Aspen Skiing Company has led the industry in reducing its environmental impact since 1997. Our priority: cut our carbon footprint.

To us, “going green” is about more than just our corporate conscious. It makes excellent business sense to.

Here are the ways that we have fine-tuned our operations at Aspen Skiing Company to make the company more green through better use of GREEN POWER, better ENERGY EFFICIENCY and the adoption of ECO BEST PRACTICES.

For more detail about our environmental efforts, visit our SUSTAINABILITY REPORTS.

Green Power

Green Power

Capturing Coal Methane to Power Operations

Aspen Skiing Company 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 Aspen Skiing Company 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.

Other Green Power Sources

Solar Power

On July 1, 2008, Aspen Skiing Company 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 Aspen Skiing Company operates:

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

Snowmass Power Plant

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.

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 a more than 60% reduction in utility usage. These buildings were sold as part of the Snowmass Club divestiture in March 2014.

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency

Reducing Carbon Dioxide

Aspen Skiing Company seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 25% by 2020 from 2000 levels through increased use of renewables, development of low-carbon generating projects and implementation of energy-efficiency projects like The Little Nell's boiler retrofit project completed in 2011.

Aspen Skiing Company has developed a comprehensive energy plan to meet this goal, including:
  • 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.

LEED Certification

Aspen Skiing Company developed the first set of green buildings in the ski industry. We participated in the creation of the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership Energy and Environmental Design Program, known as LEED.

As a result, we built one of the first 11 LEED-certified buildings in the world — the Sundeck Restaurant atop Aspen Mountain. (View an additional fact sheet on this building).

Then, we built a second, the Clubhouse at the Snowmass Club, 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 Elk Camp Restaurant is currently undergoing LEED certification.

Many other new buildings are now green as well:


In 2004, Aspen Skiing Company 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 10 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.

Eco Best Practices

Eco Best Practices

Dining Best Practices

Fine Dining That's Good for the Earth

Sustainability comes to the plate every night at Ajax Tavern and element 47, through service items and at catered Little Nell events. Beef is primarily supplied Brandt Beef (all-natural, family owned and operated since 1945) from Brawley CA, and Lone Mountain Wagyu raised by the Estrin family in Golden, New Mexico. Chickens are supplied by Boulder Natural Meats. Eggs are from Dayspring in Olathe and Razors Roost in Austin. Our fish is selected based on the Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch approved Best Choice sources. Seventy-five percent of the produce served comes from Colorado. You may even see culinary staff picking ingredients directly from The Little Nell's organic garden each day. In 2016 we established The Little Nell Gardens at Emma Farms in Basalt, CO where we produce arugula, kale, chard, cucumbers, beets, scallions, radishes, baby leeks, broccoli, pickling cucumbers, and herbs. These items and many others are featured on element 47's constantly-changing indulgence menu. Additional produce is supplied by Rain Crow Farms in Paonia, Thistle Whistle in Hotchkiss, and Rendezvous Farms in Crawford. The Little Nell spends over $200,000 on local food each year. These purchasing decisions are major contributions to the local economy.

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 locally from Milagro Beef,Crystal River Meats,Boulder Natural Meats,Avalanche Cheese,Louis Swiss Pastry,Colorado Proud label,Rock Bottom Ranch,Jackson’s Honest Chips,Zimmerman Pork Farm – Berkshire Whole Pig,Colorado Catch,Rocking W Milk and Cheese,Razor’s Roost,We Gotta Farm,Desert Weyr,Dayspring Eggs,Osito Organic Orchards,Roger’s Mesa Fruit,South River Aquaponics,Rendezvous Organic Farm,Twisted Root,Rain Crow Farm,Mattic’s Orchard,Abundant Life Organic Farm,The Living Farm,Rivendell Farms, andThistle Whistle Farm. We also purchase Woody Creek Distillers, Stranahan’s Whiskey, Aspen Breweryand Leopold Brothers Gin and Spirits.

All on-mountain locations purchase ground beef that is Colorado raised, hormone and antibiotic free and grass fed. In 2013/2014 we 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 Cliffhouse, Two Creeks Café, Merry-Go-Round, Ullrhof, Elk Camp and Sam's Smokehouse. These efforts mean only 1/5 of our trash goes to the landfill at these facilities.

Limelight Hotel

Limelight Hotel Exterior Winter

The Limelight Hotel Aspen 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. We 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 Hotel Aspen uses refillable 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 Hotel Aspen incorporates in their business practices, learn more.

Opening in the winter of 2016, The Limelight Hotel Ketchum will be a LEED certified hotel. Like The Limelight Hotel Aspen our Ketchum, ID property will strive to reduce their impact in many of the sames ways as our Aspen property. Stay tuned for additional information about the sustainability practices of the hotel and green design features of the building.

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.

The Environment Foundation

Enviro Foundation
Enviro Foundation

Over half Aspen Skiing 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 Lavazza. All funds — almost $3 million in 19 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.

Learn more about the Environment Foundation.

Corporate Volunteer Policy

Corporate volunteer policy
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 more than $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 would be 3,875 hours. In 2014, employees volunteered 1,600 hours.

Learn more about our volunteer policy.


Aspen Skiing Company is proud to be one of WE­-cycle's Founding Partners. Aspen should be a laboratory for change and should try new things. As the country’s first rural, mountain resort community bike share system, WE­‐cycle gives Aspen an opportunity to remain a leader among resort communities and become a pioneer in the field of alternative transit. At 1 pound of CO2 saved for every mile pedaled rather than driven, WE­‐cycle will help reduce Aspen’s carbon footprint.

Uniform Donations

Aspen Skiing Company uniform donations in Serbia
Aspen Skiing Company uniform donations in Serbia

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.

Protect Our Winters (POW)

Protect Our Winters on Aspen Snowmass sleeve
POW on Sleeve

Aspen Skiing Company has been an avid supporter of the Protect Our Winters campaign, with our Vice President of Sustainability, Auden Schendler, serving as the current Board Chairman. Together as an industry, we have helped create a movement to lobby Congress to take action on climate change.

We are so committed to Protect Our Winters that every Aspen Snowmass uniform includes the POW logo on the sleeve, in an effort to raise awareness with our guests and demonstrate our values.

Learn more about Protect Our Winters.

Save Snow Campaign

Big time powder day at Aspen Snowmass
Big time powder day at Aspen Snowmass

Launched in the fall of 2006, the Save Snow campaign featured a series of 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.

Million Gallon Man

Elk Camp Restaurant in summer
Elk Camp Restaurant

Processing drinking water costs money to make and costs money to pump. So, since 75% of the water goes down the toilets, why not send raw water to the toilets. The mountain water is clean, just not suitable to drink. So, when we built the new Elk Camp restaurant, we ran a raw water line to feed all of the flush toilets in the restaurant. The reservoir that holds this water is above the Meadows chair on Snowmass. The elevation change from the reservoir to the restaurant is 185ft which means 80psi at the building — plenty of pressure to run all the toilets and no energy costs or money spent on processing water.

Facilities Management Co-Director Brad Hardman has been working on mountain water supply for years. Through a combination of leak repair, telemetry systems that allow him to monitor pump stations and storage tanks, toilet replacements, waterless urinals, and an extensive maintenance program repairing and replacing dripping faucets at mountain restaurants, he has saved literally millions of gallons of treated drinking water. This also means he has saved energy on pumping.

Before 2010, the Sundeck restaurant used 2.2 to 2.7 million gallons each year. Now it uses 1.2 million gallons. The Cliffhouse restaurant on Buttermilk used to average 160,000 per year, and now uses only 103,000. And that is just the tip of the iceberg: Brad can rattle off hundreds of thousands of gallons of savings in other facilities. His typically dry, understated comment on all this: “I’m pretty happy with the results.”

Repurposed Success

drag line
drag line

Greg Hoffman, Snowmass’s Lift Maintenance Director had 8,000 feet of 1 1/4-inch lift cable that the mountain operations team no longer needed. He also had a big question: What to do with it?

Metal recycling was an option but he knew there might be a higher, better use. With the help of Denver based repurposedMATERIALS the spool of cable was sold to Mark in Wisconsin who is "repurposing" the cable on his drag line. In the process Mark saved about 80% over buying new ... and Snowmass’s junk became another man’s treasure.