Program Highlights

A summary list of the company's environmental accomplishments — Aspen Skiing Company:

A bit of detail on each of these accomplishments:

  Coal Mine Methane: Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) recently partnered with the Elk Creek coal mine, Holy Cross Energy, and Vessels Coal Gas on a $5.5 million investment to capture waste methane vented from a coal mine in neighboring Somerset, Colorado to generate carbon negative electricity. The three megawatts of power generated from this project will produce as much energy as ASC uses annually -- approximately 24 million kilowatt hours. In addition, by destroying methane, a potent greenhouse gas, this project eliminates three times the carbon pollution created by the resort each year as well as garnering carbon offset benefits. Waste methane, and therefore electricity, will continue to be produced for at least 15 years, and possibly much longer, even after the mine has closed, estimated in 2014. This project is the only one of its scale in the United States. Watch a video about this one-of-a-kind project.

Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions: ASC developed a comprehensive energy plan to reduce energy use, cut greenhouse gas emissions and save money.  We seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25% by 2020 from 2000 levels and use legitimate offsetting approaches in order to ensure that all electricity, natural gas and fuel consumed will be carbon neutral by 2020. To accomplish these goals we will:
  • Distribute graphs detailing energy use in specific facilities over time to allow managers to understand the energy impacts of their actions.
  • Develop an incentive program to reduce consumption.
  • Undertake extensive efforts to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, a key area we can influence.
  • Develop a companywide focus on energy reduction.
  • Identify opportunities to invest in large scale renewable energy to reduce the carbon intensity of our electricity use.
  • Implement operational changes in snowmaking and grooming that reduce energy use.

Supporting Renewable Energy:  Starting in 1997, Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) pioneered ski industry purchases of wind power, when we ran the Cirque lift on 100% wind power. From 2006 to 2008 ASC purchased renewable energy credits equivalent to our electricity use. When we initiated this purchase we were the largest purchaser of these credits in the ski industry. We discontinued these purchases to focus our efforts on conservation and the development of local and regional renewable energy projects.

We teamed up with the Forest Service and Leitner-Poma to install a wind speed testing tower in Snowmass to explore the potential for wind energy development.  This tower contains four anemometers and is installed at the top of the Cirque. After analyzing wind patterns and returns on investment versus construction impacts on the alpine tundra we've decided not to pursue this project. 

We also installed two water source heat pumps, providing heating and cooling for the LEED-Silver Snowmass Club Golf Clubhouse and the Snowmass Club's Countryside and Sanctuary private residence club's. Due to this installation the Golf Clubhouse experienced at 60+% reduction in utility usage. These buildings were sold as part of the Snowmass Club divestiture in March 2014.

Solar Power:   On July 1, 2008, ASC celebrated the installation of a 147 kW solar array at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) in Carbondale, Colo. The 147kW system sits on one half acre of ranchland owned by the high school and is the largest solar electric installation in western Colorado. The array is currently powering the school's science building and feeds excess energy into the town of Carbondale's power grid. Annually, it will produce 200,000 kWh (enough power for 20 average American homes) and keep 400,000 lbs of carbon dioxide out of the air. 

In addition to this array ASC operates:

  • a 10.6 kW array at Thunder River Lodge, an employee housing complex;
  • a 5.0 kW array at The Little Nell providing electricity for the 2,500 square foot Paepke Suite;
  • a 4.3 kW array at the LEED-Silver certified Snowmass Golf Clubhouse;
  • a 2.03 kW array at the LEED certified Sundeck; and
  • a 2.3 kW array at Aspen Highlands Patrol Headquarters.

 Greentrack Logo ISO 14001 and GREENTRACK:  In 2004, ASC became the first ski resort in the United States to achieve ISO 14001 certification — the most widely known and respected third-party certification, which demonstrates responsible management of environmental effects. For ten years Aspen Skiing Company maintained ISO 14001 Certification, a third-party assessment of our environmental performance. We discontinued the audits in 2014, and therefore the certification, because the investment of time and money was no longer justified. We’ll continue to run the core of ISO, our Environmental Management System, in-house, focusing on measuring progress in key areas, including energy use (carbon emissions), political activism, volunteerism and philanthropy. ASC’s environmental program will continue to be called GREENTRACK. Learn more about GREENTRACK.

Environment Foundation:  Over half the company's employees are members of the Environment Foundation. Through the foundation, they donate a dollar (or more) per week from their paycheck, which is matched by ASC, the Aspen Community Foundation and Swire Coca-Cola. All funds — almost $2.7  million in eighteen years — support environmental projects in the communities in which employees live, well beyond Aspen. The board of directors of this independent nonprofit is entirely comprised of employees. Recently, other resorts, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain and Steamboat, established similar foundations.

Corporate Volunteer Policy: Full-time, year-round employees can take up to 16 hours of paid time off to volunteer in the community. This program has the potential to generate 15,500 hours of service and over $330,000 in wages donated to support the community. We are working towards ensuring 25% of the volunteers hours made available to our employees are used by 2017, that's 3,875 hours. In 2014, employees volunteered 1,600 hours.

LEED Certification: ASC developed the first set of green building guidelines in the ski industry. It participated in the creation of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program (LEED) ( It built one of the first 11 LEED certified buildings in the world—the Sundeck Restaurant on Aspen Mountain (additional fact sheet), then built a second, the Snowmass Golf Clubhouse, which received a ranking of LEED Silver and was recently sold. We've now added the LEED Gold certified Sam's Smokehouse and LEED Platinum certified Holiday House Employee Housing Project. The Restaurant at Elk Camp is currently undergoing LEED certification. Many other new buildings are now green as well:
  Save Snow Campaign: Launched in the fall of 2006, the Save Snow campaign featured a series three full page ads that ran as part of Aspen Skiing Company's winter advertising campaign. In 2007 new ads were produced featuring local athletes. In 2008 ads featured ASC employees doing their jobs in sustainable ways.

These ads were an integral part of ASC's overall marketing strategy and sought to create heightened awareness of climate impacts on the snow sports industry while encouraging guests to take action.

  Amicus Brief: In August of 2006, ASC filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of MA v. EPA arguing that the EPA needs to regulate carbon dioxide pollution and has the authority to do so under the Clean Air Act.  In April 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Massachusetts, whose position our brief supported. At the time of this ruling Auden Schendler, ASC's Vice President for Sustainability, also testified in Congress on the threats climate change poses to the ski industry.

Micro Hydro: To further reduce its CO2 emissions ASC developed a 115 KW micro-hydroelectric plant on Snowmass Mountain.  Using water from a snowmaking pond, it generates 150,000 kWh annually, preventing the emission of 300,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. 

March_2013_Uniforms Uniform Donations: After four years of use Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) uniforms just don't look that good on our staff, but they are still warm. Rather than deposit the old uniforms in the landfill ASC has shipped these uniforms to needy communities throughout Eastern Europe, Serbia, Kosovo and Hungary. Most recently, 40 pallets of old uniforms were shipped.

Pictured is a group of high school students wearing some of our most recent donations. These clothes were donated to a school for use by all students, who ski one week a year and they may not have ski clothes.

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies: It is our goal to foster an environmental ethic and ecological awareness among all Aspen Skiing Company employees, ski/snowboard area guests, and the surrounding communities to create strategic alliances and collaborate with local and regional environmental organizations, and to help establish the Aspen Skiing Company as a recognized leader in environmental operations and external advocacy within the market, industry and community. To this end, Aspen Skiing Company offers a variety of on-mountain educational programs for guests at all of our resorts. By teaming with the excellent staff of naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), through a partnership with the Forest Service and the Department of Wildlife, we are able to engage and inform guests of all ages on the wonders of our local environment year round.

 TLN_Waygu_Beef Fine Dining That's Good for the Earth: Both Ajax Tavern and element 47, in addition to all room service items and catered food at all Little Nell events, serve locally-sourced agriculture, beef and pork, all natural and hormone-free meats, and cage-free, all natural eggs. Element 47's Executive Chef Bryan Moscatello brings sustainability to the plate every night. He eliminated all commercial beef, using grass-fed Milagro Ranch beef from Carbondale and Wagyu beef from Emma Farms instead. Niman Ranch now supplies Ajax tavern with 2500 pounds of lamb ribs annually in addition to a variety of other pork & lamb products. Eighty percent of element 47's summer produce comes from local farms, and they buy 15% of their winter produce locally. You may even see Executive Chef Moscatello picking ingredients directly from The Little Nell's organic vegetable garden each day. The Little Nell spends over $1 million on local food each year. These purchasing decisions are major contributions to the local economy.
 Chickens on the Rotisserie Low Impact On Mountain Dining: In addition to operating our on-mountain restaurants efficiently, we’ve spent over $3.9 million since 2006 purchasing locally raised meat, produce and beverages. We currently purchase food and beverage products from Crystal River Meats, Eagle Springs Organics, Avalanche Cheese, Louis Swiss Pastry, and many other local farms during the growing season. We also purchase Woody Creek Vodka, Stranahan’s Whiskey, and Leopold Brothers Gin and Spirits.

Every bit of ground beef served in ASC facility is Colorado raised, hormone and antibiotic free and grass fed. In 2013/2014 we’ve spent more than $260,000 purchasing 45,000 pounds of local beef.  

At Elk Camp every organic chicken we serve is born and raised in Colorado. We find great value in helping small scale ranchers and farmers make a living from the land, a byproduct of which is a strengthened community by keeping our dollars in the Roaring Fork Valley.

In addition to efforts to buy local we’ve made significant strides to expand the number of locations composting food waste.  What started out as a trial run spear-headed by Henrietta Oliver at Bumps has expanded to the Cliffhouse, Two Creeks, Merry-Go-Round, Ullrhof, Elk Camp Restaurant and Sam's Smokehouse. These efforts mean only 1/5 of our trash goes to the landfill at these facilities.  

 Limelight at duskBicycle Friendly Business Bronze Seal


Lightening Their Ecological Footprint: The Limelight Hotel is a TripAdvisor rated gold-level GreenLeader, Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association's 2014 Greenkeeper Award winner and a League of American Bicyclists' bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business. The Limelight Hotel constantly strives to be as eco-conscious and efficient as possible. Energy reductions can be seen from their underground garage to their lighting and nearly every area in between. All inefficient halogen lighting has been replaced with compact fluorescents and LED lamps. Water usage is reduced through their linen reuse program and high efficiency toilets and showers that minimize water use to only 1.4 gallons or 2.5 gallons per minute. Speaking of showers, the Limelight uses refilliable soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion in all rooms producing zero waste. Heat in the parking garage is provided by two pumps that redirect the rejected heat produced by their water cooling system. In the bar, corks are collected and sent to Re Cork where they become footbeds for Sole sandals. These are only a few examples of the green decisions that the Limelight incorporates in their business practices, learn more.


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