Environmental Skiing

Believe it or not, skiers are an environmentally inclined group. A 1994 Roper Starch survey* found that 38% of skiers (compared to 21% of the public) have voted based on a candidate’s environmental position and 58% of skiers (versus 42% of the public) have contributed to environmental organizations.  Unfortunately, there has been very little information out there about which ski areas are concerned with mountain ecosystem integrity, until now.

The Ski Area Citizens Coalition is a five-group consortium that produces an annual report on the environmental friendliness of ski resorts in ten Western States (CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, WA, WY and UT).

They rate resorts on a variable 12 point scale, depending on whether or not the criteria are applicable to the resort in question.

  1. Avoiding Expansion of Developed Skiing Acreage into Undisturbed Forest
  2. Avoiding Commercial or Residential Development on Undisturbed Lands
  3. Avoiding Real Estate Development in Conjunction with Terrain Expansion
  4. Avoiding Terrain Alteration in Environmentally Sensitive Areas
  5. New Snowmaking
  6. Avoiding Water Degradation from Ski Area Management Activities
  7. Environmental Policy Positions & Public Disclosure
  8. Wildlife Habitat and Forest Protection
  9. Containing Impacts Within the Ski Area Boundary
  10. Recycling, Water Conservation, Energy Conservation, Pollution Reduction
  11. Traffic and Emissions Reduction
  12. Bonus Criteria

Each criteria has a point amount linked to it. To determine a resort's ranking, the points for the applicable category are added up and then transformed into a percentage of total applicable points. Scores are then placed on an A-F scale. View a Ski Area's Scorecard

The Best in the West
The Ten Most Environmentally Friendly Ski Areas

Aspen Mountain Ski Resort, Colorado
Buttermilk Ski Resort, Colorado
Alpine Meadows, California
Sundance Resort, Utah
Aspen Highlands, Colorado
Mount Bachelor, Oregon
Sierra-at-Tahoe, California
Wolf Creek Ski Area, Colorado
Bogus Basin Mountain Resort, Idaho
Alta Ski Area, Utah

The Worst in the West
The Ten Least Environmentally Friendly Ski Areas
Kirkwood Ski Area, California
Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado
Copper Mountain Ski Resort, Colorado
Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado
White Pass Ski Area, Washington
Winter Park Resort, Colorado
Silver Mountain Ski Resort, Idaho
Bridger Bowl Ski Area, Montana
Big Sky Resort, Montana
Crystal Mountain Resort, Washington

Before too long, skiers at an Australian mountain resort will be gliding down slopes that may not look unusual, but they will be.

The Mount Buller Resort in central Victoria state will soon cover its slopes with artificial snow made from recycled sewage. Officials say a $1 million filtering system will be used to clean sewage water and then pump it through snow-making machines and onto the ski slopes.

Plans are to purify about 800,000 liters of waste water each day, to supply 10 percent of the resort's snow-making needs. Officials say the plan will benefit the environment because it uses less water and discharges less waste.

The Mount Buller resort says the system will be introduced gradually over the next three years.

1% Donated to the Environment
1% Donated to the Environment