Clif Bar Honors Ski Resorts for Environmental Efforts

Clif Bar Honors Ski Resorts for Environmental Efforts

Clif Bar & Co. has presented Aspen Skiing Co. in Colorado with the 2006 Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence by a ski resort, citing Aspen's use of solar panels, energy-efficient snowmaking equipment and energy-saving retrofits in many buildings. Aspen Skiing Co. is a four-time Golden Eagle award winner and nine-time Silver Eagle award winner. Clif Bar also gave Silver Eagle awards to seven other ski resorts in California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, Oregon and Canada for environmental accomplishments in areas such as water and energy conservation.

Among them, Buck Hill resort near Minneapolis, won the Silver Eagle Award for Energy Conservation/Clean Energy, receiving green energy credits to fund enough renewable wind energy to run a ski lift "pollution free" for the entire ski season. All eight winners of the 2006 Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence were announced yesterday at the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) National Convention and Tradeshow held at the Marco Island Marriott Resort in Marco Island, Fla. All told, Clif Bar received 56 Golden and Silver Eagle award applications.

"Global warming and other environmental challenges threaten our outdoor playgrounds," said Ricardo Balazs, sports marketing manager for Clif Bar. "The environmental work being done on the part of this year's applicants is very impressive and shows a clear commitment to embrace eco-friendly business practices. We hope these efforts will inspire others within the winter sports industry and beyond."

The Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence were established in 1993 to recognize the environmental achievements of ski areas. The awards honor members of the National Ski Areas Association, which represents the majority of ski area owners and operators in North America. Clif Bar, a leading maker of energy foods for winter sports enthusiasts -- and an environmentally-friendly business in its own right -- is administrator of the awards program.

Specifically, this year's award winners were recognized for excellence in the following areas:
  • Golden Eagle, Overall Environmental Excellence: Aspen Skiing Co., Colo.

    Aspen Skiing Co. has developed the most comprehensive environmental management program in the ski industry by continuously addressing each principle of the Sustainable Slopes charter. Through the implementation of new technologies and renewable energy installations including the ski industry's largest photovoltaic array, Aspen has reduced its annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2.3 million pounds. Aspen is also the first American ski resort to achieve the international third-party certification ISO 14001 for its environmental management program. Aspen is a shining example of environmental sustainability and its influence reaches far beyond the winter sports industry.

  • Silver Eagle, Water Conservation: Sunshine Village, AB, Canada

    Sunshine Village Ski Area has lowered per-skier water usage by 38%, dramatically reducing its impact on the alpine lake that acts as its water source, improving the water filter life, and reducing the fuel and energy related to water pumping. These water conservation efforts were all accomplished despite a continued increase in skier visits. Sunshine Village has developed a thorough and systematic approach to solving water supply problems.

  • Silver Eagle, Energy Conservation/Clean Energy: Buck Hill, Minn.
    Buck Hill has reduced its environmental impact by both cutting overall energy usage and by purchasing all of its energy from wind turbines. The ski area purchases 800,000 kWh annually from Dakota Electric’s Wellspring Renewable Wind Energy program. Buck Hill has also installed new high efficiency motors on its largest lifts and purchased two new snowmaking machines that will reduce demand by 262 kW and save 131,000 kWh of electricity annually.

  • Silver Eagle, Fish & Wildlife Habitat Protection: Telluride, Colo.

    Telluride Ski Resort and its partners have re-organized to create the San Juan Fens Partnership, which allows for the continued study and protection of Fen-type wetlands in the San Juan Mountains and beyond. Telluride is providing staff time and equipment to aid in the monitoring, research and educational efforts of the fen protection program.

  • Silver Eagle, Environmental Education: Sierra-at-Tahoe, Calif.

    Sierra-at-Tahoe has built four new adventure zones to educate kids about local history and ecology. The goal is to create future stewards of the environment by educating kids on the importance of preserving and protecting the environment. Sierra-at-Tahoe has successfully blended both fun and learning through interactive displays that allow children to climb in and out of tree-houses, caves and secret hideouts. Each adventure zone teaches kids about Native American culture, bears & other local animal species, the California Gold Rush and the Pony Express.

  • Silver Eagle, Visual Impact: Gore Mountain, N.Y.

    Gore Mountain takes a holistic approach to minimizing its visual impact. Its Hudson River Pump House, transformer, and intake structure for snowmaking were all designed to mask their appearance. Gore painted the pump house "Johnsburg Brown," a locally made color using brown pigment mined within the town. The resort keeps roadways in a full natural state rather than thinning the forest to offer drivers more scenic views. All of Gore Mountain's architectural development, including its two newest buildings, is themed after the Great Camps of the Adirondacks. This special architecture was designed to work in harmony with its surroundings

  • Silver Eagle, Stakeholder Relations: Mt. Hood Meadows, Ore.

    Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort has reached out to a group of stakeholders unique to most ski operations - indigenous peoples (the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs in this case). Mt. Hood Meadows engaged and hosted business, tribal and governmental representatives to create "exclusive use" areas for tribal members on the mountain. By addressing the issue of huckleberry harvesting at the resort, they have helped preserve important historical and cultural uses of the ski area.

  • Silver Eagle, Waste Reduction & Recycling: Whistler/Blackcomb, BC Canada

    Whistler/Blackcomb has developed a superb waste reduction and recycling program, which now includes composting. It has achieved a 60% reduction in its landfill waste by removing compostable material from its waste stream. Additionally, the resort participates in a materials exchange program for material reuse and has developed easy options for resort guests and staff to recycle. Whistler/Blackcomb has even begun to look at partnerships with ski-related industries such as Salomon Canada to encourage additional ways to reduce waste -- such as by recycling rental ski equipment.
Judges for this year’s awards were: Michael Berry, NSAA President; Jerry Blann, NSAA Environmental Committee Chair; Doug Robotham, Trust for Public Land; Kenneth Karkula, U.S. Forest Service; Erika Smith, Wildlife Habitat Council; Jill Abelson, EPA; Christopher Juniper, Natural Capitalism Solutions; Billy Connelly, Native Energy; Patrick Nye, Bonneville Environmental Foundation; Hank Cauley, Ecos Corporation; Kirk Mills, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Elysa Hammond, Ecologist, Clif Bar; and Leslie Ross, Babes in the Backcountry.