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Skiers, snowboarders invited to sustain slopes

Daily Staff Report

Beaver Creek and Vail mountains will be focusing on the environment Saturday during the resorts’ annual Sustainable Slopes days.

Skiers and snowboarders at Beaver Creek can seed their favorite slopes while a variety activities are planned on Vail Mountain, including ski tours lead by naturalists from Red Cliff’s Gore Range Natural Science School.

At Beaver Creek, experts from local organizations and the Raptor Education Foundation will be at the mountain. Free, guided snowshoe nature tours and rentals will be offered while a limited number of carpoolers will get free parking.



“Environmental education and awareness is extremely important to us at Beaver Creek. Guests can get involved in the educational activities, show their support for the environment and have fun doing it,” said John Garnsey, chief operating officer for Beaver Creek.

Beaver Creek’s “Sustainable Slopes Fair” takes place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the base of the Centennial Express Lift, Chair 6. Throughout the day, skies and snowboarder can spread certified, weed-free seeds on the slopes, but will have to return in the summer to see them bloom. Two thousand seed packets will be given out



From noon to 2 p.m., there will be a live raptor exhibit featuring a golden eagle, a peregrine falcon and a red-tail hawk.

On Vail Mountain, 1,000 one-ounce packets of wildflower seeds will be handed out to skiers and snowboarders to spread on the slopes. That’s enough seeds to populate 500,000 square feet of soil.

Vail will also show off its various on-mountain recycling initiatives, including the use of recycled tires in the restrooms for a non-slip surface at Mid-Vail andthe serving of Starbucks shade-grown organic coffee. Vail also has discontinued carrying products that cannot be recycled, like No. 6 plastic bottles.



At 7 p.m., Luke Cartin, Vail’s environmental coordinator will host a presentation at the Colorado Ski Museum and share information on Vail’s environmental programs and practices.

This winter, Vail Mountain’s environmental department purchased the world’s first solar-powered portable trash compactor, which is used at different locations across the mountain. The “Sun Pak Big Belly” compactor eliminates costs of removing garbage from different areas on the mountain due to its portability. The compactor also can store energy for up to two weeks.

Other environmental initiatives include a continuing analysis of installing wind turbines on Ptarmigan Ridge at the top of Vail Mountain to provide renewable wind power that could be returned to the local power supply.

And with concerns about West Nile Virus increasing, the environmental team has installed five bat boxes at its snowmaking reservoir on the mountain for the purpose of eliminating the mosquito hatches and further breeding of the disease carrying insects.

Sustainable tips

Sustainable Slopes is an initiative of the National Ski Areas Association and the objective is to raise awareness among resort visitors about environmental programs at various ski resorts. The program also aims to inform skiers and snowboarders how they can participate in environmental stewardship. Sustainable Slopes encompasses a variety of environmental initiatives that make up the “Environmental Code of the Slopes”:

– Pack it in, pack it out. Leave nature how you found it.

– Share a ride to the slopes so everyone can breathe fresh air and see the views.

– Reduce, reuse and recycle – opportunities are everywhere.

– Respect wildlife by observing trail closures and ski area boundaries.

– Spread the word to friends, family and people met on chairlifts.

For more information on Sustainable Slopes day activities at Vail Mountain please contact the Activities Desk at (970) 476-9090 or visit http://www.nsaa.org. For more information on Sustainable Slopes Outreach Day at Beaver Creek, call (970) 845-9090.


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