Whistler-Blackcomb soars with Golden Eagle 

Industry award recognizes ‘consistent dedication to the environment’

Whistler-Blackcomb has been participating in the Golden Eagle Awards since Mountain Sports Media, the publishers of Ski and Skiing magazines, created them back in 1993.

Over the years Whistler-Blackcomb has won five Silver Eagle awards in several different environmental categories, but the main prize, the Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence, has eluded the company – until this year.

After being named as a finalist in four out of the seven environment categories, Whistler-Blackcomb was at last presented with the Golden Eagle Award at a ceremony in San Diego, California on May 29.

"The ski industry has a fundamental need to be a tireless protector of the environment, which is, after all its office," said presenter Kendall Hamilton, SKI’s editor-in-chief. "Whistler has been on the leading edge of environmental programs for years, developing creative and effective grassroots programs that yield meaningful results."

Whistler-Blackcomb’s Environmental Management System (EMS) was praised by the judges, as was the resort’s dedication to social and environmental sustainability.

"We were elated," said Arthur DeJong, the manager of mountain planning and environmental resources for Whistler-Blackcomb. "We’ve been working for over a decade to show environmental leadership in our industry, so it was a great feeling to go to the podium and receive the Goden Eagle."

DeJong attributed the win to the hard work of Whistler-Blackcomb environmental co-ordinator Allana Hamm, and to the level of support for EMS and sustainability "from every level of the company, from the grass roots employees to management."

He also credited the community of Whistler for being committed to solving social and environmental issues.

"At Whistler-Blackcomb we see this as an indicator that our environmental commitment, not just as a company, but as a resort, is evolving in the right direction," DeJong said. "We really want to get to a point where the community is a global inspiration. We like to win these awards, but the real reward will be the meaningful breakthroughs we make in sustainability."

Whistler-Blackcomb was a finalist in four Golden Eagle categories, Fish and Wildlife Habitat Protection, Education, Visual Impact and Stakeholder Relations. They have also been recognized in Waste Reduction and Recycling, and Energy Conservation categories in the past.

In their submission to the Golden Eagle judges, Whistler-Blackcomb called attention to its EMS program, which promotes environmental stewardship, and makes the environment a core value of the company.

Other highlights include:

• Awards from British Columbia Ethics in Action and the B.C. Tourism and Ocean Blues Foundation over the past two years.

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