Steamboat Ski Area rates poorly on environmental scorecard


By the numbers

Best resort scores

  1. Park City, A (93 percent)
  2. Deer Valley, A (89.6 percent)
  3. Aspen Highlands, A (88.3 percent)
  4. Aspen Mountain, A (87.4 percent)
  5. The Canyons, A (86.3 percent)

Worst resort scores

  1. Arizona Snowbowl, D (42.2 percent)
  2. Breckenridge, D (53.7 percent)
  3. Steamboat, D (55.9 percent)
  4. Monarch, D (56.5 percent)
  5. Eldora, D (57 percent)

Source: Ski Area Environmental Scorecard

— Steamboat Ski Area ranks among the worst five Western resorts for environmental practices in the newest Ski Area Environmental Scorecard.

The 11th annual scorecard was compiled by the Sierra Nevada Alliance on behalf of the Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition, according to a news release.

Steamboat Ski Area received a D grade with 55.9 percent of the available points. The ski area received a B grade last year.

The scorecard is weighted heavily against resort expansion and expects a number of proactive resource efficiency efforts.

The planned second phase of expansion along Pioneer Ridge, which has been a part of the ski area’s master plan since 1996 but never completed, lost Steamboat a significant number of points. The expansion — carried forward in an updated master plan amendment — would increase terrain access from the Pony Express chairlift, the least-used lift at the ski area, according to the master plan. Planned real estate expansion by Intrawest also counted against the ski area.

Steamboat Ski Area lost points for expanding snowmaking, not producing renewable energy on-site and not using biodiesel in diesel equipment, among other categories.

The ski area performed best in the watershed protection category, receiving 70.3 percent of the available points.

Also among the worst five resorts according to the scorecard were Colorado resorts Breckenridge Ski Resort and Monarch Ski and Snowboard Area.

Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain ski resorts represented Colorado in the scorecard’s top 10 resorts.

Steamboat Ski Area officials did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email


Dan Hill 4 years, 1 month ago

Wow. A classic example of the anti-growth agenda of radical green organizations. Expansion and real estate development are bad now matter how they are done. I suppose the Stagecoach Ski Area got top ratings!

These are the people I curse every time I hit a rock or stump on Pioneer Ridge that ought to be removed but can't because, you know, every shrub and rock are sacred.


mark hartless 4 years, 1 month ago

Hopefully this news will PO some of the bark-licking nature-nazis and they will shuffle off to more "earth-friendly" ski towns where they can ride rainbow-powered ski lifts to the top of ski runs groomed by unicorns.

Is there any correlation between the scores and lift ticket prices? Do the cheap resorts rank as high as the expensive ones? Why or why not?


Sam Jones 4 years, 1 month ago

Funny comment Mark, my 9 year really liked it. You bring up a good point that is at the heart of the issue. Expansion plans without cost considerations for silly things like energy use just show up as a pass through to lift ticket prices. For as much as we all sneer at Aspen, they are doing it right and received top ranks. Aspen makes no secret of their plans to reduce lift ticket prices long term by controlling their expenses with things like on site renewable power generation and total revamp of HVAC,lighting etc. Meanwhile, Steamboat is now the proud owner of the highest lift ticket prices in CO.

Check it

Is there a positive correlation between the absence of long term cost controls ( like energy efficiency ) and lift ticket prices? Probably too early to say but it appears to be headed that way as Aspen is now "cheaper" than Steamboat, even with the unicorns.

Thanks for asking the hard question.




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