Aspen Skiing Company is the industry's pioneer when it comes to thinking green on the slopes. Some of its most significant environmental initiatives include:

  • Using biodiesel fuel in its snow-grooming machines.
  • Making snow seeded with a speck of dust to lessen the amount of water and energy consumed in the process.
  • Offsetting 100 percent of its electricity use with renewable energy from wind farms.
  • Installing Coke machines that operate on motion sensors to reduce the constant compression cycles.
  • Constructing buildings that are heated and cooled by water from a nearby pond.
  • Encouraging activism through its own green website where employees have contributed $1 million to date for local environmental causes.

The survival of the Alps and its inhabitants is largely dependant on developing sustainable practices for winter tourism, and Austria's Kaprun resort is no exception. The resort is:

  • Home to the first ISO-Certified lift company in Austria, an environmental distinction for high standards of quality and safety.
  • Preventing pollution on the mountain via a long pipe from the Kitzsteinhorn lift to the local sewage system.
  • Using renewable energy to operate all its cableway systems.
  • Cutting down on automobile pollution by offering a free bus service from the resort area to the ski lifts.
  • Part of the "Alpine Convention," an agreement signed by eight European countries to help prevent damage to their Alpine environment

Whistler is gearing up to be the host mountain for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Here's how the resort focuses its energy on green initiatives for the Games:

  • Making sustainability a theme at the Olympics by incorporating environmentally friendly construction and operation of all events.
  • Continuing its conservation initiatives, which have reduced electrical consumption by more than 18 percent in the past two years.
  • Working with wind generation companies to have a wind monitoring station installed on the mountain within the next year.
  • Dedicating $320,000 to conservation initiatives this season.
  • Reducing waste by more than 540 tons per year.

Méribel resort is ahead of many other ski resorts in France for taking responsibility for its environmental impact. Recently, Méribel has:

  • Mandated that roof and wall insulation be added to each building to save energy.
  • Subsidized a free shuttle bus system and a resort-wide recycling operation.
  • Built a 20-mile long pedestrian trail allowing visitors to walk over both valleys of Méribel and the neighboring Courchevel resort.
  • Organized clean-up days in conjunction with the local mountain protection associations after the ski season ends.

Davos is one of the biggest holiday resorts in the Alps and it takes its responsibility to the environment seriously. The entire municipality of Davos has chipped in to reduce its contribution to global warming. Together, those efforts include:

  • Founding the "Davos Climate Alliance," an initiative of the World Economic Forum to alleviate carbon-related risks.
  • Funding a study to identify where the majority of CO2 emissions come from.
  • Setting a goal to reduce its annual carbon emissions by 15 percent by the year 2014.
  • Implementing renewable energy sources and providing information to the local population on ways they can also contribute.

Besides being a beautiful place to ski in the Western United States, Jackson Hole is also a leader among North American ski resorts for its success in implementing green initiatives. Here are some of its achievements:

  • Purchase of enough renewable energy to reduce its carbon emissions to the equivalent of taking 3,822 cars off the road, or planting 5,282 acres of fully-grown trees.
  • Using wind energy to power several of its chairlifts.
  • Received ISO-certification as "green company" last year, the highest environmental distinction for responsible management of environmental impacts.
  • Decreased private vehicle usage around the resort by 19 percent and increased bus ridership by 30 percent.
  • Offers free parking to skiers who arrive with at least three people in the car.

Park City is not just home to the Sundance Film Festival, it is also a resort where several green initiatives are underway:

  • Twenty percent of the energy used by the resort is wind-powered.
  • The resort is a leader in the area of recycling and gives continuous support to the local community's initiative, "Recycle Utah."
  • Park city sponsors seminars and workshops to encourage renewable resources and green building.
  • It operates the second largest public transit system in the state, at no cost to riders.
  • It recently won two major awards for its efforts in pursuing alternative forms of energy.

Killington Resort has one of the largest snowmaking systems in the world, which means tons of energy consumption just to keep the mountain up and running. But, Killington has stayed on top of its economic impact and is:

  • Finalizing a seven-year project to replace its diesel-powered snowmaking compressors with newer low-emissions machines that will reduce total emissions by 50 percent next year.
  • Supplementing the water used for snowmaking with cold water from the Woodward Reservoir.
  • Saving 30,000 gallons of fresh water a day from its recycled waste water system that operates in the restroom facilities of its six base lodges.

Squaw Valley resort at Lake Tahoe has taken an educational approach to its green initiatives by creating programs that raise awareness about ecology for visitors and the community. Some achievements include:

  • Sponsoring programs for highway cleanups, hosting eco-tours of the resorts facilities, and planning activities for Earth Day and Sustainable Slopes Day.
  • Adopting the National Ski Areas Association's Environmental Charter for sustainable slopes and following its environmental principles for planning, construction, operations, and education.
  • Winning the Silver Eagle Award from the National Ski Areas Association in 2005 for outstanding environmental outreach.
  • Updating its green website frequently with updates on the resort's environmental progress.

For the past six years, Sugar Bowl has maintained an Environmental Committee of management and employees who are dedicated to improving the practices of the resort. The committee has set several goals for a greener future, including:

  • Making a commitment to offset 100 percent of its energy use and partnering with 3 Phases Energy, a company that purchases renewable energy from California wind farms.
  • Implementing a container reduction and recovery program to properly dispose of hazardous waste materials such as solvent, antifreeze and petroleum.
  • Constructing an on-site garbage and recycling facility in 2003 to help minimize waste handling and transportation.

Fast Company

The 10 Greenest Ski Resorts

Aspen Skiing Company is the industry's pioneer when it comes to thinking green on the slopes. Some of its most significant environmental initiatives include:

  • Using biodiesel fuel in its snow-grooming machines.
  • Making snow seeded with a speck of dust to lessen the amount of water and energy consumed in the process.
  • Offsetting 100 percent of its electricity use with renewable energy from wind farms.
  • Installing Coke machines that operate on motion sensors to reduce the constant compression cycles.
  • Constructing buildings that are heated and cooled by water from a nearby pond.
  • Encouraging activism through its own green website where employees have contributed $1 million to date for local environmental causes.

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