Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition

The 2014-2015 Ski Area Scorecard is on hiatus.

updated 10/06/2014

Stay tuned for next year and scroll down to see the 2013-2014 Scorecard

2013 Ski Area Scorecard Shows Best Resorts Using Alternative Energy on Slopes!

The 12th Annual Ski Area Scorecard released today shows that the top 5 Environmental Resorts of the year all generate alternative energy on their own slopes, a growing trend that reduces greenhouse gases and air pollution. Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition research shows an increase in the number of resorts generating or planning to generate their own energy on-site, with the Rockies leading the way.

Overall, this year there were five resorts with plans submitted to install either wind turbines, solar panels, or both, or have begun testing viable locations to place wind turbines. The resorts proposing to install on-site generation include: Alta, Homewood, Stevens Pass, and Breckenridge. Crystal Mountain, in Washington State, is conducting wind generation tests. Additionally, seven resorts currently have solar or geothermal systems integrated into some of the energy usage: Bogus Basin Mountain Resort, Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, Moonlight Basin Ski Resort, Park City Mountain Resort, Sun Valley Resort, Telluride Ski Resort, and The Canyons. In addition, five resorts have larger energy generation facilities: Aspen-Snowmass’ four resorts and Snowbird’s co-generation facility.

Here are the 2013-14 national and regional press releases, the highest and lowest scoring resorts, and FAQ. Scroll down for last year’s scores.

Click here for the 2013 National press release

Click here for the 2013 Top Ten and Bottom Eleven

Click here for the list of all 84 ski areas ranked in the western U.S. [PDF]

Click here for the list of all 84 ski areas ranked in the western U.S. [Excel]

Click here for the 2013 California/Nevada press release

Click here for the 2013 Rocky Mountain press release

Click here for the 2013 Washington/Oregon press release

Click here for Frequently Asked Questions and see “HOW WE GRADE” at the top of this page

**For this year’s scorecard we have taken out some of the outdated questions and added some new questions that are more current. These changes were made after discussions with a number of ski resort representatives, Ski Area Citizens Coalition members, and interested third parties. We have kept the focus on land use and watershed protection, but increased focus on climate change and sustainable operations.

Here are last year’s (2012-13) national and regional press releases.

Click here for California and Nevada’s 2011-2012 scorecard

Click here for Colorado and New Mexico’s 2011-2012 scorecard

Click here for Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming’s 2011-2012 scorecard

Click here for Oregon and Washington’s 2011-2012 scorecard

Click here for Utah and Arizona’s 2011-2012 scorecard

About the Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition

The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition works to promote environmental stewardship. By evaluating ski area responsiveness to the needs of environmental stewardship, local communities, and the recreational public in a manner that is consistent to changing economic and environmental policies, we can potentially influence current business practices and trends to be increasingly more eco-friendly.

Staff and Volunteers and of SACC are skiers themselves, and recognize skiing and mountain recreations as a valid and great use of public lands. The experiences, enjoyment, and memories that are created through the use of public lands cannot be monetarily measured; they are invaluable. As Theodore Roosevelt noted, “To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we thought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”

This year we enlisted help from Anna Olsen, a student and skier splitting her time between Big Sky, Montana and Lake Tahoe, California.

Ski Area Report Card Highlighted in Academic Studies

In 2013, Axel Pearson, produced a paper as his Master’s Thesis at the University of San Francsico, “Trends, Projections, and Costs of Climate Change to Lake Tahoe Ski Areas.” The paper estimates costs and losses in revenue of climate change to individual ski areas and how they will increase over time, specific to Lake Tahoe. You can read the paper here.

In 2012, researchers from Brock University in Ontario, Canada published an academic journal article that compares the environmental communications of ski resorts with their actual environmental performance using the Scorecard as a measure of environmental performance. The purpose of this research was to examine the safeguarding of the natural environment, or environmental sustainability (ES), in sport by studying the level of environmentally responsible actions for ski resorts in the USA. The report can be found here.

George Washington University Professor Jorge Rivera and University of Denver Professor Peter de Leon published a study of ski industry environmental impacts and the National Ski Area Association’s Sustainable Slopes program in the Policy Studies Journal (Vol. 32, No. 3, 2004) entitled “Is Greener Whiter? Voluntary Environmental Performance of Western Ski Areas.” The study validated many issues that the conservation community has had of the ski industry’s voluntary environmental program, and confirmed that the Ski Area Environmental Report Card is an accurate and useful third-party tool to gauge ski resorts’ environmental policies and management. A follow up study published in 2006 titled “Is Greener Whiter Yet? The Sustainable Slopes Program after Five Years” found similar results.