Sustainable Vail: Tips for lessening environment impacts while skiing and riding
In 2017, Vail Resorts set a bold “Commitment to Zero“ sustainability goal to have a zero net operating footprint by 2030. This goal translates into zero net emissions, zero waste to landfill and zero net operating impact on forests and habitat.
As a company, we’re making significant strides to meet this goal as we’ve reached 85% renewable electricity across our North American resorts. This is due, in part, to enabling the Plum Creek Wind project, based in Wayne County, Nebraska. Last season, we composted and recycled 9.8 million pounds of waste and reduced total waste by 483 tons compared to the previous season across all domestic resorts. And, locally, in Vail, we have partnered with the town of Vail and local stakeholders in the process of certification for Sustainable Destination under the Mountain Ideal Standard.
However, this goal only is achievable with the partnership of our valued guests who enjoy skiing and riding on Vail Mountain. Following are five ways guests and locals alike can lessen their impact on the environment while visiting Vail Mountain.
Guests can help reduce their individual carbon emissions when traveling to and from Vail Mountain by carpooling, utilizing Epic Mountain Express, or using ride share platforms such as Treadshare and Caravan. For ride share options, visit GoI70.com/carpool.
Zero waste to landfill
When dining on Vail Mountain, there are fewer trash cans in public areas. Instead, you’ll find central waste sorting areas where on-mountain dining teams will do the work for you to properly sort what’s to be recycled and composted to maximize waste diversion. And, when bringing lunch and picnics to one of the mountain’s scenic decks — pack it in and pack it out. Follow the backcountry principles of “Leave No Trace.”
Respect local wildlife
Observe wildlife on the mountain from a safe distance so that you do not disrupt animals in their natural habitat. And, if you are dining outside, please don’t feed the wildlife.
Learn about wildlife habitats and Vail Mountain’s ecosystem
Visit the Nature Discovery Center at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola for a free, one-hour guided educational nature hike from the team at Walking Mountains Science Center. Hikes are offered Wednesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Guest Give Back program
You can play an important role in helping restore and preserve forested land through our guest donation program. In Colorado, your $1 donations through purchases of products like the Epic Pass raised $1.5 million last year to support the National Forest Foundation. These funds, matched by the NFF, supported several local critical forest restoration projects.
Our goal is to make it easy for skiers and rider to engage in sustainability efforts. All efforts — big and small — help positively mitigate our impact on the environment.
John-Ryan Lockman is environmental sustainability manager for Vail Resorts. The Discover Vail monthly sustainability column is a project of the Vail Local Marketing District Advisory Council.