Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Aspen Skiing shrinks its carbon footprint


By ALLEN BEST - MTN TOWN NEWS SERVICE

ASPEN (MTN)-- The Aspen Skiing Co. continues its efforts to shrink its carbon footprint.

The company's every-other-year sustainability report says its carbon footprint shrank 1.6 percent from 2006 to 2007. The tracking of the carbon emissions began in 1999, and even more substantial savings had occurred over that longer time span. The inventory tracks emissions per skier, the company's core business.

Still, the gains are minor compared with the broader challenge taken up by the company.

"If you look at the only metric that matters, our carbon footprint, we're not moving as fast as we'd like, or as the planet needs us to," said Mike Kaplan, the company's president and chief executive officer.

To that end, the company is looking at more ambitiously investing in renewable energy production, perhaps including a wind farm in Nebraska. As well, the company this week placed instruments atop the Snowmass Ski Area, to measure the potential for placement of major wind generators.

Aspen Skiing is also considering augmenting its small-scale hydroelectric production, which now occurs at one site at Snowmass, to creeks located at all four of its ski areas.

But the company has also been taking small and large steps to reduce consumption. For example, at the company's marquee base-area lodge, The Little Nell, swimming tool temperature was turned down from 102 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and with no complaints, reported the hotel's engineer, Mark Fitzgerald.

Snowmelt systems were turned down too. They usually ran around the clock at 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, they were turned down to 80 to 100 degrees, and even turned off entirely for seven days during a no-snow period.

With these and other changes, managers estimated savings of $16,000 in three months.




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