As Published in VTDigger MAY 23, 2019. By John Bleh – Warren, VT (May 23rd, 2019) – Sugarbush Resort received two awards from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) this season in recognition of their environmental initiatives.
The Climate Change Impact Award is part of The Golden Eagle Awards for Environmental Excellence, the highest honors bestowed on a resort for environmental performance, originally established in 1993. Sugarbush received their award thanks to a number of environmental initiatives they’ve undertaken in the last several years. The resort had initially sought to reduce energy use and carbon emissions through energy efficiency opportunities including site and building lighting, snowmaking, lifts, kitchens, heat plants, building envelops, and efficient new construction. Additionally, the resort partnered with a local solar developer, Green Lantern Solar, to invest and support the development of 2.5 megawatts of solar energy for the electric grid. That’s more than enough energy to power Mt. Ellen, one of Sugarbush’s two mountains, annually.
Overall, the resort reduced MTCO2 emissions by 24.4% since 2014 – a total of that adds up to a little over 1,000 tons. The reduction was possible largely in part to their more efficient energy consumption, as they reduced electricity emissions by 51.5% over that period.
“The credit for this goes to our entire team for the multiple initiatives we have taken in recent years,” said Win Smith, Owner and President of Sugarbush. “While we’re proud of everything we’ve done so far, we recognize there’s still a long road ahead for us all to successfully combat climate change.”
Sugarbush also received a Sustainable Slopes Grant of $5,000 from NSAA towards the installation of Level 2 electric vehicle (EV) chargers at Mt. Ellen and the Sugarbush Inn. These additional chargers will supplement the EV chargers already available at Lincoln Peak. Since 2009, the Sustainable Slopes Grant Program has awarded over half a million dollars in support of resort sustainability projects.
The resort also continues to find other ways to focus on the environment. Sugarbush recently became a member of Protect Our Winters, who focuses on educational, activist, and advocacy initiatives for the environment. Additionally, one of Sugarbush’s slopeside restaurants, Rumble’s Kitchen, is a member of 1% For the Planet, where they donate 1% of their revenues to the sustainability program of their choice. Sugarbush commits with a number of other programs as well including clean water, biodiesel, , waste disposal and recycling, public transportation, green housekeeping, and creating a Safety/Environmental/Wellness Committee that focuses on creating environmental quality enhancements for its guests and employees.
The resort also recently hosted two environmental events. Earlier this month, Sugarbush employees gathered for their own “Resort Green Up Day”, collecting 84 bags of trash and 42 bags of recycling around the resort and surrounding areas. They also hosted their first Earth Day event in April, partnering with the U.S. Forest Service, Efficiency VT, and Friends of the Mad River to educate guests on the work they’re doing, as well as partnering with Grow Compost to donate soil for kids and adults to plant seeds.