Resorts to raise warning flag over issue of global warming |

Resorts to raise warning flag over issue of global warming

SUMMIT COUNTY – Snowsporters can show their solidarity with ski areas campaigning to raise awareness about global warming Saturday by driving their electric-gas hybrid cars to the slopes, using their solar-cooker grills in the parking lots or just sticking to sushi.

But if skiers and snowboarders don’t have hybrid cars, solar cookers or don’t care for raw fish, ski areas will be able to explain how they can help reduce emissions of greenhouses gases.

Saturday marks Sustainable Slopes Day, a nationwide campaign by the National Ski Areas Association. In 2000, the NSAA adopted an environmental charter aimed at promoting practices that don’t damage the resources resorts manage. This year, the NSAA has joined forces with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental action group, to get ski-area visitors thinking about the impact of global warming on winter snow conditions through a “Keep Winter Cool” campaign.

“Global warming is a tough challenge, but we know how to fix it,” said Dr. Daniel Lashof, deputy director and chief scientist for the NRDC Climate Center, in a press release. “The problem is pollution from cars and power plants, which traps heat in the atmosphere. The answer is cleaner, smarter energy technologies that pollute less. The ski industry is calling attention to the threat and, more important, solutions that exist right now to fight global warming.”

In Summit County, snowriders can find out more about these solutions at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone Resort.

Arapahoe Basin is scheduled to host as many as 1,000 Boy Scouts Saturday, who will be earning snow sports merit badges while learning about the history of skiing and environmental best practices in a Leave No Trace program. A-Basin reduces its emissions by using biodiesel fuel mixed with petroleum fuel in snowcats. The 20 percent blend of biodiesel reduces carbon monoxide emissions by a fifth and particulate matter emissions by nearly a third, spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer said.

An NRDC representative will be on hand at Keystone Resort’s information center in River Run. The center is solar-powered and has a display promoting renewable energy use. Tents will be set up at various food and beverage locations throughout the resort; posters will offer information at the lift lines.

Keystone purchases about 16,500 kilowatt-hours of wind energy per month (the maximum amount) from cel Energy in support of renewable energy.

Ski-area visitors also can find information about renewable energy and global warming at Vail, Telluride and Aspen ski areas.

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