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Aspen Aims To Be Carbon Neutral, Mulls Tough Choices

aspen.jpgIn its quest to be greener, The Aspen Skiing Company is asking some tough questions in its question to be green. “Should it begin the ski season later?” “Should it can some high-profile events such as World Cup racing?”

Aspen’s new energy plan calls on the company to offset all the carbon dioxide it produces through its operations by 2020 by eliminating waste and tapping heavily into renewable resources, according to a report in Vail Daily.

While a report by Auden Schendler and Matt Hamilton, of Aspen Skiing Co.’s environmental department, suggests that Aspen management make some big decisions on operations and energy use, the company won’t move its opening day anytime soon. “We can’t necessarily stop what we’re doing. We have to fix what we’re doing,” Schendler said.

A key to Aspen’s energy plan is to reduce its consumption by 10 percent of its 2000 levels and reduce usage 25 percent below the 2000 level by 2020.

With energy costs on the rise, the company is planning microhydroelectic plants at streams at each of its ski areas, a wind turbine at Snowmass, and the long-term purchase of power from a wind farm.

Schendler said Aspen’s energy plan will include carbon offsets as a last resort.

Last year, in a Business Week article, Schendler said that despite all his exertions, the resort’s greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise. “I’ve succeeded in doing a lot of sexy projects yet utterly failed in what I set out to do….How do you really green your company? It’s almost f—— impossible.”

In 2006, Aspen Skiing Company partnered with the Bonneville Environmental Foundation to sell Green-e certified SkiGreen Tags to resort guests who wished to offset their travel-related emissions to and from the resort with wind energy.

Powdr Corp., which owns and operates seven ski and snowboard resorts including Park City Mountain Resort and Killington Resort, recently said it will offset 100 percent of the grid supplied electricity consumed at its seven ski and snowboard resorts and one tubing park through the purchase of renewable energy credits.

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