Lots of Coloradans live the contradiction of composting waste or driving a hybrid while patronizing ski resorts, which are environmental disasters no matter how you slice it. Think about it: Between tearing up slopes for runs, sucking up massive amounts of power, and pumping out boatloads of trash and spent snowboarder roaches, it's practically like Avatar out there. All we need is a race of sexy blue cat people living in the woods by Breckenridge's Peak 10.
That said, not all ski resorts are equal offenders. That's where the Colorado-based Ski Area Citizens' Coalition comes in: They rate all the ski resorts in the nation based on criteria like habitat and watershed protection, climate change action, and overall environmental policies and practices.
In Colorado, Aspen SkiCo hogs the top three spots, with Aspen Mountain scoring an impressive 86.1 average (they give Aspen an 'A,' so there's some kind of weird curve going on). The Coalition praises Aspen's habitat and watershed protection, but marks 'em down for overall practices and climate change mitigation. (Considering Aspen is widely regarded as a leader in this category, it kind of highlights how ridiculous the idea of an environmentally-friendly ski resort is in the first place.)
Besides Aspen, only fourth place finisher Powderhorn gets an A. B-scoring Wolf Creek, Telluride, Snowmass, Monarch, Vail, and Eldora round out the top ten in that order. With Aspen's Snowmass getting a 7th place spot, I'm starting to think they're the Martin Prince of this whole thing.
Nationwide, Aspen settles for second behind California's Squaw Valley, but they also nab third and ninth with Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Better luck next year, teacher's pet.
So who's at the back of the class, drawing dicks and throwing spitballs? Slackers Winter Park, Copper Mountain, and Breckenridge all get D's, with Breck taking the cake for worst in the state and worst in the country.
I can't say I'm all that surprised, but Vail Ski Co. better keep their eyes peeled for this:
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.