Pursuing sustainability is our goal as part of an economic and social foundation at Alta Ski Area. A valid constant to any community is change, which reminds us of the work and balance needed between the environment, business, and its people. This year’s annual sustainability report updates readers, stakeholders, and patrons with a glimpse of changes happening at Alta and how the Alta Environmental Center (AEC) is working hard to include sustainability when addressing changes at Alta. Below is an overview of the sustainability report.
The AEC guides the ski area’s efforts internally while working with third-party entities to address changing needs in sustainability. One of AEC’s newest initiatives last season was preferred carpool parking. 25% of the Wildcat parking lot was reserved daily for preferred carpoolers with 3+ passengers. An additional initiative completed last winter was a 2-month pilot food waste program to divert food waste from the landfill to the Wasatch Resource Recovery food digester. Alf’s Restaurant, Albion Grill, Buckhorn kitchen, and Watson shelter contributed to this program. The result, 3.2 tons or 6,400 lbs. of waste diverted from the landfill.
The R.I.D. E. app is a new conservation initiative Alta will be a participant for this upcoming winter. The app gives skiers an additional solution for canyon travel over single-occupancy vehicles. All four cottonwood resorts will be participating this season. We are continuously looking to reduce Alta’s carbon footprint. We currently have two electric vehicle chargers, one in each base area parking lot. Alta has 98 solar panels that offset 83 tons of CO2 through October 2019, the equivalent of 2140 trees.
Back in our warmer months, summer visitation continues to pose an ever-increasing challenge in balancing natural resource protection and visitor use. The most significant improvement this summer was a reroute of the Albion Meadows trail connecting to the Catherine’s Pass trailhead. Over 1,469 trees were planted this summer on the mountain, and 39,324 trees have been planted at Alta since 1991 by volunteers and staff.
We are excited to announce our new AEC Director, Beth Yetter. Beth has been working in the environmental industry since 2009 and moved to Utah after finishing her graduate degree six years ago. Beth grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and has always had a love for the outdoors. Beth will be working closely with Jennifer Melton, the new AEC Outreach and Communications Coordinator, to ensure the incredible program build by the former AEC Director, Maura Olivos, continues. As the new AEC Director, Beth is committed to ensuring that Alta continues to operate sustainably and continues to be responsible stewards of the land.