FEBRUARY 19, 2013 BY 

On February 12th, Powder Magazine reprinted a sustainability report from a study done by the Ski Area Citizens Coalition that ranked the Steamboat Ski Resort low against other ski resorts in the areas of Habitat and Watershed Protection, Addressing Climate Change, and Environmental Practices and Policies.  Since then we have been getting bombarded with questions regarding our stance on this report, the following is our public answer.

YVSC has been working with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corporation (SSRC) since YVSC’s inception in 2008, however the company’s dedication to the environment dates back far beyond this.  Due to our partnerships with SSRC, and thanks to several very sustainability-dedicated employees of SSRC who have held seats on our Board of Directors, we have seen a very different view than this report suggests, and it is their work that we would like to commend.

In 2009, the Food and Beverage team, under leadership of Director Liz Wahl, also Board of Directors member for YVSC, launched the nationally-progressive Zero Waste Initiative with YVSC and Twin Enviro as partners.  Since then, many local organizations have adopted the Zero Waste concept to their events, and the Zero Waste verbiage has been added to event contracts for the City of Steamboat Springs and Routt County.  This program is a national leader, and has been highlighted on CNN and other news networks, and the Colorado Association for Recycling unpronounced Liz the Recycler of the Year in 2010.

As a community, we all should be very proud of SSRC’s Zero Waste leadership, and in December 2012, YVSC presented Liz with our Lifetime Achievement award for just this reason.  Through this program, SSRC is diverting 70-90% of its waste (depending on venue) from the landfill.  In addition to Zero-Wasting day-to-day operations, the Steamboat Grand and SSRC banquests staff has been making special events Zero Waste since 2011.

In 2010, SSRC was the largest local sponsor of the ReTree Colorado (now ReTree Steamboat) event; 14,000 trees were planted in June that year, 2000 on Mt Werner.  SSRC Facilities and Slope departments supported this event in many ways, and the Food and Beverage department supported the event with its Zero Waste Initiative.  In 2013, ReTree Steamboat has chosen Mt Werner again for planting trees to replace some of the loss to the Pine Bark Beetle Epidemic.  SSRC has shown a great dedication to the forests and its resources, and to our knowledge has salvaged much of what they have had to cut down from dead tree stands through local blue-stain wood re-use efforts.

In 2011, YVSC Board of Directors member Audrey Williams was awarded one of YVSC’s four annual Sustainability Awards for the work that her Facilities Department team has done and continues to do for the company’s sustainability.  At its Rendezvous facility alone, Facilities reports that 373,050 gallons of water were saved with the instillation of their new auto-flush and shut-off features. Snowmaking efficiencies resulted in a 40% improvement in the resort’s gallons per kilowatt ratio (2010/11 vs 2005/06). The Light Blub Replacement Program generated an estimate $80,000 in savings by replacing 200 incandescent blubs with compact fluorescents. The Base Area team is utilizing a new electric 4×4 Ranger which is not only eco-friendly, but eco-nomical.  This year Audrey led the SSRC team to join the local Spare the Air Campaign movement and purchased no-idling signs to place at skier drop off and transit areas around the mountain to help with this awareness about improving air quality for lung health and more.

In early 2012, SSRC Supervisor of Recycling and a member of the YVSC Board of Directors, Garrett Smith’s project suggestion for Leadership Steamboat was chosen by the team, and the group successfully added 30+ new beautiful, permanent recycling bins to Lincoln Avenue.  Garrett is one of the most dedicated SSRC Zero Waste champions; his team sorts through the base area waste daily to make sure all resources (recycling and compost) are captured despite contamination.  Garrett was appointed Chair of the Yampa Valley Recycles Committee for YVSC as of January 2013.

For us, this is the tip of the iceberg, there are many more examples of SSRC’s dedication to the environment.   We know that SSRC will continue to be a leader in sustainable practices in partnership with the many fellow sustainably-minded entities in our valley, and we hope that their website starts highlighting some of these recent commendable practices soon.