It’s very probable, if you are not a skier or involved in America’s ski industry, that you are unaware of the fact that many ski resorts believe their very survival is endangered. It’s not that people are losing interest in skiing, far from it. Some ski resorts are reporting record crowds.
The problem is climate change. It’s beginning to impact the industry and making more inroads - faster - than anyone expected just a few years back.
Since 2002, the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has started a series of programs designed to help educate ski resort owners on climate change awareness and ways to help reduce their own emissions of greenhouse gases. The Association believes that unless ski resort owners start taking climate change seriously, they will likely not be in business 50 to 75 years from now.
However, so far they have had only moderate success. This is true even though some US ski resorts are already reporting that the amount of snow they are receiving each year seems to be on the decline and that winter temperatures are on the increase.
According to NSAA, “the more greenhouse gases go up the more snow melts. Period. The fact that most ski resort executives have yet to connect those dots—and speak out about it to elected officials—is the elephant in the boardroom of every winter sports office in America.”
While change has been slow moving, some ski resorts have made significant progress in the past decade to help reduce consumption and their environmental footprint. For instance:
• Mount Abram Ski Area in Main has invested nearly a million dollars in solar panels, which now provide 70 percent of the resort’s electrical power plus the power needs of 46 nearby homes.
• Another resort in Maine has also taken steps, but ones that are far less costly. For instance, they have upped their recycling; insist that guests take shuttle buses to the resort; installed more efficient heating systems in the hotels and lodges; and replaced traditional urinals with waterless urinals. The waterless urinals not only save water – thousands of gallons of water per year per urinal – but because it takes electricity to deliver and remove water from the resort, they are indirectly reducing the community’s power needs, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emission.
• And in July 2017, Jimmy Peak Mountain Resort located in Western Massachusetts installed a 2.3-megawatt solar system as well as a power turbine. The resort has also eliminated the use of toxic cleaning agents, and once again in the bathrooms, has converted from traditional to waterless urinals in several of the resort buildings. Resort owners claim they are saving 40,000 gallons of water per urinal per year. This is likely more than the other ski resorts mentioned earlier, but Jimmy Peak is open year-round, which makes the difference.
There are many ways ski resorts and all types of facilities can reduce their emissions of greenhouse gasses along with their overall environmental footprint. What we are likely to see more of, not only in ski resorts but the entire professional sports industry, and all types of facilities from schools to office buildings, is the use of waterless urinals. They save water, but they also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So we are essentially taking two steps forward with just one technology.
For more information on waterless urinals, please contact a Waterless Co representative.