Ski Areas and the environment? They dont always get along. Ski Area owners have focused on facilities and service, but now a number of groups have applied pressure on resort owners to pay attention to more.
The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition is one of those groups. Their website recently ranked California ski areas according to environmental stewardship. The Citizens’ Coalition awarded Mammoth Mountain Ski Area a B grade, tied with Bear Mountain Resort in 6th place.
The Citizens’ group looked at amount of energy burned, pollutants, wetlands destruction and other environmental impacts. The most green ski area, Alpine Meadows uses biodiesel in its snow cats, supports climate change legislation and has never tried to expand into environmentally sensitive areas.
MMSA gained points for being a “green mountain” by “maintaining ski terrain within the existing footprint.” That means MMSA received points for not expanding through the San Joaquin roadless area. The Mountain also received praise and points for preserving undisturbed lands from development. The Ski Area lost points for the Intrawest real estate development on nearly 40 acres of undisturbed land. Lots of points for protecting endangered species habitat, wetlands, unique geology and for its new snowmaking proposed for the ski back trail.
The Ski Area lost points for opposing the Roadless Initiative of 2000 but gained points for support of the US CAP on greenhouse gases. More points for use of solar power in some locations and plans for geothermal heating at the planned Eagle Lodge.
Finally, more points for running the town-wide shuttle-bus system.