Powderhorn ranks first in environmental effort

Powderhorn Resort received the top grade among 20 Colorado ski resorts in the 2011 Ski Area Environmental Report Card.

The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition grades western U.S. ski resorts in the report card based on their environmental policies and practices, commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency, and efforts to protect endangered species and wetlands.

The report card gave Powderhorn an A for getting 89 percent of a possible 230 points awarded for various environmentally friendly actions. The Mesa-based resort edged Aspen Highlands Resort by nine-tenths of a percentage point for the top spot among Colorado ski areas.

Powderhorn came in second to California’s Squaw Valley USA in the national ranking. Squaw Valley had a score of 92.1 percent.

Powderhorn spokeswoman Tricia Tittle said the resort is humbled by the ranking. She said the new ownership at the resort, which sold at auction in August, can’t take full credit for the high score. But she said owners Andy Daly, Ken Gart and Tom Gart plan to make the list again.

“Anything we’re going to be doing will be green building, and we’re going to be a lot better about our recycling plan,” Tittle said.

The resort got high marks for recycling, sponsoring a bus from Grand Junction to the resort on weekends, purchasing renewable energy credits, and reducing its waste stream to landfills by 40 percent. It also received points for proposals in its 2003 Master Development Plan that suggested the resort build parking lots and ski terrain in areas already under development.

Powderhorn missed out on points it could have earned by using nondisposable items for food service, composting, tracking its annual water usage, providing incentives for car-pooling, using biodiesel fuel and generating renewable energy on-site.


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