Skico: Small steps vital in challenge | AspenTimes.com

Skico: Small steps vital in challenge

ASPEN ” Although the Aspen Skiing Co. has learned that a lot of effort has only reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by a negligible amount in the past seven years, the small steps still matter.

Here are some of the steps the company has taken to directly or indirectly reduce its emissions or help with other “green causes,” as outlined in its 2006-07 Sustainability Report:

Evian is out and pitchers of Aspen tap water are in at Skico’s luxurious Little Nell Hotel. The bottled water used to be given away complimentary. Making the switch saves $37,000 per year and more than 52,000 bottles. (Bottled water is still available for sale.) The pitchers were designed and created at Anderson Ranch Arts Center.

Montagna restaurant eliminated commercial beef in deference to locally raised cattle in Carbondale. Fifty percent of the restaurant’s summer produce is bought locally, as well as 15 percent of the winter produce.

The Skico’s snowmobile fleet will run greener in 2008-09 with 70 of the 95 sleds having high-efficiency four-stroke motors or direction injection motors.

The snowcat fleet is rotated every two years to make sure the cleanest machines on the market are leased.

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Corn cups are used at Aspen Skiing Co. restaurants. The corn-based cups are compostable, but they go into the garbage because the Skico doesn’t compost food waste. On the one hand, the cups are good because they aren’t oil-based and, therefore, won’t contaminate the waste stream. On the other hand, they conflict with food production, so their use will be re-evaluated.

The Buttermilk snowmaking team installed 1,500 feet of a special kind of pipe in 2007 and a total of 6,000 feet since 2006. The new pipe is made from recycled steel in Austria. It is supposed to last for 50 years, is coated with cement to reduce hydraulic friction and its construction minimizes water peaks. The old pipe lasted only 25 years.

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