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National Lab’s Soot-Snow Cycle Study Unmasks Pollution’s Role in the Changing Climate

September 2nd, 2009 by skigreenguy | Comments Off | Filed in How to Ski Green
MeltingImpactsofSootOnSnowforSkiIndustry

Dirty air shortens the ski season

The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory finds that soot warms up the snow and the air above it by up to 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit, causing snow to melt. Soot from pollution causes winter snowpacks to warm, shrink and warm some more. The full report reveals regional changes to the snowpack caused by soot and finds doubling the dimming of the snow led to an approximate 50 percent increase in the snow surface temperature. The drop in snow accumulation, however, more than doubled in some areas.

Unfortunately for National Ski Areas Association members and service providers, the study did not address the measurement or impact of soot due to local vehicle traffic in mountain valley locations. Comparing cost impacts of local pollution levels on ski season length could help cost justify industry-wide transportation improvements.

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First Ski Resort to Report Verified GHG Emissions: Grand Targhee Resort

April 13th, 2009 by skigreenguy | 3 Comments | Filed in Policy & Social Change, Ski Industry Technology, Ski Resorts, United States
Grand Targhee: Verifiably Good

Grand Targhee: Verifiably Good

In an effort to accurately and comprehensively manage its emissions, Grand Targhee Resort elected to voluntarily report its emissions inventory with The Climate Registry, a voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting program.  According to a March 26 press release, Grand Targhee is very concerned about climate change and is “interested in opportunities to engage hundreds of thousands of winter sports enthusiasts each year through education and example.” Known for a reliable snow pack (500 inch annual snowfall), Grand Targhee certainly has a lot to protect.

The Climate Registry is a nonprofit collaboration among North American states, provinces, territories and Native Sovereign Nations that sets consistent and transparent standards to calculate, verify and publicly report greenhouse gas emissions into a single registry. Christina Thomure, Director of Sustainable Operations at Grand Targhee Resort reported that The Climate Registry’s protocol for measuring greenhouse gases “ensures a level of accuracy and transparency that far exceeds all other tools we evaluated.” Notably, the Registry requires annual third party verification and is widely viewed as the premier GHG registry in North America.

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Ski Resort Tries Large-Scale Renewable Energy

March 29th, 2009 by skigreenguy | Comments Off | Filed in Policy & Social Change, Ski Industry, Ski Resorts, United States
Jimmy Peak's "Zephyr" fulfills half of Jimmy Peak's electrical demand

Wind energy fulfills half of Jimmy Peak's electrical demand

The Associated Press reports a model of large-scale renewable energy production at Massachusetts’ Jimmy Peak Ski Resort. The installation of Jimmy’s 386-foot, $3.9 million turbine named “Zephyr” cut the resorts electricity costs by $200,000 last year — the first full year the turbine was operational. In contrast to simply buying renewable energy credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions, the turbine represents a green technology that can provide needed electrical power—and an immediate payoff. (more…)

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Climate Change Study: What Does the Future Hold for the Northwest?

February 20th, 2009 by skigreenguy | 1 Comment | Filed in How to Ski Green, Policy & Social Change, United States
Will Mount Baker always have the deepest snow on earth?

Will Mount Baker always have the deepest snow on earth?

What does climate change mean for the Northwestern portion of the United States? An in-depth report from the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington provides some grim answers to that question. Among the “highest confidence” predictions for this region include: warmer temperature throughout the year, decreased summer water supply, and increased probability of drought. Skier translation: more rain and less snow in the winter. But perhaps the most surprising finding is the speed of change. The authors point out significant impacts in just the next ten years: (more…)

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Global Attitudes Survey: People Rate Climate More Important Than Ecomony But Less Willing To Pay

December 5th, 2008 by skigreenguy | 1 Comment | Filed in How to Ski Green, Policy & Social Change, Ski Industry

Results of a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries were released last week that suggest that there is both growing public reluctance to make personal sacrifices and a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the major international efforts now underway to battle climate change. (more…)

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Keystone Announces Carpooling Incentive Program

December 4th, 2008 by skigreenguy | Comments Off | Filed in Ecotravel, Green Ski Transportation, How to Ski Green, Ski Resorts, Ski Vacations, United States

Keystone Resort announced last Wednesday a new carpool incentive program that encourages skiers and riders to drive together to the popular Colorado ski resort. Skiers and riders who arrive at Keystone Resort with four or more people in a car will be able to park in a premier parking section in Keystone’s Montezuma Parking Lot which is a short walk to the new River Run Gondola.

“As one of the closest major resorts to the Front Range, Keystone chose to develop a program that encourages carpooling among our guests to our Resort. This program will help alleviate congestion on I-70 and also help protect the environment,” said Pat Campbell, Chief Operating Office of Keystone Resort.

Demonstrating that sustainable alternatives can be more convenient than current solutions, the premier parking is available on a first-come, first served basis and will be open for guests everyday throughout the ski season. Keystone parking attendants will direct any car that meets these requirements to the close-in section. The carpool parking will be open during peak hours of the morning until 11 a.m. or the lot is full each day.

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Making it Convenient: Green Psychology and Human Behavior

November 17th, 2008 by skigreenguy | 2 Comments | Filed in Ecotravel, Green Ski Transportation, How to Ski Green, Policy & Social Change, Ski Vacations

Green Watch was a twitter project done by the La Marguerite, a blog focused on “behavioral solutions to global warming” as well as marketing its own consulting services. They make a couple of interesting points that seem relevant to skiing green:

1. We are addicted to convenience, even more than to things. Rather than fighting that addiction, we should focus on sustainable alternatives that are more convenient that current solutions.

Last year at Breckenridge, Colorado I used the Summit Stage bus system to get to the lift. If you’ve ever tried parking at Breck on a powder day at 8:30 am, you know that the bus is much faster and easier: hop on the bus, smile and nod at the other folks NOT scraping their windshields, and hop off at the lift. Better yet, the parking costs money but riding the bus is free. Green alternatives need to be both cleaner and more convenient than the technologies they replace. By the way, if you don’t want to pay for a condo in Breckenridge, check out CouchSurfing.com for a free place to stay (and it will probably be on the bus system too).

2. The switch from car to alternative low-energy modes of transportation requires that people experience first hand the superior benefits of those alternatives.

Over the last year I’ve tried to ride my bike for any trip less than five miles from my house. Once I got into the habit, I realized that biking took no more time than driving, avoided parking problems, got me talking with my neighbors more and cost me nothing. Best of all, the extra exercise will help me live longer. Benefits of bicycling—a small step in living green—need to be more than “understood,” they need to be experienced before they are real.

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Greenwashed! A Look Behind the Ski Industry’s Eco Promises

October 9th, 2008 by skigreenguy | 3 Comments | Filed in How to Ski Green, Ski Resorts, Ski Vacations, United States

The mainstream ski industry, true to character, is very good at taking your money. And if being green helps them take your green, that’s what they will do. You’ve seen the little card in hotels: “Re-use this towel to help stop global warming!” Right. Like if I reuse the towel then the impact of my flight across the country is forgiven? Hey, maybe I should recycle this plastic water bottle and go heliskiing! There’s a term for this clever repackaging of polluting ways: greenwashing.

Skiing and Consumption

Let’s face it: skiing is consumption. (more…)

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Consumers have green intentions, need business to lead

September 15th, 2008 by skigreenguy | 1 Comment | Filed in Ecotravel, Green Ski Transportation, How to Ski Green, Ski Resorts, Ski Vacations

Consumers want to act green, but they expect businesses to lead the way. According a Stanford University  global survey, 61 percent of consumers say that corporations should take the lead in tackling the issue of climate change. To do this, businesses need to develop more and better Earth-friendly products. (more…)

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