ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORTS AT VERMONT RESORTS
Jen Butson, email@example.com
Ski Vermont generates green results through resort improvements and collaboration with Efficiency Vermont. From 2000-2010, our ski areas saved $25.6 million in electrical and fossil fuel consumptions and prevented 144,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, primarily from building upgrades and snow-making efficiencies.
Lovingly known as the Green Mountain State, Vermonters have a local mindset that's devoted to our surroundings - from the soil we cultivate to the crisp winter air we breathe, it's easy to unearth stories of caring for Ma' Nature. Here are just a few:
BOLTON VALLEY RESORT
In 2010, Bolton Valley was honored with the National Ski Areas Association’s 2010 Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Energy Conservation/Clean Energy. The resort became the nation’s second ski area to install its own wind turbine. The 121-foot-tall Northwind 100 Wind Turbine is now producing 300,000 kilowatt hours of power annually—about one eighth of Bolton Valley’s total energy needs and an amount equivalent to the electricity consumed by 40 to 45 Vermont households. Bolton also partners with the Energy Co-op of Vermont, using two installed Magnum Countryside pellet stoves to keep the lodge warm, all while reducing fossil fuel consumption. The stoves burn premium quality wood pellets manufactured in North Clarendon, Vermont. Bolton’s snowmaking system also benefits from green initiatives with the use of energy efficient HKD snowguns and SMI fan guns to reduce diesel and electric power consumption.
BROMLEY MOUNTAIN RESORT
Bromley’s new black diamond glade, Orion, was designed in collaboration with foresters from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation and the Green Mountain National Forest. Employing sustainable glade practices, which calls for greater swaths of uncut trees and fewer heavily pruned trees within the glade, Orion effectively maintains a sustainable on-mountain balance that boosts skiable terrain while protecting the natural environment.
BURKE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Burke makes every sensible effort to nurture its environment in an energy-dependent industry. To that end, the resort has a number of initiatives and more on the way. A new wind turbine, installed in August 2011, offsets the energy costs of the new high-speed quad to the summit. Burke Mountain also leads a community composting program in association with businesses in Hardwick and the surrounding area. Burke’s new real estate will be among the East’s most efficient single-family homes. Each property will be as air tight as possible, drastically reducing heating costs. To this end, the resort partnered with an architect who is a board member of the Passive Housing Alliance US, and also a Burke Mountain Academy graduate. Resort-wide recycling efforts and the use of green products in offices, cafeterias and restaurants are other steps implemented to reduce the resort’s impact on the environment.
JAY PEAK RESORT
Most people know that it takes just a tad bit of energy to heat a pool (and it’s a good bet that heating a waterpark’s going to take more than a just a tad). But most folks don’t know that you need quite a bit of energy to heat the ground beneath an ice rink as well, to keep the ground from heaving. So when the folks at Jay Peak sat down to design their new Pump House waterpark on the heels of opening their Ice Haus skating arena, they were presented with a challenge: A) go the conventional road and incur massive energy expenditures on the waterpark, or B) find a way to reuse the energy beneath the Ice Haus. They went with option B and designed a system that channels the waste heat from beneath the ice rink and channels it into the Pump House. And if that’s not enough, they’re also using the heat generated from their air conditioning systems to heat the rides in the waterpark.
KILLINGTON RESORT AND PICO MOUNTAIN
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain partnered with industry leader Casella Waste Systems to provide “Zero Sort Recycling” across the resorts. Killington Resort and Pico Mountain also have 12 walk-in coolers that have been converted to Freeaire Refrigeration systems. On average, these Freeaire systems save $3,000 in operational costs and 13.2 tons of CO2 reduction annually (www.freeaire.com)
Killington Resort and Pico Mountain also purchased hundred of new low energy snow guns for the 2011-12 season and are offsetting 100% of the resorts’ electric usage through the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits. Offsetting emissions is not the sole goal, however; energy reduction projects at Killington Resort have saved 5,547,016 kWh of electricity since 2000.
Large scale efforts abound, but environmental efforts can also be found in the fine print; Killington Resort and Pico Mountain have produced the 2011-12 Winter Trail Guides and Winter Guest Guides on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper.
MAD RIVER GLEN
While Mad River Glen’s ski experience is unique, their sustainable business model and mission of protection and preservation are downright revolutionary. This model strives to maintain the current infrastructure, minimize environmental impact and stays true to the co-op’s vision of maintaining the area’s unique character. The philosophy is to protect and preserve the unique ski experience, putting an emphasis on the mountain experience. This approach minimizes expenses, eliminates debt, reduces the area’s environmental footprint and creates a sustainable business model that will fulfill the co-op’s mission for generations to come.
This philosophy can be traced to the vision of Mad River’s founder Roland Palmedo who believed that, “…a ski area is not just a place of business, a mountain amusement park, as it where. Instead it is a winter community whose members, both skiers and area personnel are dedicated to the enjoyment of the sport.”
The Mad River Glen Cooperative carries this philosophy into the future.
Magic Mountain continues its tradition of existing as a ski area that operates in tandem with its environment to minimize its man-made footprint and energy consumption. Magic’s network of trails blend with the natural contours of the mountain. There will never be clear-cutting of open boulevards. Instead, the growth in trails comes from more natural cleaning and clearing of space for glades so skiers and riders are actually more in tune with nature. Magic Mountain relies on natural snow to a much higher degree than other Vermont resorts, saving precious water resources, while also creating a unique skiing experience. A more natural mountain, Magic seeks to continue that responsible heritage into the future.
Since 2000, Mount Snow has completed 14 projects to increase its energy efficiency. Efficiency Vermont, the nation's first rate-payer-funded energy efficiency utility providing services statewide, has calculated that the installation of this equipment will save 28,000,000 kWh of electricity over the equipment’s lifetime. The savings from these projects in both electrical and fossil fuels is an estimated $430,000 per year or more than $6,000,000 over the life of the equipment.
The benefits of these projects are already clear with Mount Snow’s electrical usage. It’s down 19% last year compared to the previous seven year average. Mount Snow is proud of its continued efforts to create environmentally sustainable initiatives.
OKEMO MOUNTAIN RESORT
Okemo Mountain Resort continues its efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle. As a result, the resort is regularly recognized for its commitment to the environment.
In 2009, Okemo received the prestigious Silver Eagle Award for Environmental Education from the National Ski Areas Association which recognizes efforts to preserve and protect winter playgrounds. Okemo was honored for developing innovative ways to engage guests and employees. Okemo Mountain Resort’s Jackson Gore Inn was designated a Green Hotel in the Green Mountain State by the environmental business partnership between the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Small Business Development Center. This designation is based on the Inn’s voluntary commitment to sound environmental excellence through the placement and achievement of high environmental standards.
Lighting efficiencies made in 2010 are saving Okemo approximately $7,400 in energy costs and conserving 54,000 kWh of electricity annually. Based on calculations provided by Efficiency Vermont, this energy conservation results in an estimated lifetime carbon dioxide reduction of 88 tons.
Last winter, Okemo recycled 25 tons of cardboard, 33 tons of plastic bottles and nearly two tons of electronics. Visit Okemo’s online press kit for more information.
SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH RESORT
Environmental stewardship programs at Smugglers’ Notch Resort have been in place since the 1970s, when the resort launched a recycling program. Since then, stewardship efforts have included: maintaining the Five Star status in energy efficiency in residential construction; an extensive recycling program for guests, employees and on-site restaurants; wildlife and habitat protection with ongoing tracking of both the Bicknell’s thrush and the black bear; and operation of the Living Machine treatment facility that uses natural biological processes to treat a percentage of the resort’s wastewater. Most recently, the resort’s daily ski and snowboard camp lunch program has gone trash-free, thanks to efforts to reuse, recycle and compost by the young skiers and riders, their instructors, and the food service staff participating in the program.
Smugglers’ is very proud to be the first resort in Vermont recognized as an Environmental Leader by the Vermont Business Environmental Partnership program. This designation recognizes Smugglers’ exemplary environmental management program focused on compliance and minimization of environmental impacts. Visit www.smuggs.com/environmentfor more information.
STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Stowe Mountain Lodge was recently (July, 2011) awarded the prestigious Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The 312 room luxury hotel & spa are the centerpiece of environmentally conscience. Spruce Peak at Stowe Mountain Resort, was the only hotel to be recognized this year. The award considers seven crucial environmental factors including benefits to the environment, health and safety benefits, use of innovative approaches, techniques and technology, level of commitment and leadership, transferability, economic efficiency and advancement of environmental education.
Through the lodge’s aggressive environmental efforts, led by Destination Earth champion André Blais, the mountainside hotel was able to obtain several environmental awards in its short three year existence. The lodge was named “Favorite New Green Retreat” by Travel + Leisure, deemed an Audubon International Sanctuary and was awarded five Green Keys, the highest level of achievement, by Green Key Global. For more information on Stowe Mountain Lodge’s environmental efforts, please visit www.stowemountainlodge.com/vermont-traveling-green.php.
STRATTON MOUNTAIN RESORT
This past season, Stratton Mountain Resort worked to extend its legacy of environmental leadership. Stratton is proud to have been awarded the Clif Bar/NSAA Sustainable Slopes Grant which will provide the resort the opportunity to install four Big Belly Solar Compactors at the mid-mountain lodge, in turn greatly reducing the number of waste disposal trips required. The 2010-2011 season also saw the continuation of the resort’s building efficiency upgrades, during which LED lighting was installed in retail outlets, hotels, street lights and parking lots, as well as the launch of its capstone program, the Dish Project. The Dish Project replaced all disposable items from Stratton’s food service operation in the main base lodge with dishware, eliminating an estimated four tons of paper products from the waste stream and greatly reducing the waste hauls. This season, Stratton looks to build on existing initiatives, beginning with the acquisition of up to three hundred energy efficient snow guns which require just half the air supply of traditional guns to make snow.
Sugarbush Resort has an environmental success story to tell: Earlier this summer, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources removed Rice Brook from the state’s list of “impaired waters” as a result of Sugarbush’s diligent clean-up work.
Rice Brook is the third brook Sugarbush has succeeded in restoring to high water quality conditions. In 1996, a team of Sugarbush employees partnered with Vanesse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. of Ferrisburgh to prepare a comprehensive water quality remediation plan for the entire resort. This was followed by diligent implementation and monitoring of the plan by Sugarbush. Several years later, Chase and Slide Brooks were restored to meeting Vermont’s water quality standards. Now, Rice Brook has also been restored.
A little more than a mile in length, Rice Brook rises in the higher elevations near the Lincoln Peak base area at Sugarbush and flows east where it joins Clay Brook before flowing into the Mad River about halfway between Warren and Waitsfield. It is part of the larger Winooski River watershed.
Other Environmental Facts: One-third of Sugarbush’s waste material is diverted from traditional disposal—such as landfills or incineration—to be recycled, composted or reused. Sugarbush has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 23 tons annually by switching all off-road diesel machinery to biodiesel fuel. 5.6 tons of food scraps were composted during the 2010-2011 ski season and all standard office paper is 100 % post-consumer recycled content.
TRAPP FAMILY LODGE
Trapp Family Lodge has a policy to lessen its impact on the local and global environment. These efforts are manifested in conserving energy, water, and other natural resources; reducing waste generation; recycling and purchasing recycled products; and reducing the use of toxic materials.
All organic waste is composted; 200,000 pounds per year stays on property and becomes great topsoil, instead of being trucked to, and filling up, a landfill.
The herd of more than 50 grass-fed Scotch Highland cattle provides locally raised and harvested beef for the lodge’s restaurants. Fields that would have to be mowed are instead grazed, decreasing the use of machinery and fossil fuels.
The delicious Trapp Lager beer is made from spring water that naturally has the perfect mineral composition for brewing lagers, requiring no extra processing and significantly reducing the footprint of the project.
Also recently purchased, a solar pool cover will save a minimum of 240 gallons of propane each spring.
The Trapp Family Lodge is committed to protecting the environment, the health and safety of its employees, and the community in which it conducts business. The lodge supports a sustainable world by instituting earth-friendly products & practices and cultivates sustainable thinking in all aspects of decision-making; from using post consumer recycled content products to certification as a Vermont Green Hotel.
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