FEBRUARY 27, 2019 BY 

by Anne Mudgett
reprinted from the Steamboat Pilot & Today

People who love skiing, snowboarding and other snowsports also love snow — a lot. We’re even known to obsess about having enough of the white stuff to do what we love.

It would make sense that the industries that appeal to recreationalists like us would want to do whatever they can to ensure that snow — the lifeblood of their industry — continues to fall in copious amounts.

So, it’s no surprise that the Outdoor Industry Association, SnowSports Industries America and the National Ski Areas Association recently announced their new Outdoor Business Climate Partnership. The new initiative will encourage thousands of industry members to reduce the carbon footprint of their businesses and will also harness the growing political power of outdoor voters to encourage public policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy. Some wonder what took them so long.

But, not every player in the ski industry has shied away from the issue of global warming. Aspen Skiing Co. has been leading the charge on environmental issues for more than 20 years and hasn’t been afraid to address climate change head-on. One of their corporate responsibility and sustainability goals is “to stay in business forever,” a nod to the seriousness of the climate crisis.

To accomplish this goal, Aspen Skiing Co is committed to climate action through both advocacy and operations. Last fall, the company launched a sustainability, get out the vote and social inclusivity campaign, #GiveAFlake. If you love to ski and ride — and love snow — the campaign video is guaranteed to get you fired up.

As part of Yampa Valley Sustainability Council’s monthly Talking Green climate education series at 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 at Bud Werner Memorial Library, the Sustainability Council is hosting Matthew Hamilton, sustainability director for Aspen Skiing Co. Hamilton will be speaking on how the company’s sustainability program has evolved since 1994.

In the early days, it was about changing light bulbs and recycling. In 2004, Aspen Skiing Co. built the first solar array in the ski industry on ski patrol headquarters atop Aspen Highlands. Their commitment to renewable energy didn’t stop with internal projects. In 2008, the company invested $1.1 million in a solar array on the Colorado Rocky Mountain School campus.

Today, Aspen Skiing Co. is focused on climate campaigns, LGBTQ advocacy, political engagement and aggressively reducing their own emissions — asking all the time, what can a hospitality and outdoor recreation business do if it wants to be in business forever?


What: What does sustainability mean? Aspen Skiing Company’s Journey
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26
Where: Library Hall, Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.

Anne Mudgett is the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council communications and development director.