Spending time outdoors has provided a relief for so many in this unusual season, and at Copper Mountain, we believe it is our job to protect and preserve our natural playground for future generations to enjoy.
Through investments in energy, waste and land, our Play Forever commitment to protect the environment and support our community continues to grow. We remain focused on efficient and responsible use of resources to provide for the long-term viability of our year-round mountain resort and the planet to inspire outdoor adventure for future generations.
As part of our Play Forever commitment, we were founding members of the National Ski Area Association's (NSAA) Climate Challenge in 2012 in order to take action to combat climate change. The Climate Challenge is a voluntary program dedicated to helping participating resorts reduce their carbon footprint and engage in advocacy on climate change solutions. Through the Climate Challenge, we set goals to measure success of climate action taken and to ensure we continue to honor the commitment we have made.
Along with our participation in NSAA’s Climate Challenge for the past nine years, Copper was recently awarded three badges as part of NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes program, acknowledging our resort’s ongoing efforts to improve and meet our sustainability goals across our operations. Copper received badges for Climate Action, Climate Advocacy and Design and Construction. NSAA offers 10 total badges including badges for Energy, Waste, Transportation, Education & Outreach, Supply Chain, Water and Forest Health & Habitat.
Copper received the Design and Construction badge for its completion of the resort’s new employee housing facility, Sky Chutes Landing. The first building of the project was completed in 2020 and is officially National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Certified Green. In order to be certified, Sky Chutes had to provide certain consumer benefits that promote a healthy home, operate efficiently and encourage sustainable lifestyles. As an example, 90 percent of the materials, supplies, finishes and labor were sourced locally. The building also incorporated energy star appliances, low flow plumbing and utilized LED lighting throughout the interior and exterior. Sky Chutes Landing also provides proximity to transportation and recreational access. Learn more about the project’s certification here.
Copper received the Advocacy and Action badges through its participation in the NSAA’s Climate Challenge but has made efforts to exceed requirements needed to achieve each badge. Copper’s sustainability team has made direct correspondence with local and national government officials to encourage action on specific climate initiatives. Most recently, the team sent a letter to Colorado Representative, Joe Neguse asking him to advocate for climate action on behalf of ski areas in the 117th Congress.
As for recent direct-action Copper has taken to prioritize sustainability and achieve badge recognition, the resort replaced two lifts in 2018 with two new direct drive Leitner Poma ski lifts, the American Eagle and American Flyer lifts, that use approximately 10 percent less energy than conventional ski lift equipment. Copper also made efficiency upgrades to 18 walk-in coolers and freezers around the resort. The projects reduced energy consumption by 220,000 kWh.
Earning three badges is a major achievement for Copper Mountain during a year as disruptive as 2020. The NSAA expects more resorts to earn badges this upcoming summer and fall, and Copper is looking to earn additional badges through its ongoing commitment to sustainability.