Vail Resorts announces sustainability, net zero plan

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Vail Resorts, Inc. -- the largest ski and mountain resort operator in the world -- has announced a comprehensive sustainability commitment that calls for "zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat."  According to the company, Vail Resorts' "Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint" will give resort guests and employees "the opportunity to enjoy the natural environment and resources without leaving an impact."
Vail Resorts' subsidiaries operate 11 mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher in Australia; Stowe in Vermont; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. The company also owns and operates hotels as well as a real estate planning and development subsidiary.

In a July 25, 2017, press release, Vail Resorts announced its "Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint" sustainability commitment.  Pointing to Whistler Blackcomb's environmental commitment as inspiration, Vail Resorts announced its intent "to go beyond setting a partial emissions reduction target by executing on a more expansive and ambitious plan."

With respect to net zero emissions from operations by 2030, the Vail Resorts plan calls for continued reduction of the company's electricity and gas use by improving operating practices and investing $25 million in innovative, energy-saving projects, such as low-energy snowmaking equipment, green building design and construction, and more efficient grooming practices and equipment.  Among other measures, it envisions purchasing 100 percent renewable energy equivalent to Vail Resorts' total electrical energy use and working with utilities and local, regional and national governments to bring more renewable energy to the grids where the company operates its resorts. As an interim goal, the plan states the company's intent to achieve a 50 percent reduction in its net emissions by 2025, based on 2016 levels.

Other 2030 goals set in the Vail Resorts plan include "zero waste to landfill" (by diverting 100 percent of the waste from its operations to more sustainable pathways) and "zero net operating impact to forests and habitat" (by measures including mitigation, tree planting and forest restoration, and minimizing or eliminating the impact of any future resort development). 

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