by replacing hundreds of conventional light bulbs with compact fluorescents. Mount Snow has also installed dozens of energy-efficient snowmaking tower guns which reduce the energy needed to pump water and compressed air. Mount Snow also re-uses energy, using heat extracted from snowmaking compressor systems to heat its Main Base Lodge and Clocktower buildings.
In Wyoming, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort purchases wind energy to power two of its chairlifts: Moose Creek and Union Pass.
Resorts are also giving skiers and snowboarders a chance to get in on some of the same exciting global warming solutions used on their favorite mountains -- from purchasing clean energy for their homes to taking "title" to emissions reductions to offset their vehicle emissions.
Representatives from Green Mountain Energy Company will be on hand at seven ski areas (Gore Mountain, Greek Peak, Holiday Valley, Peek 'n Peak and Whiteface in New York and Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon) to help resort guests purchase wind power for their homes on February 22.
"Making electricity emits billions of tons of carbon dioxide pollution into the air annually," said Thomas H. Rawls, Chief Environmental Officer for Green Mountain Energy Company. "Many people don't know about this serious threat to our environment and we're excited about the opportunity to educate skiers across the nation. We hope our efforts will have a snowball effect on building support for cleaner energy sources like wind power."
Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon is offering customers a chance to buy $2 "Mini-Green Tags" from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to support electrical production from renewable energy facilities. The average single-car round-trip between Portland and Meadows produces 140 pounds of carbon dioxide, and the purchase of a $2 "Mini-Green Tag" allows guests to offset those emissions and "Ski Pollution Free."
Killington Resort in Vermont will offset all vehicle emissions from its guests on February 22. The resort expects about 4,000 cars and several buses to travel to and around the resort that day, resulting in about 500 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Killington is partnering with Clean Commodities, Inc. to give away "title" to 500 tons of carbon dioxide emission reductions to skiers and boarders on February 22. Clean Commodities purchased the emission reduction rights from a renewable energy power producer.
Skicarpool.com, a new website launched in Colorado to facilitate carpooling to ski resorts, will join in Vail Mountain's outreach efforts on the 22nd.
In addition, NRDC will help staff environmental information booths on Feb. 22 at Keystone and Telluride resorts in Colorado.
The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 550,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The National Ski Areas Association serves as the trade association for ski area owners and operators. The association began in 1962 and is located in Lakewood, Colorado.
Related NRDC Pages
NRDC's Global Warming pages