A green skiing revolution? Vail Resorts aims to cut carbon footprint to zero by 2030

Back in June, when President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Change Agreement, a number of American ski resorts signed an open letter condemning the decision. With the title We Are Still In, the letter, from a broad swathe of US businesses and organisations, included a pledge to cut carbon emissions and find ways of safeguarding the natural environment.

One of the signatories was Vail Resorts, a giant of the skiing world – the company owns a dozen resorts across the USA, as well as Perisher in Australia and the massive Whistler Blackcomb ski area in Canada. It has now published details of how it plans to follow up that pledge.

Whistler Blackcomb is also operated by Vail

©2015 Eric Berger Photography, All Rights Reserved./Eric Berger

The company’s new sustainability initiative, Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint (using the “Epic” tagline it also gives its far-reaching lift passes) is on a suitably grand scale. A three-part plan, it involves a complete overhaul of the company’s operations, with the aim of eliminating its carbon emissions, waste production and environmental impact by 2030.

The first target is to reduce net carbon emissions to zero, by investing in new projects to cut electricity and gas consumption, including low-energy snowmaking equipment and eco-friendly building design. All electricity will come from renewable energy sources, and fossil fuels (including petrol and diesel) will be matched by tree planting and other offsetting programmes so the company can be carbon neutral by 2030.

Improvements behind the scenes include energy-saving technology for snowmaking


The second target is to send zero waste to landfill sites. At present, Vail Resorts says 40 per cent of waste in its resorts is reused or recycled – the aim is to increase this to 50 per cent by 2020, with a final goal of 100 per cent by…

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