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Day to promote sustainable slopes

Paul Raymore, Sierra Sun

The natural beauty of the Tahoe area is priceless to the region’s ski resorts as visitors from around the world come to enjoy the natural mountain setting. Naturally, environmental stewardship has come to be an integral part of most resorts’ operational strategies.The issue is not restricted to local resorts. The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has developed its own environmental charter designed to guide individual resorts in their environmental initiatives. Locally, one initiative, the Sustainable Slopes Environmental Awareness Day, will take place Saturday, and resorts have their own programs designed to celebrate local ecology.Sugar BowlSugar Bowl has committed itself to the NSAA’s “Keep Winter Cool” campaign, designed to illustrate the effects of global warming on winter sports and highlight opportunities for resort operators and guests to help solve the problem, according to Sugar Bowl representatives.Sugar Bowl has developed carpooling and shuttle-riding incentives and water quality monitoring operations, on-hill slope stabilization projects, and an extensive recycling program for paper, cardboard, beverage containers, vehicle fluids and printer cartridges.In June of 2002, Sugar Bowl’s Environmental Committee won one of the largest beverage container recycling grants ever given by the California Department of Conservation. The resort utilized the funds to develop new infrastructure, enabling it to recycle 708 pounds of aluminum, 3,534 pounds of plastic, 14,061 pounds of glass, 178 pounds of mixed metals, 3,288 pounds of paper and 36,262 pounds of cardboard the following 2002/2003 season – 2.5 times more material than the season prior.In September of 2003, the California Integrated Waste Management Board presented Sugar Bowl with a “WRAP” award (Waste Reduction Awards Program) in recognition of its efforts to keep recyclable materials out of area landfills.On Saturday, Sugar Bowl will provide an information booth on the Judah Deck with highlights of resort environmental stewardship on display. In addition, “Environmental Spotters” will give raffle tickets to passengers in vehicles with four or more riders and to shuttle bus riders from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Guests caught recycling or picking up garbage will receive tickets. Tickets are also available for sale at $2 per ticket with proceeds going toward Sugar Bowl’s recycling program. At 3 p.m. the raffle giveaway will include a pass for next season and items from Sugar Bowl’s Summit Snowboard Shop and Ski & Sports.Alpine MeadowsAlpine Meadows will offer free eco ski/snowboard tours on Sustainable Slopes Day. The environmental educational tours will be led by Alpine Meadows staff biologists Sarah Trebilcock and Jeff Zotz, and will focus on basic geology of the Sierra Nevada range, winter flora and fauna unique to this region and animal life found at Alpine Meadows.A discussion of the history of native people who inhabited the Sierra will also be included. The tours will finish by emphasizing Alpine Meadows’ commitment to environmental stewardship, ethics and education, say resort representatives. Offered at 10- 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 – 3 p.m., the eco tours are open to children and adults of all ages of at least intermediate ability level. Participants will meet at the large Alpine Meadows sign near Roundhouse Quad chairlift.Alpine will also focus on local environmental issues and projects, presenting speakers, information and display booths in the main lodge cafeteria from many local environmentally proactive organizations including: The Sierra Watershed Education Partnership, the Forest Service, Toyota Hybrid Vehicles, the Placer County Water Agency, the Truckee River Watershed Council, Tahoe Truckee Sierra Disposal, Clif Bar and the Green Builders Association.Squaw ValleySquaw Valley is encouraging its guests to do their part to help stop pollution by carpooling. On Saturday, Squaw Valley will offer discounts on lift tickets for guests who arrive in vehicles with three or more passengers (including the driver).Each carpooling visitor will receive one coupon for $5 off their adult all-day ticket for that day, plus an additional coupon for $10 off the purchase of an adult lift ticket on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday during the rest of the season.To receive the coupons, carpoolers must arrive between 8 and 11 a.m. and park in the designated Olympic Village Parking Lot (follow the signs to the area behind the Clocktower building).For those looking to make a difference and participate in ridesharing to Squaw Valley on a regular basis, Squaw Valley reminds guests of its partnership with the Web-based carpooling service alternetrides.com. This free online service is available to resort guests and offers an easy connection to ridesharing information from many locations around California and Northern Nevada. To participate, visit http://www.alternetrides.com and click on the ski resorts link to find or offer a ride to Squaw Valley.Squaw Valley also offers daily bus shuttle service from North Lake Tahoe, Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno hotels, as well as a lake shuttle on the Tahoe Queen paddlewheel boat from South Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley’s bus service helps cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of VMT’s (Vehicle Miles Traveled).”We want to educate and empower people to help cut down on emissions,” said Eric Brandt, Squaw Valley’s director of marketing. “Whether a guest drives or rides a shuttle, carpooling and ridesharing really can make a difference.”For more information about Sustainable Slopes Outreach Day at Squaw, stop by the Environmental Program Window in the Olympic House.For more information on the National Ski Areas Association and their environmental stewardship guidelines, see http://www.nsaa.org. For more information on the National Resource Defense Council’s industry campaign to prevent global warming visit http://www.keepwintercool.org.


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