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Sustainable Slopes Day ends

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SUMMIT COUNTY – A day that ski areas across the country have devoted to the environment for the past five years is canceled, but efforts to inform skiers of the effects of global warming on the ski industry remain alive.The National Ski Areas Association’s (NSAA) environmental committee recently opted out of Sustainable Slopes Day in order to allow individual ski resorts room to highlight environmental issues at their discretion, and to raise visibility throughout the winter, said NSAA director of public policy Geraldine Link.”I think the Sustainable Slopes Day had run its course after five years,” Link said. “To me, I don’t view it as a loss of something on that day, I view it as a more creative way to deliver the message season-long.”The day historically took place in late February, and focused on raising awareness among skiers and snowboarders about things like how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help preserve the future of ski areas and the benefits of using renewable energy resources.

Although Sustainable Slopes Day is not part of the NSAA’s environmental charter anymore, the association is far from out of the environmental equation.It will continue with its “Keep Winter Cool” campaign, which it created in 2003 with the National Resource Defense Council, Link said.The campaign aims to get people thinking about global warming and urges them to take action by incorporating energy-saving methods into their lives, carpooling and buying wind certificates to support wind energy.The NSAA will also send outreach materials to ski areas for circulation, produce and air public service announcements about global warming and encourage ski areas to sell green tags or cool tags, Link said.

Guests can buy the tags for $2 to signify the purchase of enough green energy credits to offset the emissions they used for a day’s worth of travel to and from the resort.Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, which employs many environmentally-friendly policies and has participated in Sustainable Slopes Day in the past, will persist with its efforts despite the NSAA change.The ski area has plans for a Climate Awareness Day on Feb. 11, when it will offer giveaways for guests and invite groups, such as Summit Recycling Group and the company the mountain buys wind energy from, to set up booths at the mountain for the day, said ski area spokesperson Leigh Heirholzer.”It’s similar to what we’ve done in the past, it’s just named something new and we’re doing it on our own,” Heirholzer said.



The mountain will also offer extra discounts on lift tickets for Climate Club card members on that day, Heirholzer said.The Climate Club program is similar to the green tags and cool tags in that consumers are buying reusable energy to replace nonreusable energy, such as coal burning.Club members always receive small discounts on lift tickets and beverages, but the rewards will be steeper on Climate Awareness Day as well as on Earth Day, Heirholzer said.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com.


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