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Sustainability

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states it well: “Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”

At Vail Resorts, one of our Guiding Values is to Do Good. We bring this value to life through Epic Promise.

Running a ski area is an energy intensive process, and electricity and natural gas use is our biggest contribution to climate change. We are focused on making these activities energy efficient.

Vail Resorts committed to “Target 10” in 2008, a 10% reduction in energy use by 2012. We hit that number in 2011, and instead of stopping there, committed to “The Next Ten”, a program aimed at another 10% by 2020. As of October 2014, we are over 6% of the way there. We believe our energy reduction commitment is the most aggressive in the industry. 

In the last 5 years, over 3 million dollars has been invested at Vail alone, on projects such as new Snowmaking compressors, efficient snow guns, lighting and heating, boilers, GPS telemetry equipment for snowcats, small renewable energy installations, and other energy saving measures. 

Alternative Energy – Solar Power

Harnessing the resort’s 300 days of sunshine, the environmental team installed 42 200-watt solar panels on the roof of Bailey's restaurant at Adventure Ridge over the summer, creating an 8.4 kilowatt system that will produce enough energy to power the entire building and the excess electricity will light other facilities at Eagle's Nest. This project is the latest among a number of ongoing initiatives, which are intended to reduce and/or offset energy use at the resort.

Recycling

Vail has the largest ski area recycling program in the world, recycling or reusing more than 70 percent of the material on the mountain including cardboard, aluminum, glass and even chairlifts and mechanical parts.

Water Efficiency

Did you know that the drinking water on Vail Mountain is from springs located on the mountain? Our Mountain Services crew has taken a strong stance on water conservation. They have either replaced or retrofit old fixtures (from faucets to toilets to urinals) to more efficient "low" flow fixtures. This has led to a 27% reduction in drinking water usage on Vail Mountain in four years.


Commitment to Nature

As stewards of our public lands, the resort also implements springtime terrain closures in the Back Bowls for elk calving. And while tough to spot, Vail installed bat boxes around the mountain, encouraging insectivores to feast on mosquitoes in a natural means. Vail’s free "bat housing" is full of small, winged residents and some use them as a second “vacation home”. These efforts, along with company-wide initiatives such as Appetite for Life, Use Less, Do More, demonstrate a commitment to continuing to act good stewards of the environment.

Pine Beetles

The mountain pine beetle is affecting the western region of the United States, including Colorado. The beetle is part of nature's eco-cycle, and we typically see its effects every 20 to 30 years. Pine beetles attack older lodgepole pines, which are prevalent in the White River National Forest and other parts of Colorado, killing the trees and turning them brown. Forest management practices are not able to prevent this act of nature. This natural cycle will provide a new and different regenerated forest in the future.


Vail Epic Promise Sustainable CommunitiesLast year, Vail Resorts contributed over $7 million in cash and product to over 250 non profit partners in our resort communities. In Eagle County, where Vail is located, contributions will total over $2.1 million for 2015. Through a voluntary guest donation program, over $3 million has been raised for 30 non-profit partners and 62 projects in Colorado and Lake Tahoe through partnerships with The National Forest Foundation and The Tahoe Fund

Vail employees volunteer more than 20,000 hours annually to projects around the world. Our Epic Volunteer program gives up to 50 employees every year 40 hours of paid time to work with a charity of their choice. From our backyards to countries like Nepal, Honduras, Mexico, and Borneo, Vail Resorts employees are making a difference all over the world. 

On Mountain Dining prep scraps composting program

Organic waste is a large contributor to climate change. Organic solids that are landfilled turn into methane, which has greenhouse effects over 20 times that of CO2.

At Vail, we are working to reduce the amount of organic wastes sent to the landfill by composting our non meat, non dairy kitchen scraps at Vail on mountain dining facilities. Since there is not a commercial facility at Vail, the Vail Environmental team operates two “Earth Tubs”.

Vail environmental initiativesScraps from all on-mountain facilities are sent to these tubs. Finished material is used in flower gardens and made available to employees in the spring and summer. If too much food scrap material is generated, the extra is sent to a pig farmer in nearby Wolcott, along with scraps from Beaver Creek.

Vail is working with Eagle County and local waste haulers to support a large csale local commercial composting facility with the goal of composting all food waste in the future.

The Tavern at Arrabelle and the Arrabelle Starbucks also send compost from operations to a Routt County facility via a local waste hauler, Vail Honeywagon.

We encourage you to look into composting options in your area, it’s an easy way to reduce your footprint and chip in to prevent climate change!

Better and more efficient grooming through technology

By investing in GPS tracking technology, Vail has increased acres/gallon and decreased high RPm and idle time in the grooming fleet.

Real time and historic data is provided to operators to make sure that areas are groomed in the most efficient manner, allowing for more acres to be groomed per night, and to decrease inefficient operations. The result? More acres groomed per gallon of gas. The cats are also equipped with snow depth sensors, allowing us to adjust snowmaking operations.

Just like driving a car, there are operational changes that can be made to save fuel. Some ways that you can save fuel use on your personal vehicle include avoiding fast accelerations and high RPM’s, and avoiding idling your engine.

New snowmaking compressor saves over 1.2 million KWH at Vail

Installed in 2013, a new $500,000 air compressor has replaced 7 compressors and saved over 1.2 million kilowatt hours per year! Capital improvements in energy efficiency and other environmental projects totaled over 5 million dollars at Vail over the last 5 years. Although not always visible to the public eye, improvements like this are key to reaching our energy reduction goals at Vail, which are the most aggressive in the industry. 



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