Lakewood, CO, Feb. 22, 2002–To raise awareness about the environment, the National Ski Areas Association’s (NSAA) second annual “Sustainable Slopes” outreach campaign will take place on Saturday, February 23. The objective is to raise awareness of the environmental programs that ski areas integrate into their operations and to remind guests how they too can help in environmental stewardship.
“Customers care about our environmental practices,” said Geraldine Link, NSAA director of public policy. “We’ve selected Feb. 23rd as the day for communicating the message that the environment is our number one asset. Although the resorts’ outreach programs extend beyond this date and are implemented all season long, February 23rd is the day to highlight their efforts to guests and their communities,” Link said.
Many resorts across the country will be showcasing their environmental stewardship with on-mountain displays and special events. For example, in Lake Tahoe, CA, Northstar-at-Tahoe ski area will host Ski For Wildlife Day, which will benefit the Tahoe Wildlife Shelter. Northstar will donate a portion of that day’s lift ticket sales to the Tahoe Wildlife Shelter, an organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured local wildlife and educating people about co-existing with nature and wildlife.
Alpine Meadows, also located in Lake Tahoe, reports their guests will have the opportunity to learn about the varied environmental programs at the ski resort by taking a tour through the resort’s Eco-Interpretive Trail, visiting the resort’s environmental booth in the main lodge and signing up for the area’s E-co Newsletter.
In Colorado, Vail Resorts, Inc., owners and operators of Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail ski resorts, report they have new environmental education displays at all four resorts that highlight Sustainable Slopes and their efforts to support The Environmental Charter for Ski Areas. On Sustainable Slopes Day, Beaver Creek will host a grand opening of its Environmental Learning Center, located at the top of the mountain. Displays will feature wildlife, birds of prey, the peaks of the Gore Range, and the resort’s commitment to Sustainable Slopes. At Keystone, guests can check out the grand opening of the new Information Center, which features displays on renewable solar and wind power.
Skiers and snowboarders at Telluride ski area will have a chance to win a season pass for next season on February 23rd. The resort will set up several environmental “stations” around the mountain, with resort personnel explaining the efforts that take place. For example, snowmaking staff will demonstrate how snowmaking works, and the resort’s planners will be at the top of Prospect Bowl (the resort’s new 733 acre expansion that nearly doubled the size of the mountain’s skiable terrain) to explain the innovative expansion techniques that were used this past summer. Guests who participate receive a “passport” with a map pointing out the station locations. When guests get their passport stamped at each location, they then can enter it in a raffle drawing for the complimentary season pass.
In Massachusetts, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, located 50 miles from Boston, reports it is incorporating the events under their Science on the Slopes program. The resort is hosting a scavenger hunt that takes participants around the mountain to various environmental kiosks. After visiting the kiosks, the participants are invited to participate in a hot chocolate happy hour with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management. Also, during another event, guests can make kites and learn about weather events from the Blue Hills Weather Observatory located in Milton, Mass.
These are a few highlights of the activities planned at ski resorts across the country. In addition, NSAA has made available a new on-line environmental database on its website (www.nsaa.org), named “The Green Room,” whereby the public can obtain informationn on innovative actions resorts are implementing under 21 different environmental topics, including water quality, wildlife habitat and energy conservation. Lastly, guests at ski resort are reminded to follow the six steps to Sustainable Slopes: 1. Pack It In, Pack It Out – leave nature how you found it; 2. Respect Wildlife – by observing trail closures and ski area boundaries; 3. Share a Ride – so we can breathe fresh air and see the views; 4.Be Considerate – of others’ experiences and let nature’s sounds prevail; 5. Get Involved – in your local resort or community’s environmental programs; and 6. Spread the Word – to your liftmates, friends and family.
The Sustainable Slopes Outreach Campaign has its origins in the Environmental Charter that was adopted in June 2000. The Charter contains a sweeping set of voluntary principles for protecting the environment and formalizes the industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The “Principles” are under the areas of planning, design and construction; operations, energy conservation and use; waste management; fish and wildlife, forest and vegetative management; wetlands and riparian areas; air and visual quality; transportation, along with education and outreach. More than 170 ski areas in 31 states, plus six resorts in Canada, have endorsed the Charter, which is a 22-page document that can be downloaded from NSAA’s website www.nsaa.org (click Industry Information and Resources, then click Environmental Charter).