Ski Corp. embraces nature

Sustainable Slopes Day held for environmental education

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The Steamboat Ski Area will provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse at part of its operations Saturday.

People come to ski resorts primarily to ski, but they also come for the beauty and tranquility of the mountains, said Lyn Halliday, director of environmental affairs and guest services for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. Preserving the natural beauty of a mountain that is covered by people every day is a job that often is taken for granted, Halliday said.

Every year, the National Ski Areas Association, a trade association for ski area owners and operators that represents more than 90 percent of Alpine resorts nationwide, dedicates a day to those people who work to maintain the environmental habitat of ski resort mountains.

The day has been called Sustainable Slopes Day, and it will be celebrated Saturday in Steamboat. Ski Corp. will use the day to inform, educate and entertain all who work, play and enjoy the slopes of Mount Werner.

"It's a day for everybody to get a feel for some of the things we do," Halliday said. "We try something new every year because there's no way we can cover everything we do."

Sustainable Slopes Day activities include a carpooling and mass transit "rewards program," in which guests arriving by mass transit or a carpool of three or more individuals in a vehicle will receive a form to enter in a raffle for a snowboard and other prizes.

"We want to draw some attention to the importance of energy emission savings from bus riding or carpooling," Halliday said.

Three guided "eco-tours" will be provided for people who want to learn more about the ecosystem on Mount Werner. Two of the tours will be on snowshoes, one starting at 10:30 a.m. at the top of Vagabond and the other at 1 p.m. at the Information Center. The other tour will be for those who want to ski or ride, and will begin at 11 a.m. at the top of Vagabond.

In another activity, volunteers from Yampatika and the U.S. Forest Service will have displays and fliers at Thunderhead Lodge informing people about environmental issues faced by the Steamboat Ski Area and Routt National Forest, such as beetle prevention and repercussions of the Routt Divide Blowdown.

Forest Service representatives also will be at the base of the gondola discussing programs, environmental efforts and recreational opportunities on all public lands.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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