Vail Resorts leads the travel industry with “green” firsts and eco-innovations

To find out about Vail Resorts environmental programs and innovations, click here.

• Vail Resorts was one of the first ski resorts to partner with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation to embark on a groundbreaking clean water and forest health restoration project. The project announced in 2009 will  comprehensively restore the ecosystem and watershed devastated by Colorado largest wildfire, the 2002 Hayman fire.

• In September 2009, Vail Resorts announced it will no longer purchase wind energy credits and instead will focus its efforts on a new initiative: the Hayman Restoration Partnership. In 2006 when Vail Resorts made the decision to purchase wind energy credits, it was one of the first ski resorts to commit to 100 percent renewable energy offsets, which led to increased awareness and similar commitments by the rest of the ski industry to renewable energy credits.

• Vail Mountain was one of the first ski resorts to implement a recycling program and has the largest on-mountain recycling program in the ski industry in North America. Currently, Vail recycles more than 70 percent of on-mountain waste, which equates to about one pound per guest. Vail Resorts’ four other resorts – Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly – also lead the industry with their recycling efforts, as well as with innovative materials recovery projects like Keystone and Heavenly’s composting programs.

• Vail Resorts was the first in the ski industry to announce a comprehensive natural and organic food initiative called Appetite for Life, a Good Food partnership.  Last year, Vail Resorts served millions of natural and organic food items/meals at all 40 of its on-mountain restaurants at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly, making it the largest restaurant operator/hospitality company in North America to offer a ‘good food’ program of its kind. This year, the Company will expand this program by offering gluten-free items, as well as signature Appeite for Life options at its on-mountain restaurants.

• Vail Resorts announced plans for the most ambitious “green” resort developments, Ever Vail, which will be one of the first multi-use resort community projects to be considered for the new LEED-neighborhood certification. Click here for more information.

• Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz participated in Colorado Governor Ritter’s launch of an aggressive Climate Action Plan in November, 2007 and the same day Katz announced a companywide employee program aimed at reducing energy use and decreasing emissions. Most recently, Katz pledged to "lay off ... energy" - 10 percent over two years by taking small steps like turning off lights, aggressively educating employees to reduce idling time on company vehicles, stepping up employee carpool efforts and implementing green purchasing policies.

STORY IDEA: From Good to Great to Green. Find out how one hospitality company, Vail Resorts, is making “green” by going green. Vail Resorts has incorporated its sustainable philosophy and practices into the “Good to Great” business model to achieve success. Talk to Rob Katz, Vail Resorts’ chief executive officer, to learn more.


Building it green.  Ever Vail, the most ambitious green resort community development.
Last year Vail Resorts announced plans for the largest and most ambitious green resort development program in North America. Called Ever Vail, the $1 billion proposed development located at the base of Vail’s legendary ski slopes, will be one of the first-ever mixed-use, community projects to be considered for the U.S. Green Building Council’s new neighborhood LEED-certification. Considered a true “Brownfield” development, the Ever Vail planned project will feature a “green” resort village with residences, a hotel, office space, retail shops, restaurants, mountain operations facilities, a new gondola and a public park. Ever Vail plans to use the following green building measures:

• Use local lodgepole pine trees naturally killed by the bark beetle in the Ever Vail construction process
• Incorporate a geothermal process (ground-source heat pumps) to generate energy for the village’s snowmelt system
• Install hydro micro-turbines in the Gore Creek to power the outdoor village lighting
• Restore Red Sandstone Creek and enhance existing wetlands with a new storm water runoff system
• Use reclaimed water for “gray water” for the toilets and for mountain operations vehicles
• Orient all buildings to maximize natural light and use passive solar power, thereby improving energy efficiency

Green-cations. Giving guests great, green ways to learn and give back, while getting away
Vail Resorts’ surveys show that guests who visit the Company’s mountain resorts and luxury lodging properties are progressive thinkers and innovators who  want to be associated with progressive, environmentally-friendly, well-managed companies, like Vail Resorts.

Green guest donations. To allow guests to give back while visiting the Company’s iconic resorts and properties, Vail Resorts partnered with the National Forest Foundation two years ago to create the Ski Conservation Fund. Since the inception of this innovative voluntary donation program which allows guests to contribute $1 per season pass purchase, lodging stay or ticket transaction, more than $1.2 million has been raised to restore and improve National Forests located in the communities in which Vail Resorts operates in Colorado and California. For these efforts, Vail Resorts was recently honored by the National Forest Foundation.

Green learning. Guests who visit Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Heavenly can take home more than just souvenirs. They can take home a deeper understanding of the flora, fauna of the Colorado Rockies. Vail Resorts has partnered with local nonprofits like the Keystone Science School, the Gore Range Natural Science School, as well as the U.S. Forest Service to offer programs, such as stargazing and hands-on learning adventures for kids at Keystone, fireside nature chats at Vail’s mountaintop Discovery Center and Ski with a Ranger tours at Beaver Creek and also at Heavenly. Additionally, Vail and Beaver Creek have developed SKE-Cology, an environmental education program on skis for all children’s ski and snowboard classes that explore on-mountain nature trails during their lesson.

Volunteer vacations. RockResorts has worked with the U.S. Forest Service, the Eagle Ranger District and Friends of the Dillon Ranger District to offer a unique volunteer vacation opportunity at its Colorado resorts. The “Give & Getaway” volunteer vacation allows guests to participate in trail restoration projects in the White River National Forest, located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Other green-ovations and projects:
To find out more about:
• Saying “I Do” to each other and Mother Nature and more eco-chic and eco-friendly programs. RockResorts recently announced new Green Weddings, Green Meetings and Green Guest Room initiatives.
• E.spas. Keystone Lodge & Spa recently renovated its spa with recycled wood floors, natural light and other environmentally-friendly elements. Other RockResort Spas are doing the same.
• Solar power. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Keystone’s River Run information center is powered by the sun and Vail Mountain plans to install solar panels for the 2008-2009 winter season.
• Green giving, habitat conservation projects and more.