Eldora Mountain outside of Boulder, Colorado publicized a number of new and continuing environmental initiatives earlier in December, only to face criticism about part of their plan. Included in the press release: A priority parking scheme for carpooling with 3 or more people per vehicle; Free bus passes on some weekends from Boulder; Environmentally friendly trail-maps; and a commitment to 100% renewable energy sources by 2025.
They ran into trouble with part of the plan after initially touting a $20 dollar parking fee on weekends and holiday periods as a way to reduce traffic and encourage carpooling (3 or more per car would park for free). A few days later, Eldora was forced to retract that part of the plan and assure mountain users that parking would remain free after public outcry over the fee. In part, the negative press stemmed from the short notice that the mountain gave to skiers and boarders. The original announcement came in early December after the season had already begun. This left local Icon Pass holders upset that they would be paying potentially hundreds of dollars more per season to park and ski.
Understandably, the imposition of a sudden and hefty parking fee left many people thinking the resort just wanted to make a few extra dollars and get 3 paying customers instead of just one or two local skiers up to the hill. In Eldora’s retraction statement, it says: “The resort is putting out a call to action for guests to take personal steps to keep Eldora accessible to as many people as possible, and address congestion and emissions by carpooling or taking RTD to the mountain. Boulder guests are also encouraged use the 2,000-plus free weekend parking spots in City of Boulder lots and garages to facilitate carpooling.” The push to reduce traffic and encourage carpooling at Eldora is not new. Last season, the resort encouraged carpooling and the use of Boulder’s RTD bus route by holding a Head ski giveaway last January.
Powdr Corp., the parent company that operates Eldora, has a good track record of environmentally-friendly initiatives. In 2013, Powdr Corp received a Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mountains in Powdr’s portfolio have been recipients of the National Ski Area Association’s Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Initiative. Boreal, a Powdr affiliate in Tahoe, was 1 of 3 yearly named to the NSAA list for the 2017 installation of the largest solar energy system of any resort in California. Eldora’s General Manager Brent Tragaskis states that for the future: “We are working closely with the County to increase our parking capacity, reduce traffic, and lower emissions, but we aren’t there yet. Given that we are rescinding our paid-parking proposal at this time, we need our guests to speak as loudly with their actions as they have with their words.”