Tahoe area resorts hold steady on annual environmental report card
LAKE TAHOE andamp;#8212; Lake Tahoe area ski resorts did as well, or better, than they did last year on an annual environmental evaluation released by conservation groups this week.The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition released its 9th annual Environmental Report Card on Monday. The report card grades western ski resorts on 35 criteria using data from public records and information from the resorts themselves, according to a statement from the coalition.Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sugar Bowl both improved a letter grade from last year, while each of the remaining eight Lake Tahoe area resorts graded by the coalition received the same score on the 2009-2010 report card as they did the previous year.Ski industry officials have criticized the report card, contending the coalition’s scoring system isn’t an accurate representation of a resort’s environmental efforts.Despite Northstar-at-Tahoe’s improvement from a andamp;#8220;Dandamp;#8221; to a andamp;#8220;Candamp;#8221; on the report card this year, the resort’s owner, Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc., does not recognize the report card as an accurate reflection of the company’s environmental stewardship, said spokeswoman Kirstin Cattell said. andamp;#8220;We think guests should do their own research and not just base their feelings about a resort on the letter grade,andamp;#8221; Cattell said. andamp;#8220;(The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition) kind of pick and choose what they think matters; it might not be what matters to you.andamp;#8221;Northstar’s improvement on the report card was due, in part, to activities andamp;#8212; like land conservation in the Martis Valley and obtaining LEED certification for the Village-at-Northstar development andamp;#8212; that were not previously recognized by the coalition, Cattell said.Rachael Woods of Alpine Meadows and Homewood ski resorts, both of which landed in the A bracket, said the report card does serve an educational purpose.andamp;#8220;It helps to further the awareness of environmental efforts at Homewood and Alpine Meadows, and other resorts, which leads to a dialogue,andamp;#8221; Woods said. andamp;#8220;We’re all on the same team in this and we’re all coming up with good ideas.andamp;#8221;And skiers and snowboarders are paying attention, said Patricia Hickson, Program Associate with South Lake Tahoe’s Sierra Nevada Alliance, a member organization of the Ski Area Citizens Coalition. Hickson used Kirkwood as an example. The resort dramatically improved its score in 2008-2009 following negative publicity from the scorecard the year before. She said the report card is an important tool to help skiers and riders make informed decision about where they should spend their money.andamp;#8220;I hope that ski resorts do continue to take into account that they can be models for environmental performance given that they can attract a clientele that is passionate about the outdoors and appreciate that part of the experience as much as any of the resorts’ amenities,andamp;#8221; Hickson said.To see the full report card, visit: http://www.SkiAreaCitizens.comandamp;#8212; Sierra Sun reporter Greyson Howard contributed to this story.