Northwest Ski Areas Aim to Keep Climate from Going Downhill

Northwest Ski Areas Aim to Keep Climate from Going Downhill

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation says it will collaborate with 11 ski areas in the Pacific Northwest as they act to address the threat of global climate change on the environment and their industry.

By implementing a variety of green power programs, members of the Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association (PNSAA) are working to demonstrate the positive environmental impact an industry can have when commercial companies come together on an issue.

BEF says there is a clear connection between the effects of global warming and the resulting changes in the climate, which scientific studies indicate already, are causing warmer nights and wetter shoulder seasons, neither of which is good for the ski industry. “While the National Ski Area Association (NSAA) has raised awareness around this issue, only a handful of its members have acted to support renewable energy procurement, and organized regional efforts, focusing on the use of green energy and the offsetting of green house gas emissions, have been lacking,” says BEF. “Today, however, programs are gaining momentum in the Pacific Northwest, growing from one participant last ski season to 11 this season.”

“Last year, Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort got the ball rolling with a Mini Green Tag program that gave customers the option to ‘green’ their trip to the ski area,” said Tom Starrs, vice president of marketing for The Bonneville Environmental Foundation. “It was a tremendous success, with the skiers collectively offsetting 27,300 pounds of green house gas emissions over the course of the season.”

This year BEF is supporting more Mini Green Tag programs on behalf of ski customers, along with full Green Tag programs that offset greenhouse gas emissions for ski lifts and facility buildings. In addition, some ski areas are supporting their local utility’s green power program. “The key is that each area is contributing to the success of this program. We hope to see more ski areas and other industries come on board, enabling the positive effects of these programs to grow exponentially,” says Starrs.

Dan Brewster, chairman of PNSAA and general manager of Summit at Snoqualmie, added, “As a regional organization, it is extremely gratifying to see our members, many of which compete with each other to some degree, come together and take the lead on green energy programs that have regional, national and worldwide benefits. We applaud their efforts and look forward to working with our national counterparts from NSAA, expanding these green power activities and supporting the Association’s Sustainable Slopes program across North America.”

The Stateline Wind Facility, located along the Oregon and Washington border, will supply the Green Tags for this program. Ski areas participating in the Region’s Green Tag programs this year include Cooper Spur, Hoodoo, Mission Ridge, Mt. Ashland, Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, Ski Anthony Lakes, Stevens Pass, Schweitzer Mountain and Summit at Snoqualmie.

BEF has created a dedicated web site for this initiative that contains information about the program, the participating ski areas and the regional and national association partners. To learn more, please visit www.SkiGreen.org.