2 area resorts get ‘A’ in environmental report
By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole Daily
December 9, 2011
Eco-friendly skiers and riders at Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole Mountain resorts can make guilt-free turns this winter after both resorts received “A”s on their environmental report cards.
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort earned an 82.6 out of a possible score of 100, while Grand Targhee Resort earned 81. Squaw Valley USA earned the top honors with a grade of 92.1 while Montana’s Snowbowl got the lowest score, a 47.4.
The report cards, released Thursday by the Ski Area Citizens Coalition, show the resorts’ commitment to the environment but are also the by-product of a stagnant economy, said Warren Rider, Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition research director.
Across the West, resorts didn’t spend much on making their infrastructure more environmentally friendly, but “there also wasn’t a lot of ski-area expansion,” Rider said. Developing plans for expansion, or expansion itself, can deduct points from a score, Rider said.
“Typically the way a ski area can bolster its grade is by doing projects such as solar, wind or geothermal [energy production],” he said. “We didn’t see a lot of new investment in that stuff last year. We think that ski areas are trying to work with what they have.”
Coming into this year’s report cards, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Grand Targhee Resort won the National Ski Areas Association Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence. Park City, Utah, was this year’s other Golden Eagle Award winner.
On the ski area citizens’ report card, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort got points for its participation in the ISO 14001 program, which is a third-party audit of the resort’s environmental practices. Resort officials have also signed a NSAA letter in support of the cap-and-trade approach for reducing carbon emissions. The resort recycles about a third of its waste and has purchased 10 four-stroke snowmobiles, which are considered quieter and less polluting than two-stroke machines.
The Jackson Hole Mountain Resort lost points for the new Trapper chairlift.
While resort officials say they appreciate the good score, “we would not hold up the Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition as being an objective standard for environmental assessment,” resort spokesman Zahan Billimoria said.
Through the ISO 14001 audit, the resort has pushed for energy efficiency and environmental stewardship “down to the level of nuts and bolts across the resort,” Billimoria said. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and Aspen are the only two ski areas participating in the ISO program, he said.
“We’re resorts that invested seriously and quantifiably in improving our environmental record,” Billimoria said. “For us, it’s far and away the best way to track and assess how sustainable our operation is.”
The resort recycles all of its cooking oil into fuel for one of it’s vehicles, and plans to modify other vehicles, Billimoria said. The resort’s kitchen staff has developed an in-house scoring system to make sure its food vendors are environmentally friendly. The resort has also modified its heating systems to run off of remote thermostat controls, which has lowered propane use by 20 percent.
Grand Targhee Resort recycles more than 50 percent of its waste, including 80 percent of its glass, and has installed compact florescent light bulbs in 99 percent of its fixtures.
“It shows that a lot of our efforts to be environmentally conscious are being recognized,” said Ken Rider, Grand Targhee director of marketing and sales.