Vail Resorts recently released its EpicPromise progress report, showing the company’s headway toward achieving its net zero operating goals.
Vail Resorts has a goal of having a net-zero operating footprint by 2030. There are three subgoals under the umbrella of that larger one: zero net emissions; zero waste to landfill; and zero net operating impact to forests and habitats.
Vail Resorts Sustainability Manager Kate Wilson says the waste goal is the hardest for the organization to achieve. To make progress on it, Vail partnered with Salt Lake City-based composter Wasatch Resource Recovery to divert 221 tons of waste from the landfill since February 2019. Wilson says Canyons Village employees have been essential in the effort, and they’ll be implementing the same program at Park City Mountain this season.
“Having a meal at 10,000 feet—how did the food get up there?" Wilson said. "You threw your banana peel away at lunch, thinking about all the things that have to happen to actually get that to a composting facility is pretty complicated. So, this year we were able to switch the Canyons side all over to Vail Resorts employees doing the bussing, so instead of having our guests stomp around in their ski boots and trying to figure out what goes in what bin, we took that on ourselves to make sure that we got everything in the right place and that we're able to divert as much waste as possible.”
Wilson says Vail is currently focusing on impacts from resort operations, such as emissions from diesel and electricity, as well as waste reduction, but its upcoming efforts will address employees’ footprint through housing and car trips.
“We’re doing lighting retrofits in the housing—can we also make sure that they have proper composting and recycling and landfill bins within their own living accommodations, so that they are part of our program?" Wilson said. "We're rolling out a new carpooling initiative this year and options for rideshare and things like that, so it's certainly something that's on our radar.”
The EpicPromise report also highlights that, during the 2018/2019 season, Vail provided Park City-based nonprofit organizations, including PC Tots and Mountain Trails Foundation, with $3.1 million in grant funding.