Sustainability Guiding Change – An Update from Alta Ski Area 2018

11th December 2018

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Change is a constant which reminds us of the work and balance needed between the environment, its people and business. At Alta Ski Area we call this sustainability. Alta experienced varying levels of changes from 80+ years ago when the ski area came to be, some rapid and some slow. This year’s annual sustainability report updates readers, stakeholders, and patrons with a glimpse of the changes that are happening at Alta and how the Alta Environmental Center (AEC) is working hard to include sustainability when addressing changes at Alta.

The AEC helps guide the ski area’s efforts internally while working with third-party entities to address changing needs in conservation. Unchanged through all these years is Alta’s strong culture and it is this culture that motivates and guides the AEC to protect and improve the ski area’s environment, industry and community. One of the AEC’s significant initiatives is working towards Alta reducing greenhouse gases 20% by the year 2020. This goal and other efforts are accomplished in alliance with ski industry partners and led by the National Ski Areas Association Climate Challenge program. The Climate Challenge program asks participating ski areas to track their annual carbon footprint, create reduction goals and projects to meet these goals, share their progress publicly, and advocate at a national level for GHG reduction. The program took flight in 2011 and Alta is pleased to have supported these objectives since 2008.

Looking back on our warmer months, summer visitation continues to pose an ever-increasing challenge in balancing natural resource protection and visitor use. This past summer the Alta community introduced significant changes in operations focused on sustainability. Changes included:

Running a chairlift and reducing parking stalls resulted in 65% reduction of vehicular traffic into the Albion Basin.
Introduction of the Summer Host on weekends and holidays.
Fewer rogue trails were created than years past as hikers’ entry points into Albion Basin were concentrated around Sunnyside chairlift and designated parking stalls. Foot traffic staying on maintained trails which lowered impact on native vegetation and wildflowers.