Aspen skiers give nearly $7,000 to state ‘green’ fund |

Aspen skiers give nearly $7,000 to state ‘green’ fund

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Visitors to Aspen Skiing Co. resorts have contributed nearly $7,000 to help offset their carbon emissions this season by giving to the Colorado Carbon Fund, state officials said Thursday.

The fund was established by the Governor’s Energy Office last August to help pay for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More than 2,300 skiers at Aspen Skiing Co. resorts contributed to the fund this season by either voluntarily donating $20 with the purchase of a season pass or donating $2 with the purchase of a daily lift ticket, fund program manager Susan Innis said.

The fund is still talking with the company and other Colorado ski areas about plans for next season.

Innis did not have an update on how much money was in the fund Thursday, but donations since August include $100,000 from the Democratic National Convention’s 2008 Host Committee and $50,000 from University of Colorado students in Boulder. The fund has more than 300 donors, she said.

The money could potentially go toward projects to heat water using energy from the sun. Other projects the state is considering would capture methane emissions from animal waste on hog and dairy farms on the eastern plains or from coal mining in the mountains to be used for heat or power.

Innis said the fund’s first project will likely be chosen in the coming months.

A number of Colorado ski areas, including Aspen, have taken steps to reduce emissions, from offering discounts to carpoolers to buying renewable energy.

Aspen Skiing sustainability manager Matthew Hamilton called climate change the most significant long-term challenge to the ski industry.

“The ultimate impact on skiing is one thing. The impact on the world of climate change is more significant. In the days a visitor is with us, if we can educate them on how to make changes in their own lives and learn a bit from what we’re doing as a company, we’ve had an impact,” Hamilton said.

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