NSAA Announces 2017 Sustainable Slopes Grant Winners

NSAA Announces 2017 Sustainable Slopes Grant Winners

Monday, May 01, 2017

Funds Target Carbon Emission Reductions, Snowmaking Improvements, Lighting Upgrades and Sustainability Staffing at U.S. Ski Areas

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today named four member ski areas as the recipients of its annual Sustainable Slopes Grant Program:  Arapahoe Basin, Colo., Copper Mountain Resort, Colo., Granite Peak, Wisc., and Mt. Bachelor, Oregon.

Mt. Bachelor received a cash grant to install an infrared motion sensor control system for lighting in the Pine Marten Lodge. The upgraded automated lighting system will replace the current system of manual on and off switches and allow for off-site monitoring, helping to reduce electricity use and reduce the ski area’s carbon footprint by 120 MTCO2e or 2 percent. Mt. Bachelor is a participant in the ski industry’s Climate Challenge (see www.nsaa.org/environment/climate-change/). The resort has a goal to reduce emissions by 3,000 MTCO2e by 2014-15 using a 2010/11 baseline, and the project will help meet that goal over the next several years. Mt. Bachelor’s $5,000 grant was made possible by a generous donation from Clif Bar & Company, based in Emeryville, Calif. Clif Bar has contributed to the Sustainable Slopes grant program for eight years running. “As a company focused on maintaining climate-neutral business operations, we are pleased to support ski area projects making a positive impact on climate,” said Rachel Klipp, Adventure Sports Marketing & Environmental Partnership manager at Clif Bar & Company.

Massachusetts-based HKD Snowmakers awarded a high-efficiency snowmaking grant to Copper Mountain Resort, also a participant in the Climate Challenge.The ski area will receive five high-efficiency snowmaking guns from HKD Snowmakers, a total value of $23,000. Copper will use this grant to kickstart a deeper investment into more efficient snowmaking equipment across the mountain.  Low-energy snowmaking equipment will decrease compressed air consumption, save power, and reduce the ski area’s carbon footprint. The existing snow guns use 232 CFM compressed air to produce 27 GPM of snow, while the replacement guns will use only 29 CFM compressed air to produce the same 27 GPM of snow, representing an 87 percent savings in compressed air. The upgrade ultimately will help Copper Mountain reach its Climate Challenge goal of reducing emissions by 12,000 MTCO2e. “We at HKD are excited to support Copper in meeting its goals under the Climate Challenge through the use of our energy-efficient snowmaking equipment,” said Charles Santry, president of HKD Snowmakers.

New this year, Ultra-Tech Lighting’s in-kind grant of 10 Snow-Bright™ light fixtures went to Granite Peak. The value of the grant is $7,000. Snow-Bright™ is energy-efficient lighting that will result in savings up to 85 percent over conventional lighting in operating electricity. Snow-Bright also substantially reduces “in-rush” current associated with electricity demand charges, which can shave enormous amounts off of total energy bills. “Ultra-Tech is pleased to provide Granite Peak with a product that will not only dramatically reduce energy use but improve the experience for night skiing guests,” said Philip Gotthelf, owner and founder of Ultra-Tech Lighting. Snow-Bright™ also has a 100,000-hour lifecycle, which will greatly reduce maintenance costs for the ski area.

Also new this year, Arapahoe Basin will receive the benefits of an in-kind Sustainability Staffing consulting services grant valued at $5,000. Brendle Group, the sustainability engineering and planning firm that manages the Climate Challenge, will help A-Basin assess the important intersection of HR and sustainability, and utilize existing staff to help achieve sustainability goals and reap the economic benefits of incorporating sustainability into HR practices, including improved employee retention and productivity. “Brendle Group looks forward to working with A-Basin’s management on integrating sustainability into all aspects of human resources at the ski area,” said Judy Dorsey, president and founder of Brendle Group. Arapahoe Basin is also a participant in the Climate Challenge, and has pledged to reduce emissions by 3 percent under 2008-09 levels by 2019-20. 

Since its inception in 2009, the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program has awarded $123,500 in cash grants and $359,000 in in-kind grants, for a total of $482,500 in support of resort sustainability projects. Past winners of the Sustainable Slopes grants include Alpine Meadows, Calif.; Alta Ski Area, Utah; Arapahoe Basin, Colo.; Beaver Valley Ski Club, Ontario; Canyons, Utah; Burke Mountain, Vt.; Copper Mountain, Colo.; Crested Butte, Colo.; Crystal Mountain, Mich.; Giants Ridge, Minn.; Grand Targhee, Wyo.; Greek Peak, New York; Mt. Abram, Maine; Mt. Ashland, Ore; Mt. Hood Meadows, Ore.; Oak Mountain, New York; Ober Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Spirit Mountain, Minn.; Stevens Pass, Wash.; Stratton, Vt.; Sugarbush Resort, Vt.; Tamarack, Idaho; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico; and Telluride Ski & Golf, Colo.  

Sustainable Slopes Grant winners will be highlighted in the 2017 Sustainable Slopes Annual Report, to be published in September 2017. For more information on NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes Grant program, the Climate Challenge, or to learn more about environmental initiatives and projects, visit the Environment section of nsaa.org.