Ski Corp. won environmental praise for the construction of the new $5 million Four Points lodge, which was built using LEED principles.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Ski Corp. won environmental praise for the construction of the new $5 million Four Points lodge, which was built using LEED principles.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. receives top honors for environmental excellence

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— Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. has received the ski industry's top award for environmental stewardship.

Ski Corp. was given the 2014 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence during the National Ski Areas Associations' national convention last week.

The awards are given annually to a small, medium and large ski area. Ski Corp. received the large ski area award. Arapahoe Basin was the medium ski area winner and Proctor Academy, a private school in New Hampshire, won the small ski area award.

The winners are selected with the help of SKI Magazine.

"When SKI founded this program in 1993, we wanted to encourage sustainability and recognize resorts for their commitment and proven results to environmental programs," SKI Magazine Publisher Andy Bigford stated in a news release. "It's gratifying to see how far the industry has come in 20 years, particularly with today's collective focus on addressing climate change."

Ski Corp. won praise for the construction of the new $5 million Four Points Lodge, which was built using LEED principles. The lodge has low-flow fixtures, efficient windows, composting, carbon dioxide sensors in the ventilation system along with energy-efficient light fixtures.

Ski Corp. also was recognized for the energy efficient Ultra-Tech Lighting that was installed as part of a $1 million project to light up the lower mountain area for night skiing.

The bulbs are rated to last for 100,000 hours. That is the equivalent of running constantly for more than 11 years.

Doug Allen, vice president of mountain operations, has said the system uses one-third of the amount of electricity typical lighting systems use. The electricity needed to run the system is well below the amount used to power a ski lift.

According to Ski Corp., new snowmaking equipment reduced energy consumption by 30 percent and cut water usage. Also during the past year, more efficient groomers were purchased that helped decrease fuel consumption, and helicopter logging was used to limit the disturbance to the land while 23 more acres of dead lodgepole pine trees were removed.

“Our focus on environmental sustainability has evolved over many years with hard work, thoughtfulness and a team approach culminating with the combined on-mountain projects this past year,” Allen said in a news release. “We hope this recognition will inspire others to join us, in our area and beyond, to take action and make a difference whether they are just starting out or already focus on sustainability.”

Also during the National Ski Areas Associations conference, Ski Corp. won the Safety Award for Best Use of Web/New media with its #BuddyUp social media campaign.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

Comments

Cresean Sterne 7 months, 2 weeks ago

With a large corp like Intrawest (Fortres) we shoudnt expect anything less with any new development at a ski area. Steamboat got a bad rap a couple years ago for not showing any new up to date environmental efforts which came as a suprise to many. We were ranked quite poorly but have made good effort recently to change that.

There is still an issue with the recycling in the underground garage at gondola square. Almost all the recycling is dumped there in trah bags when it should be emptied from the bags into the bin. Trash bags are not recyclabe and I am suprised that this hasnt been looked at by any one else.

Thunderhead has a great composting station upstairs at the restaraunt but still only has trash cans (no recycling can) at the lower entrance and not sure why..They have done a great job at the base with devided material bins but need to educate business's and employees on what can and cant go into the underground recycling bin. Personaly I wouldnt put recycling in any trash bag for this reason. Instead, put it in an unlined reusable container and then dump into the recycling container as loose fill. The same problem exists at the green machine. Almost every time I have opened the lid to put recycling in, there is someones recycling tied up in a trash bag laying inside.

Also would be nice for the city to take a stronger role with recycling in Steamboat. Maybe starting to put some bins on Lincoln and core trail next to the trash cans and a tree and slash drop site.

Yes, I guess I'm kinda obsessed with recycing but IMO its what we should be doing for a more substainable Steamboat.

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mark hartless 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"The electricity needed to run the system is well below the amount used to power a ski lift."

No matter how they spin it, they are coal-fired ski lifts...

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Cresean Sterne 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Intrawest also owns Winter Park and just recentlly did some uprades and expansion work to the area... From what I understand, the left over heat produced from the chairlifs is somehow recycled into heating the walk ways at the base... Our walk ways are heated at the base but I am not sure if the energy to prduce that comes from any lifts.?

Winter Park has an open tin can type gondola that will transport guests from the free parking to the base... For years, this has made me wonder why the wilde horse godola at the meadows lot does not get used for shuttling those from the meadows lot... It is cycling back and for any way and is almsost always empty except for the occasional lodging guest... This would greatly eleviate gas guzzling transport vehicles to and from the mountain... Just seems like a large waist of resources.

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Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Minor detail Creasean, but Intrawest does not own Winter Park, they manage it for the city of Denver who are the owners.

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Cresean Sterne 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks Neil. I was always under the impression that it came with Steamboat along with a few other areas when it was purchased. Was it the same when ASC had ownership?

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Cresean Sterne 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Did a little research and the answer to my own question is no. It looks like Intrawest has operated Winter Park for the city of Denver since 2002. Thanks for me straight Neil..

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mark hartless 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"Our walk ways are heated at the base but I am not sure if the energy to prduce that comes from any lifts.?"

Are you seriously speculating that??? Sometimes I wish people could just stand back and listen to themselves reason...

The energy for heated walks (along with the ski lifts and everything else) comes from the production and distribution of affordable energy; something the green community is lined up squarely against.

Energy for walkway heating might somehow pass THROUGH the ski lift operation, though I highly doubt it. It most certainly does not come FROM ski lifts, except in the land of unicorns and rainbows...

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mark hartless 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Isn't heating walkways that would outherwise be frozen contributing to global warming??

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Cresean Sterne 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Winter park is one leader in the resort industry using renewable energy through wind for some of its lifts. I never stated as fact that Winter Park was using recycled energy to off set the cost to heat sidewalks but was told a few years ago by an employee there that they did. I'm gonna do a little research on that but they have done great strives toward achieving more renewable alternatives.

Heating walk ways certainly is NOT very green. If it is to be done, I dont think its to far fetched for this kind of renewable energy to be used to help off set that cost.

http://www.winterparkresort.com/the-mountain/environmental-initiatives.aspx

Towards Sustainability

Winter Park Resort sustainability is more than just a popular industry buzzword; it is a process and a fundamental value in our business. Sustainability is both practical and aspirational. Winter Park Resort has made great efforts to reduce ecological impact, reduce water usage and increase energy efficiency. While there are a number of ways to move towards sustainability, Winter Park Resort is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as climate change is the single greatest threat to our industry and the lifestyle we cherish. Winter Park Resort uses proprietary energy control software to limit our electrical consumption. We strive daily to reduce our overall footprint and lessen the use of fossil fuel created electricity, natural gas, water and other resources.

Ecological Impact

When confronted with the state of our planet, there are times when it seems we have done very little right, and what have done can seem all for naught, this is not the case with respect to Winter Park Resort’s care for its mountain environment. We have been very successful in protecting our environment as we continue to expand opportunities for recreation. Winter Park Resort’s most recently constructed lifts are 100% offset with wind energy, while our new tubing building, Hill House, was constructed with a number of reclaimed materials and energy-efficient design. Winter Park has also made great strides in mitigating stands of Pine Beetle-killed trees, most recently choosing to fly felled trees off our mountain with helicopters to protect Lynx Habitat.

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john bailey 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Cresean , what are they doing to keep water in the Frazer ? last I heard that river was basically dead.

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Cresean Sterne 7 months, 2 weeks ago

John, the Fraser river has caused some major debate. It is a tributary to the Colorado like the Yampa.

Most Front Range residents don't realize that much of the water they use at home comes directly from the streams and rivers of the upper Colorado River basin. A spider-web network of dams and pumps and pipelines delivers water from the Colorado and other Western Slope rivers to showerheads and sprinklers in Denver and surrounding areas.

Already Front Range utilities take about 60 percent of the water that originates in the upper Colorado River basin, draining Grand County to the point that many of its once pristine streams now run dry. The Fraser River, a Colorado tributary where President Dwight Eisenhower spent summers fishing, is among the hardest hit.

The low stream flows take a devastating toll on river health. Studies show dramatic declines in the size and health of trout, and entire classes of aquatic insects have disappeared from the river. Because of low flows and high water temperatures, the Colorado and several tributaries are choked with silt and algae.

Tom Ross did a nice piece in the Today talking with Matt Rice & Kent Vertrees a few weeks ago about how important these rivers are to the survival of the Colorado river.

http://www.steamboattoday.com/news/2014/apr/09/upper-colorado-basin-ranked-second-among-10-most-e/

Its years like this that I thank ullr for great snowfall and he doesnt look like he is done just yet.. :-)

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john bailey 7 months, 2 weeks ago

the snow melt system is done by natural gas boilers , go to the under ground Sheraton garage and see for yourself. you can see the flue stack up above before heading down the ramp under ground. what the hell happened to the jobs for the snow shovelers ? there are 2 others that were put in a few years ago at the KVC . So are we that lazy we gotta have this waste of energy so the knuckle heads can walk on pavers ? good lord....but , they did try to get geothermal just too costly , i'll give em that ,but that's it....~;0) hula hula....

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Jim Kelley 7 months ago

The thing about Geothermal that most people don't consider is the huge electrical usage it takes to heat the ground. It takes pumps to run the water and gigantic heat pumps (in excess of 125 amps each) to run the heat exchange. Most electrical power is purely coal derived from YVEA. Geothermal is NOT GREEN at all as many have discovered after the fact.

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mark hartless 7 months, 2 weeks ago

"...most recently choosing to fly felled trees off our mountain with helicopters to protect Lynx Habitat."

This is EXACTLY what I'm talkin' about with the religious environmentalists. They preach about how everything is connected globally; how it all is seamed together and that we must consider the whole picture in our daily individual decisions.

But do they ever stop to think how much $$$ it costs to fly trees off their mountain? Trees that nature would recycle right where they fall???

Helicopters are notoriously expensive to operate and their lift capacity highly limited. Could they take the saved dollars of simply using conventional logging methods and then invest in Lynx habitat or other equally important environmental concerns and end up with a net GAIN for the environment??

Who knows, because those questions, just like the question of what stands in the STEAD of the KXL pipeline, are seldom if ever asked,

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Scott Wedel 7 months, 2 weeks ago

There should be no way for a snowmelt system to be considered green. It uses energy to melt snow when a little snow shoveling would also work.

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mark hartless 7 months, 1 week ago

But it does not burn fossil fuels or pollute, Rhys.

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Jeremy Johnston 7 months, 1 week ago

What about the diesel, oil based fertilizer, and pesticides that are used to grow the food that powers the said shoveler?

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Scott Wedel 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Not one that emits pounds of CO2. CO2 emissions from human exercise is far less than burning a carbon based fuel.

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john bailey 7 months, 1 week ago

the energy of the young , its a good place to start and ya gotta start somewhere , no ?

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Neil O'Keeffe 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Anyone concerned about water in the west should check out the free screening of Damnation at the library tomorrow night @ 6:30PM

http://damnationfilm.com/trailer

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mark hartless 7 months, 1 week ago

Damnation being an advocacy film/propaganda for ridding ourselves of all the big hydroelectric dams. Don't know how that would result in a better water scenario for the western US...

Have you read "Rules for Radicals yet, Neil??

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rhys jones 7 months, 1 week ago

Wow, something wasn't up here 9 minutes. I'm gonna have to quit smoking cigarettes.

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mark hartless 7 months, 1 week ago

Isn't there methane in your ciggarettes, Rhys???

How do smokers hold a straight face and pontificate about methane???

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rhys jones 7 months, 1 week ago

That was a joke, Mark. Ha ha. Lighten up; you take yourself WAY too seriously. The world probably won't explode tomorrow. Would a cheerful or positive comment hurt you?

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mark hartless 7 months, 1 week ago

There's more methane in one Obama speech than in every natural gas well ever fracked in South Dakota.

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mark hartless 7 months, 1 week ago

Seriously Neil, would you like a complimentary copy of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals? I'd be happy to send you mine with the Lucifer dedication underlined.

Ken, have you done any computations on the "carbon footprint" of those rail cars loaded with KXL oil??? Maybe you're too busy chopping "environmentally friendly" firewood for your wood stove... Living "off the grid" is messy business, indeed.

I'm sure you guys will get back to us with some iron-clad excuses real soon...

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