Vail Daily Off the Hill: Vail aims for ‘certified sustainable’ designation |

Vail Daily Off the Hill: Vail aims for ‘certified sustainable’ designation

Tricia Swenson
Off the Hill
Vail Today’s Tricia Swenson spoke with Kirsten Bertuglia, town of Vail environmental sustainability manager, right, and Magadalena Muir, left, of Green Destinations about Vail’s efforts to become a Certified Sustainable Destination.
Jeff Woods |

VAIL — Many people take journeys around Vail on one of the many trails, paths or ski runs, but Vail is now on its own journey to sustainability.

Vail is striving to become the first Certified Sustainable Destination in the United States. The certification process is sponsored by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and Green Destinations, which is based in The Netherlands. 

To determine if Vail has met the criteria needed to obtain this certification, Vail hosted Magdelena Muir, of Calgary, Canada. Muir is an internationally renowned professor of energy policy and climate science, published author, attorney and strategist.

Muir had a stacked schedule during her stay, July 17 to 21. In addition to meeting with town officials, the Vail Chamber and Business Association and the U.S. Forest Service, Muir toured the Ford Amphitheater during a Bravo! Vail and Hot Summer Nights concert, the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District Treatment Plant, Vail Nature Center, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Vail Mountain.

Her assessment will review the community’s performance on more than 40 international standards in the areas of energy, climate, waste, equity, economy, wildlife health and more.

Support Local Journalism

This initiative is a collaboration between the town of Vail, Vail Resorts, Walking Mountains Science Center, Actively Green Business Community, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, the U.S. Forest service and others.

The concept started before the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. “We started by developing the Actively Green Business certification program, so the effort was truly grass-roots, where the leadership in sustainability came from individual employees and rolled up into our ability to pursue a sustainable destination certification,” said Kristen Bertuglia, environmental manager for the town of Vail. “Our hope is that becoming a certified sustainable destination not only recognizes the efforts of the entire community thus far, but also shapes our next 50 years in sustainability and stewardship for the valley we love,” said Bertuglia.

Vail should find out within 30 days of the audit in July if they will receive this distinction. To learn more, visit

Support Local Journalism