San Diego, CA., May 29, 2003--Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain Resorts Limited, a five-time Silver Eagle Award winner, today won the 2003 Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence. The resort was a finalist in four of the seven 2003 Silver Eagle award categories. Mountain Sports Media's SKI magazine announced its 2003 Golden Eagle Award recipients this evening at an industry reception during the National Ski Area Association convention in San Diego.
"The ski industry has a fundamental need to be a tireless protector of the environment, which is, after all, its 'office,'" says Kendall Hamilton, SKI's editor-in-chief. "Whistler has been on the leading edge of environmental programs for years, developing creative and effective grassroots programs that yield meaningful results"
Silver Eagles were awarded to: Smugglers' Notch Resort, VT (Excellence in Water Conservation); Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY (Excellence in Energy Conservation); Wachusetts Mountain Ski Area, MA (Excellence in Fish & Wildlife Protection); Beaver Creek Resort, CO (Excellence in Education); Alta Ski Area, UT (Excellence in Visual Impact); Aspen Skiing Company, CO (Excellence in Stakeholder Relations) and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, CA (Excellence in Waste Reduction & Recycling).
Golden Eagle, Overall Environmental Excellence: Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain Resorts Limited
Over the past decade, Whistler/Blackcomb has won five Silver Eagle Awards and is a finalist in four out of seven Silver Eagle categories this year. This consistent dedication to the environment across all areas has earned Whistler its first-ever Golden Eagle for Environmental Excellence in Ski Area Management. Their Environmental Management Systems (EMS) has created a level of environmental stewardship unmatched by other ski resorts. Sustainable practices are viewed as an opportunity rather than a problem, and the enthusiasm and success of their efforts shines. Finalists: Aspen Skiing Company, Sugarbush Resort
Silver Eagle, Water Conservation: Smugglers' Notch Resort
Smugglers' Notch launched a Water Conservation program in 1995 and revised it in 2002 to meet their primary goal of reducing the amount of domestic water used, which in turn, will have less effect on the surrounding watershed and environment. Smugglers' shares the same small watershed with the community, making their efforts vital in maintaining a balanced and stable watershed. The following steps have been taken to achieve result: low-flow fixtures have been installed in over 500 of the mountain's residential units, older clothes and dishwashers have been replaced with low water machines saving half the amount of water previously used. Snowmaking efforts have also improved, pulling water from man-made reservoirs, allowing for lesser impact on the surrounding steam's naturally fluctuating water levels.Finalists: Beaver Creek Resort, Crystal Mountain, Inc.
Silver Eagle Award, Energy Conservation: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Jackson Hole Mountain Resort leads the charge in energy conservation. Through purchasing wind power for their lifts; planting additional trees to offset carbon monoxide; encouraging carpooling by waiving parking fees for 3 + in a vehicle; giving all employees and seasons pass holders a free bus pass and other measures, JHMR shows that conserving energy is an achievable goal, not just an idea.Finalists: Aspen Skiing Company, Stevens Pass
Silver Eagle Award, Fish & Wildlife Habitat Protection: Wachusett Mountain Ski Area
Wachusett Mountain has chosen a simple, yet successful, approach to maintaining a stable habitat for fish and wildlife. Twenty years of monitoring the surrounding streams, bodies of waters and wetlands revealed that Wachusetts' expansion in the 1980s had taken it's toll. With the help of the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife, the mountain pinpointed problematic areas releasing large amounts of ssediment and made changes; heavily traveled areas were paved, deep sump catch basins were installed, parking lots were regarded to direct water into these catch basins, and a settling pond was constructed for mountain run off. As a result, sediment levels have dissipated and healthy wetlands and a pristine environment once again surround the resort. So history does not repeat itself, a committee must approve all future expansion and development.Finalists: Aspen Skiing Company, Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain Resorts Limited
Silver Eagle, Education: Beaver Creek Resort
A permanent Environmental Learning Center, an environmental committee and an environmental coordinator work as an impressive foundation to house Beaver Creek Resort's environmental education program. Based on the idea "education is the corner stone to environmental stewardship," Beaver Creek strives to educate both internal and external guests visiting the resort. Finalists: Mad River Glen Cooperative, Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain Resorts Limited
Silver Eagle, Visual Impact: Alta Ski Area
Cecret Lake is not only Alta's only snowmaking reservoir, it is also a popular hiking spot for Wasatch recreators. Alta is forced to draw water from Cecret Lake, but doing so without ruining the natural landscape posed a difficult challenge. Pipes and trenches to transport water were not an option for obvious aesthetic reasons, so an underground siphon system was developed to transport water. A system was created that is both optimal for the mountain as well as for its visitors.Finalists: Big Mountain, Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain Resorts Limited
Silver Eagle, Stakeholder Relations: Aspen Skiing Company
Historically, ASC and the local community have not worked hand-in-hand. Today, the resort and community interact on a regular basis and there is a community advisory committee specific to the environment. ASC, with the support of the community, has set up such programs as: computer recycling, free parking for hybrid cars, the advisory committee, highway cleanup as well as publishing numerous articles on ASC's green programs. Working together has created more tangible results than independent endeavors ever would have. Finalists: Steamboat Ski Resort, Whistler/Blackcomb Mountain Resorts Limited
Silver Eagle, Waste Reduction & Recycling: Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
"Mammoth CARES" was launched in 1999 and today is an extremely successful recycling program. Through program awareness and convenient recycling locations, Mammoth has diverted from their wastestream 316,000 pounds of bottles and cans, 21,500 pounds of paper, 4,290 tons of construction materials and scrap and over 21,500 cubic feet of cardboard. Most remarkable to this program are Mammoth's efforts to assist other ski areas, in the development of new recycling programs. Finalists: Keystone Resort, Sugarloaf USA
The Golden Eagle Awards were established in 1993 by Mountain Sports Media to recognize and encourage the environmental achievements. Twenty-one resorts participated this year. The entries are judged by Kendall Hamilton, Editor-in-Chief, SKI; Greg Ditrinco, Executive Editor, SKI; Andy Bigford, Vice President/General Manager, Warren Miller Entertainment; Michael Berry, President, NSAA; Jerry Blann, Chairman, NSAA Environmental Committee; Doug Robotham, Colorado State Director, Trust for Public Land; Jack Zehren, President, Zehren & Associates; Dave Holland, Director of Recreation, USFS Wilderness & Heritage Resources; Ed Ryberg, Winter Sports Program Coordinator, USFS, Rocky Mountain Division; Dana Watts, Executive Director, Leave No Trace and Kirk Mills, Pollution Prevention Engineer, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.