Vail Resorts Makes Strides in Climate Action

TTCF is happy to share the letter below from Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. As communities in the western United States face the profound and frightening impacts of climate change, we are grateful to Vail Resorts who has made their Commitment to Zero (emissions) a top priority.

Vail Resorts serves the communities of their many mountain resorts by through collaborative efforts with local leaders and making annual grants to local nonprofits. In 2018 alone, Vail awarded $11.4 million in grants (they awarded their grants in Tahoe Truckee the same day as they made the announcement below). TTCF is grateful for the visionary leadership of Vail Resorts and Northstar California.

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A letter from Rob Katz, Vail Resorts CEO

It’s been just over a year since we announced our Commitment to Zero: our ambitious set of goals to protect and preserve the majestic natural landscapes and passionate communities where we live, work and play. Today, I’m thrilled to share with you some significant steps we’ve taken in our journey to Zero, including a major wind energy agreement and a plan to eliminate conventional single-use dining plastics, as a part of our first annual EpicPromise Progress Report.

For starters, to help us achieve our zero net emissions by 2030 goal, I’m excited to announce a multimillion-dollar wind energy contract to purchase the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 100 percent of our estimated FY 2019 North American operations.

What does that mean, exactly? Vail Resorts is enabling the development of a new wind farm, the Plum Creek Wind Project, which is expected to be completed in 2020. Our purchase of 310,000 megawatt hours (MWh) annually is enough wind energy to reduce the emissions associated with the Company’s estimated North American electricity use by 100 percent, which includes the recent acquisitions of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Stevens Pass Resort, Okemo Mountain Resort, and Mount Sunapee Resort. For context, that is also the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 30,000 average U.S. homes each year.

While we continue to find ways to source renewable energy where we operate, and continue to invest millions in energy-efficiency projects across our resorts, this first-of-its-kind agreement allows Vail Resorts to make a measurable impact on climate change – and its effect on the planet – within just a few years.

Meanwhile, we’re also making progress on our zero waste to landfill goal. I’m excited to share that we’ve named Eco-Products our “Official Zero Waste Partner” to help us eliminate single-use, guest-facing conventional plastic products, such as cups, straws, beverage lids, plates, bowls and cutlery, from our North American restaurants, and replace them with compostable or recycled-content products. This process will begin this year and is expected to divert nearly 300 tons of waste from landfills over the next two winter seasons. We’re also expanding the “Smart Straw” initiative started by our F&B teams last year, where only compostable straws will be available, and only by request.

While these announcements are major steps in our journey to Zero, it’s the local and grassroots efforts that are really inspiring. From Whistler Blackcomb, which paved the way for “Commitment to Zero” with its innovative approach to sustainability, to new waste diversion and composting programs at Park City and Keystone – you all play a role in creating a brighter future for generations to come.

Thank you to everyone who has worked, and continues working tirelessly, on these efforts. I encourage you to read about the fantastic work happening across our Company in our inaugural 2018 EpicPromise Progress Report that was published today. Our goal is to transparently report on our progress in protecting and preserving the environment, as well as our commitment to our communities and employees – I hope it inspires you to get involved where you can.