Vail Resorts Releases second annual EpicPromise Progress Report | SierraSun.com

Vail Resorts Releases second annual EpicPromise Progress Report

Vail Resorts Inc. recently released its second annual EpicPromise Progress Report.
Courtesy of Northstar California Resort

As part of its commitment toward sustainability, Vail Resorts Inc. recently released its second annual EpicPromise Progress Report.

The report, which covers the 2018-19 season, outlines energy efficiency and waste reduction improvements, and also $14.5 million in community and employee grants.

“Our company is growing and so is our commitment to preserving the spectacular places in which we live, work, and play,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, in a news release. “We are encouraged by our progress over the last year, inspired by our learnings, and excited to think even bigger. Our growth allows us to have more of an impact in investing in mountain communities, more of an impact in supporting employees, and more of an impact in preserving the environment.”

Since being announced in 2017, Vail Resorts has worked toward reaching zero net emissions, zero waste to landfill, and zero net operating impact on forests and habitat by 2030 through its Commitment to Zero program.

Highlights from this year’s report include an investment of $2.4 million in energy-efficiency capital to upgrade snowmaking operations across several resorts and to continue efforts to switch to LED lighting. The company also launched 168 low-energy, high-efficiency automated snow guns to create more snow with less energy in less time.

These upgrades, according to Vail, already have put the company 25% of the way toward its energy-efficiency goal.

At Northstar California Resort, the mountain is piloting the use of renewable diesel in some of its transit and hauling fleet vehicles, which according to the resort, emits 80% fewer lifecycle emissions compared to fossil fuel diesel.

Vail Resorts was also able to divert more than 11 million pounds of waste from landfills last season through recycling and composting, allowing the company to achieve 44% waste diversion.

Locally, Heavenly Resort increased its food waste composting from eight tons in 2017-18 to more than 33 tons in 2018-19.

Vail Resorts also reportedly addressed forests impacted by the company’s operations during the last year by reforesting 10 acres on the Western Slope of Colorado, which had been impacted by the bark beetle.

Community and employees

Another goal of Vail Resorts is to provide continued support to help preserve the communities in which it operates, while also investing in the development of its employees.

The EpicPromise Employee Foundation gave nearly $1 million in educational scholarships and emergency relief grants. Of that total, Vail Resorts donated $500,000, and the other half came from employee contributions and fundraising.

During the 2018-19 season, Vail reportedly donated $14 million, and more than 24,000 volunteer hours to 350 nonprofit partners across 12 regions.

In the Truckee-Tahoe area, Vail Resorts gave $1.9 million in grants to 93 local organizations. In order to distribute funds, Vail said it leans on the employees located at each Tahoe area resort to help decide which organizations receive grants.

For its efforts last year, Vail Resorts was awarded the Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence from the National Ski Areas Association.

To view the full progress report, visit epicpromise.com/media/2202/epic-promise-progress-report-fy2019_final.pdf.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.