Our Reduction Strategy
Vail Resorts has the most aggressive reduction strategy in the industry because our mountains and our guests are worth it. In every action we take, we consider the impact our business has on the environment, alongside the enhancements we can make to improve each guest’s experience on our mountains and at our resorts. Our energy efficiency programs save enough energy annually to power almost 5000 US homes reducing our footprint in our pristine mountain environments.
In 2008, we made a commitment to improve our energy efficiency by 10%. Just a few years later, we reached that Target 10 goal, and we kept on going. The Next 10 is our current commitment to improve by another 10% by 2020. We take a comprehensive approach looking at energy consumption across our operations: snowmaking, facilities, food and beverage, grooming and lifts. We’ve achieved a 9.4% improvement and anticipate reaching the Next 10 this year so we’re already planning for what comes next.
Smarter Energy = Better Snow
Snowmaking has been one of our areas of focus across our resorts. Upgrading compressors and snowmaking guns helps us provide the best experience to our guests as efficiently as possible.
One project replaced 15 air compressors on Vail and Beaver Creek mountains with one high-powered compressor at each resort. The estimated annual savings is over 2 million Kilowatt hours a year.. The result is not only an ability to produce more snow with less energy, but also to create better snow faster for our guests.
And when Vail acquires new resorts, we try to apply the same thinking that’s made us a leader in the industry. At Afton Alps, which Vail purchased in 2013, we replaced 72 snow guns with high-efficiency models, in a combination of fan guns and stick guns. As an example of their increased efficiency, older models use compressed air at a rate of 500-700 cubic feet per minute (CFM) and the new, low-e guns use as little as 20 CFM.
We are also Snowsat, a software that measures grooming efficiency and snow cat operating parameters in real time. Our operators take pride in how efficiently they are grooming our runs, and our guests benefit from our ability to open more runs, earlier and to keep them in better condition at all times.