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Ski Salt Lake: Green, But Not with Envy

Published: 10/31/2006

With wilderness areas becoming more and more coveted, the call for environmental protection is stronger now than ever before. Proudly answering this call is Ski Salt Lake—with its four resorts taking special measures to conserve our valuable resources and preserve the pristine environment they call home. Salt Lake, long respected as one of the cleanest cities in America, is now eliciting praise from leaders worldwide with several ambitious environmental programs. Below are details on specific programs and initiatives being practiced by the Cottonwood Canyon resorts and Salt Lake.

Alta Ski Area
Alta has a formal Environmental Report, available on Highlights include:
•    Implementing a tree/vegetation program which has planted native shrubs, grasses, forbs and at least 1,000 conifer seedlings annually (over 15,000 to date).
•    Placed automatic lighting control systems, automatic power correction systems, high efficiency windows, automatic faucets, waterless urinals and digital mechanical controls in recently constructed buildings.
•    Alta is committed to renewable energy. As a start, they pledged to purchase over 23% of their energy for the next 12 months from Utah Power's Blue Sky Program.

Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort
Since Snowbird’s inception, its master development plan has proven the resort can co-exist with a commitment to environmental consideration in every aspect of the resort’s design and operations.
•    Snowbird used an abandoned mine tunnel to house a unique reservoir to avoid marring the canyon with a surface reservoir. This unique reservoir was created after Snowbird filled an old mine drainage tunnel and installed a chlorination and filtration system that currently holds 30 million gallons of water. Over 100 miles of existing mine tunnels are used to collect runoff, groundwater and rainwater from surrounding mountains.
•    Snowbird built a seven-mile sewer system instead of using less expensive, but environmentally risky, septic tanks.
•    Vegetation growing on the Snowbird lodges’ roofs traps and purifies water before it enters the groundwater system.
•    Snowbird has increased signage around Snowbird’s four lodges, the Snowbird Center and Creekside Lodge reminding guests and employees to conserve at the Bird (turn lights off and turn heat down).

Solitude Mountain Resort
Solitude has taken special measure in recent years to ensure the land upon which it resides remains healthy and beautiful. Among other initiatives, Solitude voluntarily chose to construct shorter buildings than those permitted by their building permit, thus preserving the cozy mountain atmosphere of its base village. Other initiatives include:   
•    Noxious and Non-Native Weed Abatement Program. Disturbing native soils opens the flood gates for noxious and non-native weeds to spread. Solitude uses both environmentally sound chemical as well as mechanical means to destroy and prevent the spread of such weeds.
•    Queen Bess Glading Project. Beginning the first year of a 5-year project, Solitude is glading an area of forest previously ear-marked by its forest management plan as “dense forest in bad health.” By thinning out the forest over a longer period of time, the resort is allowing the forest to heal in between glading sessions, thus ensuring a solid root system for many years to come, and a healthier forest altogether. Solitude is also utilizing the lumber from the glading project for parking barricades and other projects.

Brighton Resort
Celebrating 70 years of unmatched skiing and riding, Brighton is as committed as ever to implementing environmentally sound business practices.
•    Brighton promotes a resort-wide recycling program.
•    Brighton practices energy efficient snowmaking, using water with no additives as not to harm the environment.
•    Brighton offers environmental education programs to employees.

Salt Lake City
In December 2005, The World Leadership Forum praised Salt Lake’s ambitious environmental program, “Salt Lake City Green,” awarding the city the prestigious World Leadership Award. Salt Lake’s coordinated series of major initiatives includes alternative transportation, zero-waste, recycling, climate protection, e2 business promotion, high-performance buildings, open space, urban forests and smart growth.
•    By mayoral proclamation, all new city-owned buildings must be designed according to high-energy-performance/LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.
•    e2 Business Program: Salt Lake businesses are encouraged to set and meet environmental improvement goals to receive e2 certification. The goals are simple: minimizing environmental impact while saving money. More than 40 businesses have met the goals to date.
•    The Salt Palace Convention Center’s recent $58 million expansion embraces green practices such as 32 waterless urinals, saving approximately 1.2 gallons of water annually. The Salt Palace also boasts the largest solar power light system installed in Utah and is the largest LEED certified building in Utah.

 Ski Salt Lake promotes Salt Lake and the Cottonwood Canyon resorts as the ideal winter vacation destination unmatched in accessibility, variety and snow quality. Located just 40 minutes from the Salt Lake City International Airport, the resorts average 500 inches of snow each year and collectively offer more than 7,500 skiable acres.