EAGLE COUNTY (AP) When people go to a ski resort, theres an expectation of environmental friendliness.
Vail and Beaver Creek resorts know guests have that expectation and want to deliver plus, its just the right thing to do, resort officials say.
Adam Bybliw, Vails environmental manager, and Fritz Bratschie, Beaver Creeks environmental manager, are passionate about making the resorts efficient and sensitive to the natural surroundings in which they operate.
I think everyone is very passionate about taking care of the land weve been entrusted to work on and play on, Bratschie said. Without the beautiful surroundings we have, we have nothing for our guests. Protecting this beautiful environment is critical to what we do here.
Natural-resource conservation programs in place at both resorts include efforts to save everything from electricity to natural gas to fuel to water.
In the last couple of years, Beaver Creek has reduced its energy consumption by 7 percent, and Vail has reduced consumption by 10 percent.
Some of it has come from simple initiatives such as making sure employees turn off the lights when they leave for the day and the Idlewise initiative, which reduces fuel by making sure employees dont let vehicles idle unnecessarily.
Even the attendants who are picking up trays from the on-mountain dining facilities are sorting the trash into the proper recycling bins while also providing a service to guests, said Beaver Creek spokeswoman Jen Brown.
People expect these things. Its really doing whats right, Brown said.
At Vail, the recycling which in cardboard alone is enough to save 675 cubic yards of landfill space, 3,450 gallons of oil in production, half a million gallons of water and 1,275 trees from being cut down to make pulp, according to Vail Mountain data is happening all the time behind the scenes.
An underground tunnel that goes from the Arrabelle to the Eagle Bahn gondola is constantly in use bringing supplies, trash and recyclable materials up and down the mountain all day every day.
The recycling ends up in the Vail Mountain shop yard in west Lionshead. Bybliw said between 1,000 and 2,500 pounds of cardboard is brought down for recycling each day, and about 30 cubic yards of other recyclable materials are hauled off each week.
Trash from Vail Mountains kitchens also is hauled to the resorts composting site in Minturn, so everything from potato peels to onion cores can be turned into soil additives for summer planting.
Vail Resorts also created Echo, a program meant to nurture and enliven social responsibility in our company. Programs under Echo include a partnership among the company, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation to work on efforts to restore areas damaged by the 2002 Hayman Fire.
Its the giving-back mentality, said Vail Mountain spokeswoman Liz Biebl. Yes, we operate in these natural environments, so what can we do to give back and take care of things?
While environmental scorecards such as the Ski Area Citizens Coalition Ski Area Report Card criticize ski resorts, including Vail and Beaver Creek, for the things theyre not doing, Bybliw said theres so much going on all the time that the scorecards never take into account.
Our resort is doing plenty of initiatives to stay in the forefront of sustainability, he said. I think people nowadays are looking at a resort and saying, Theyre doing these initiatives theyre making an effort to be sustainable. Thats almost a decision that goes into some peoples minds when they say, Where do I want to ski?