Pursuing Sustainability – An Update from Alta Ski Area 2017

November 21 2017

Alta, Utah – November 21, 2017: As Alta Ski Area enters its 80th year of running lifts up the mountain, it is reminded of the work and balance that is needed between the environment, its people, and business; this is called sustainability. For 80 years Alta Ski Area has seen the ski industry, the mountains and people change, and through the seasons the ski area has strived to make this change a little better each year. The word sustainability was not a common term back in 1938 when Alta Ski Area (ASA) was born, but it unknowingly had its place in Alta within the fairly new term “conservation” brought to us by the U.S. Forest Service. Since inception, occupying National Forest and a protected watershed has been a leading factor in the ski area’s operations and planning. Now, it is integrated within ASA’s policies and mindset.

To further the commitment of responsibly conserving the lands within Alta, the ski area created the Alta Environmental Center (AEC) to guide their efforts internally and work with third-party entities to bring them into the community. Alta has a strong culture and it is this culture that motivates and guides the AEC to protect and improve the ski area’s environment, industry and community. The great task the AEC brings to its company is to meet a 20% greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal by the year 2020. This goal and other efforts are done in alliance with ski industry partners and led by the National Ski Areas Association Climate Challenge program. The Climate Challenge program asks participating ski areas to track their annual carbon footprint, create reduction goals and projects to meet the goals, share publicly their progress, and advocate at a national level for GHG reduction. The program took flight in 2011, and ASA is pleased to say they have been supporting these objectives officially since 2008 with the AEC, and culturally long before that. 

Beyond the Climate Challenge program, the AEC releases an annual update with a more detailed look into their sustainability progress. For this year’s update the winter season of 2016-2017 very much focused on the social aspects of sustainability, while the summer is an ever increasing challenge to balance the environment and visitors.  The upcoming season of 2017-2018 brings some notable change to Alta in the form of a new General Manager, Mike Maughan.  His view on his role within the ski area is summed up with his words, "I look forward to building upon the accomplishments of the past general manager and recipient of the NSAA Hero of Sustainability award, Onno Wieringa, as we continue to pursue sustainability with our employees, skiers and the environment we operate in.  Preserving and protecting the Alta environment while sharing it is part of the authentic ski experience we are in the business of providing our customers."

The ski area plans to release an annual update through 2020, when they will revisit their 20% reduction goal and put together a comprehensive report. Until then skiers, industry partners, and Alta patrons are welcome to follow the ski area’s progress via their social media platforms and monthly newsletters. To learn more about Alta Ski Area’s sustainability efforts or to subscribe to the AEC e-news, visit alta.com

2017 Sustainability Report: http://media.alta.com/resources/Alta-Environmental-Center/News/2017-2018/2017-Sustainability-report_final.pdf

All Ski Area Reports: www.alta.com/alta-environmental-center/our-efforts#reports

Facebook: www.facebook.com/altaenvironmentalcenter/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/109696705174036587258/109696705174036587258

Instagram: altaenvironment

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