Although Aspen owner SkiCo’s recent consolidation of some of North Americas biggest ski resorts puts them in direct competition with Vail Resorts, there are at least some things they can still work together on, reports aspentimes.com.
Vail’s recent ‘Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint’ has been applauded by Auden Schendler, vice president of sustainability for Aspen Skiing Co., claiming it as ‘a major commitment to clean energy’ by Vail. A climate activist, Schendler has long urged his ski resort colleagues that sustainability must include political activism in addition to new lightbulbs, better recycling and green marketing. Vail Resorts has vowed for the first time to engage in lobbying for government policy.
Already known as the world’s greenest ski resort operator, Aspen have been guiding their efforts down the clean energy, zero waste path for many years. Schendler views Vail’s initiative as a great opportunity for the two giants of the ski industry to work together for the benefit of the environment, rather than being another area for them to compete in. And although the two companies already co-operate on some environmental issues, their efforts will now be ramped up. He anticipates representatives of the two companies will soon be liaising with Holy Cross Energy on ways they can increase the amount of renewable energy in the power provider’s portfolio.
Regarding Aspen, and Vail’s, environmental commitments, Schendler said:
This is major statement for our industry and it’s really important. They are approaching clean energy in a real way that will likely make a difference by looking at buying power from new energy projects. But the thing that is by far the most critical action they are taking, they are getting more political. We are going to work with them and support them … and they are going to help us too.
In an ideal world, Schendler would like Aspen, Vail and other entities committing to Holy Cross Electric, to buy a substantial amount of power at a fixed rate over the next 20 years. That would benefit the resort operators, as any uncertainty over power rates would be removed, but would also give Holy Cross Energy the confidence to move ahead with additional renewable energy.
Holy Cross Energy, who reports 36% of its power in 2016 came from renewable sources, are a not-for-profit, member owned, electric co-operative who supply Western Colorado, and their mission statement reads:
Holy Cross Energy is committed to providing its members with the best possible services at a reasonable and competitive cost consistent with sound business and environmental practices.
As the U.S. federal government backs off efforts to address climate change or promoting renewable energy, more companies like Vail Resorts and local governments are taking up the charge, with a promise to reduce energy use and limit impacts. Schendler added:
This is what we hoped to see throughout the ski industry.