Vail Resorts: Skiing in the Wind

A mention of Vail Resorts, in particular Vail Mountain, can conjure up a variety of associations. From its legendary back bowls to its fur-coat-wearing clientele, Vail has all the positives and negatives of a world-class ski resort. However, few, if any would associate Vail Resorts with environmental sustainability. In fact, the ski company’s relationship with environmental activists has historically been downright contentious. This was most evident in 1998, when Vail Mountain became the target of ‘eco-terrorism’. Furthermore, Vail Resorts has always lagged behind competitors such as Aspen and Alta in addressing issues of sustainability. However, the company’s environmental image is likely to change after an announcement made earlier this week. Vail Resorts has pledged to purchase enough wind power credits to offset all the power needed for its resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Grand Teton Lodging Company, and RockResorts), retail stores, and office buildings. According to the EPA, this will make the company the second-largest corporate buyer of wind power in the country after Whole Foods Market. Vail Resorts will purchase roughly 152,000-megawatt hours per year from Boulder-based ‘Renewable Choice Energy’. In addition, the company has promised to give a free single-day ski pass to employees and visitors who sign up for wind power. Although some will say that these actions don't make up for past abuses, it's certainly good to see an industry leader take steps in the right direction. See also ::Aspen Buys Ski Industry's Largest Renewable Energy Offset, ::Donate Your Ski Uniform to SWAG, and ::Ski Green in Australia