Ski Industry Releases 2016 Annual Environmental Report

Ski Industry Releases 2016 Annual Environmental Report

Friday, September 23, 2016

Resort initiatives demonstrate collective commitment to reduced climate impacts 

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) today released its 16th Sustainable Slopes Annual Report detailing the ski industry’s progress in implementing the principles of its Environmental Charter during the 2015/16 season. The report highlights results of the industry’s Climate Challenge Program, a voluntary program for resorts to inventory, target and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and engage in advocacy on climate change solutions. “These ski areas are leaders in addressing climate change in their operations and advocating macro-level solutions to climate change as well,” says NSAA president, Michael Berry.

The Climate Challenge program provides technical support and recognition to ski areas that are developing carbon inventories, setting goals for carbon reduction, and measuring success in reducing their overall carbon footprint.  Participating resorts are:  Alpine Meadows, Alta Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Beaver Valley Ski Club, Boreal Mountain Resort, Buttermilk, Copper, Crystal Mountain Michigan, Deer Valley, Giants Ridge Ski & Golf, Gorgoza Park, Grand Targhee, Granite Peak, Hunter Mountain, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Jiminy Peak, June Mountain, Killington Resort, Lee Canyon, Lutsen Mountains, Mammoth, Mount Hood Meadows Ski Resort, Mt. Bachelor, Pico Mountain, Soda Springs, Snowbird, Snowmass, Steamboat, Stratton, Squaw Valley, Sugarbush Resort, Taos Ski Valley, Telluride Ski & Golf Resort, Timberline Lodge & Ski Area and Whistler/Blackcomb.  

Overall, Scope 1 and 2 emissions totaled 192,055 MTCO2e for all Challengers. Resorts implemented on-site projects that reduced emissions by 5,588 MTCO2e and purchased RECs equivalent to 38,580 MTCO2e. The cumulative impact of on-site projects since 2011 (which accrue annual reductions for the life of the project) and 2015 REC purchases totals 51,311 MTCO2e reduction.

The report also highlights Judy Dorsey’sIndustry Impact Award in 2016 in recognition of her longstanding and substantial contributions to ski area sustainability. As the principal and founder of Brendle Group, a sustainability engineering and planning firm based in Colorado, Judy has worked hand in hand with NSAA and individual resorts over the past decade and a half to raise the bar on environmental performance, improve transparency and accountability, reduce our indsustry’s collective carbon footprint, and most of all, to inspire change. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy personally congratulated Dorsey through a video that was played for NSAA’s National Convention in conjunction with the award ceremony, and praised the ski industry for its efforts on climate change. To watch the video visit

Also highlighted in the 2016 report is the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program, now in its seventh year of providing seed money and in-kind donations to support important ski area sustainability projects. Since its inception in 2009, the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program has awarded $118,500 in cash grants and $321,000 in in-kind grants, for a total of $439,000 in support of resort sustainability projects.  Crystal Mountain received a cash grant for an LED lighting project in its day visitor lot that is used year-round by guests and employees to reduce carbon emissions and lower energy and maintenance costs. Crystal Mountain is a participant in ski industry’s Climate Challenge, and this project, with an estimated saving of 7,000 kWh annually, will help the ski area meet its goal of reducing MTCO2e emissions for the next several years. This cash grant, with a value of $5,000, was made possible by generous donations from CLIF® Bar, based in California. Massachusetts-based HKD Snowmakers awarded a high-efficiency snowmaking grant to Alpine Meadows, 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.  New this year, all participants in the ski industry’s Climate Challenge program will receive the benefits of an in-kind climate adaptation consulting services grant. Brendle Group will provide the services with a value of $5,000 to help the ski areas assess and respond to potential vulnerabilities and risks due to a changing climate by providing education and tools through the Climate Challenge program.

 “The ski industry thanks NSAA supplier members HKD Turbo,Brendle Group, and CLIF Bar for their generous support of this program, which this year resulted in more efficient snowmaking systems, plans for climate adaptation, and significant carbon footprint reductions,” says Geraldine Link, NSAA public policy director.

The report additionally recognizes the winners of SKI Magazine’s Golden Eagle Awards for environmental excellence. This year’s winners include Soda Springs in California in the small ski area category, Gore Mountain in New Yorkin the medium-sized category, and Aspen Skiing Co. in Colorado in the large resort category. Kristyn Lingenfelter from Squaw Valleyreceived the Hero of Sustainability award for her role in implementing Squaw Valley’s Drink Mountain Tap program.

For 16 years’ worth of Sustainable Slopes Annual Reports, click on “Environment” at