If you’re like us, you’re watching the weather every day for the next snowstorm to roll in so you can get on the mountain and play in the fresh powder. The promise of a winter season full of adventure and excitement always fills us with anticipation, especially now, as sustainability leaders of the four largest mountain resort companies in North America.
Even as we watch the forecasts with eagerness, we look to the future and see a changing climate that threatens the natural environments that make outdoor adventure possible.
Climate change is the most critical issue we face as business leaders, and as inhabitants of Earth. The potential negative impacts to the forests, habitats, and ecosystems where we live and work are dramatic, and just the beginning of the problem we all face on a planetary scale. This is why, as the leaders of Alterra Mountain Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, and Vail Resorts, collectively representing 77 resorts, we joined forces in 2019, creating Mountain Collaborative for Climate Action, or Mountain Collab, and committed to taking unified action on climate change.
As mountain resort companies operating in beautiful, pristine natural environments, we recognize the responsibility we have to our employees, our communities, and the millions of guests that visit us each year to sustain these playgrounds. We must do everything in our power to leave a positive legacy for future generations, and to operate and manage our mountain resorts with a commitment to protecting and preserving our environment. We understand that protecting our climate means addressing our direct impact and protecting the ecosystems that make outdoor adventure possible.
The Mountain Collab defined three priority pillars to focus our action and advocacy: energy, waste, and ecosystems. We will focus on energy by championing the accelerated use, development, and availability of renewable energy resources across our resorts and communities. We will work within our mountain communities to reduce waste through reduction, recapture, reuse, and recycling, and whenever possible, elimination. And we will work to protect and conserve the natural resources that we, our communities, and our natural environments depend on by encouraging efficient resource use and minimizing impacts to forests and habitat.
To that end, we are excited to announce our coming together with the community in Summit County, Colorado, to support a pilot program with Bottle Loop – to recycle plastic drink bottles back into plastic drink bottles here in the U.S. It is this type of commitment to collaboration and to our shared goals that will start to make a real difference in the places where we live, work and play.
Together, our shared commitments will reduce our direct impact on the environment across North America and spark improvements on our effect on the climate. We also understand the power of speaking with one voice to change policies and practices that can reduce climate and environmental degradation.
Starting in 2023, we will advocate at the federal, state, and local levels for policies that curtail greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate a shift to renewable energy sources, and establish a clean energy economy.
We will also advocate for policies to update the current recycling infrastructure. And finally, we will work together with elected officials and community leaders to protect our natural ecosystems.
It is a rare opportunity for competitors to come together to collaborate around a common cause, and we are both proud and excited to further our work so we can all continue to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and all they offer. Protecting the mountains, snow, and adventures they provide demands that we work together on solutions.
Kate Wilson, of Niwot, is senior director of sustainability at Vail Resorts.
Raj Basi, of Denver, is vice president of sustainability at POWDR.
Jay Scambio, of Lincoln, N.H., is chief operating officer, day area operations, at Boyne Resorts.
Darcie Renn, of Fremont, Calif., is vice president of sustainability at Alterra Mountain Company.
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