Page 2 of 3
In an email, Vail Resorts spokeswoman Kelly Ladyga told The Aspen Times that Katz's comment was not a direct response to the strategy of Aspen Skiing Co., nor to the latest warning contained in a study by two professors from the University of New Hampshire.
Maybe not, but it sure looked like it.
Like most ski area operators, both Aspen and Vail have undertaken efforts to reduce energy consumption. It's a simple matter of good business. If labour is the biggest expense at most resorts, energy to power ski lifts, light cafeterias, fuel snowmobiles and whatever else create giant bills. Both have also worked on renewable energy.
Aspen Skiing Co. was out of the chutes first: a small hydro system at Snowmass, solar panels here and there, and purchase of wind power — it has also worked to become more efficient. In its latest report, Aspen Skiing Co. says it has held carbon emissions flat between 2000 and 2011, despite company growth and revenue increases of 41 per cent.
Aspen's next report should be considerably more upbeat about its own efforts. Last year, the company funded a project elsewhere in Colorado that captures methane vented from a coalmine, generating electricity. That produces carbon dioxide, but then carbon dioxide is 21 times less powerful in trapping heat over a century's time than is methane.
Vail has also taken energy efficiency to heart. As Katz noted in his essay, the company has reduced its energy use 10 per cent and is gunning for a 20 per cent reduction. How these simple statics compare with Aspen's reductions is impossible to know.
In renewable energy, Vail has also explored options, including the possibility of a giant wind turbine atop Vail Mountain, as Massachusetts's Jiminy Peak did. But the idea was discarded, at least partly because of concerns about ice being flung from turbine blades.
Several years ago, Vail also very publicly announced its plans to invest in renewable energy credits for purchase of wind energy. The announcement, carefully orchestrated with all manner of politicians in attendance and coming at a time when interest in renewable energy was peaking, gleaned lavish headlines as far away as New York City. After a few years, however, the company quietly ended its commitment to wind. It instead invested in restoration of forests close to Denver burned in fires. Many had found fault with the strategy, doubting the realness of the wind. Despite what the company's website announced, Vail wasn't really powered by wind.
May 23, 2013, 5:02 AM
Locals frustrated by damage to village; police log 17 cases of mischief over one night More...
May 23, 2013, 5:01 AM
Task handed to EPI Committee for attention More...
May 23, 2013, 5:00 AM
Work to begin this summer in an effort to update hall, improve customer service More...