Our Reduction Strategy
Reducing Vail Resorts’ electricity and natural gas consumption by another 15% is a core component of our Zero Net Emissions by 2030 goal. Accomplishing this goal will require tightening our operations and investing $25M in energy-saving projects throughout our key business areas.
This is not our first energy reduction goal. In 2008, we made a commitment to improve our energy efficiency by 10%. Just a few years later, we reached that Target 10 goal and we kept on going. The Next 10 was our ongoing commitment to improve by another 10%. We’ve achieved a 9% improvement and anticipate reaching the Next 10 in the near future.
Reaching our previous goals and our new 15% reduction goal requires focusing on our major energy-consuming areas:
Snowmaking – Consisting of snow guns, water pumps and air compressors, our snowmaking systems represent 30% of electrical energy consumption at our resorts and are one of our areas of focus.
- Snowguns- As technology improves, we continually improve our systems by replacing conventional snowguns with guns that require significantly less compressed air. To date, 40% of the snowguns across our resorts are Low Energy models.
- Compressed Air- Across the resorts, we are continually improving our compressed air systems, which are critical to our operations. A recent example of this was replacing 15 aging, very inefficient compressors at Vail and Beaver Creek, with two new, highly efficient compressors. This project resulted in dramatic increases in efficiency at both mountains and has seen a large reduction in our electricity consumption during snowmaking periods.
- Pumping- By utilizing variable speed drives on our water distribution system, we are able to maintain only the necessary pressure needed to make snow based on current conditions. This allows us to reduce the electricity used for pumping water during the snowmaking season.
Buildings & Lifts- With our large portfolio of lifts, on-mountain facilities, base facilities and hotels, the accompanying energy usage will continue to be reduced through operational and capital means.
- Green Construction- We continue to improve our development and building protocols to align with green building standards. Heavenly’s Tamarack Lodge was recently built to and certified LEED, and subsequent identical lodges have been built to the same standard.
- Lighting- We have undertaken significant LED lighting replacements across all of our resorts. In Colorado, , Vail and Beaver Creek are ahead of the curve:
- Vail: The Vail Mountain Services team has been hard at work over the last four years to continue our investment in LED lighting. Retrofits have been completed at Mid Vail, Game Creek, Golden Peak Children’s Center, Two Elk and Eagle’s Nest. LED high bay lights have been installed at many lift terminals, as well as in parking garages and loading docks in base areas. Our fleet and snowmaking facilities, and employee locker rooms have been retrofitted as well.
- Beaver Creek: At Beano’s, Zach’s Cabin, Allies Cabin, The Ranch, and Spruce Saddle the majority of lighting has been switched to LED over the last three years. Beaver Creek’s fleet shop and ski patrol headquarters have also been retrofitted.
- Controls- Key building systems from snowmelt to HVAC are controlled in order to reduce electricity and natural gas consumption. Whistler Blackcomb recently upgraded controls and optimized operating schedules in their Roundhouse, Rendezvous, and Glacier lodges – changes that will reduce the resort’s resort energy usage by 2%.
- Lifts- Highly efficient drives along with controls for terminal heating and lighting help our lifts use less electricity.
Transportation- Whether it is employee commuting or guest travel, we recognize the opportunity to reduce our transportation footprint.
- Bicycles- Vail Mountain staff use "Townie" bikes to do business in and around town. The bikes eliminate the need for short drives, thus reducing emissions and fuel consumption.
- Carpooling- Carpooling by both guests and employees is encouraged and rewarded at our resorts. Guests who carpool receive preferred parking at many of our resorts, as well as a discount or free parking at others. Employees are able to participate in numerous programs to encourage carpooling through incentives.
- Snowmobiles- Over the past few years, Vail Resorts has strived to reduce the number of snowmobiles operating on our mountain. We are also converting much of the remaining fleet to more efficient four stroke machines.
- Pilots- We have and will continue to test emerging electric bus technology to be dispatched in the future at our resorts. We are also currently piloting propane-fueled trucks in a number of our fleet vehicles.