The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) recently released its 12th Sustainable Slopes Annual Report detailing the ski industryfs progress in implementing the principles of its Environmental Charter during the 2011/12 season.
The founding eight Climate Challenge ski areas inventoried a total of 67,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2e). When all of the targets established among those participants have been completed, 11,500 MTCO2e, or 17 percent, of those emissions will be reduced by 2020. In reaching their Climate Challenge target, these ski areas are each expected to save about $600,000 per year in utility and fuel costs. Reduction projects implemented in 2012 include four lighting efficiency projects, four snowmaking efficiency projects, one vehicle conversion project to use waste vegetable oil in place of diesel fuel, one solar photovoltaic system and one wind turbine.
In 2009, NSAA launched its Sustainable Slopes Grant Program in an effort to stimulate ski area projects that embody the 21 principles of the Environmental Charter. The annual report highlights sponsor and partner contributions that make the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program possible, including in]kind snowmaking grants from NSAA supplier member HKD Turbo of Massachusetts, in]kind energy audit grants from Brendle Group based in Fort Collins, Colo., and cash grants from LeitWind, a division of Leitner Technologies, Colo., California]based CLIF Bar & Co., and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). These donations made the implementation of both the Grant Program and the Climate Challenge possible and helped fuel resort efforts to develop more efficient snowmaking systems, reduce energy use, reduce waste, develop on]site renewable energy, and invest in lighting retrofits.
Finally, the report also highlights the latest environmental projects and programs at ski areas across the country including the use of electric vehicles, composting, local purchasing programs, efforts to reduce carbon footprints, water conservation efforts, and employee and guest education as it relates to sustainability.