Skico critic off base
Dear Editor:Bob Guion’s Feb. 7 letter to the editor on the Skico’s environmental activities is shortsighted and itself misleading.Let’s start with the disinformation he accuses the Skico of disseminating. Mr. Guion advises the Skico to “be smart to start practicing (environmental policies) rather than just publicizing them.” What policies are they publicizing but not practicing? Mr. Guion is not specific.Well, here are some specific environmental policies – and results- – that I can think of off hand: an environmental foundation that funds local green nonprofits, extensive support for mass transit, wind-powered ski lifts, sustainably harvested timber in its lodges, turbines on snowmaking machines that capture otherwise wasted energy, energy efficient lighting and heating retrofits in its hotels and restaurants, biodiesel for its generators, an annual audit on their environmental performance, and a commitment to reduce their CO2 emissions to 1990 levels. These are all documented policies/accomplishments. Where is the disinformation?I honestly cannot think of any ski resort, not to speak of company, that has implemented so many environmental initiatives – most of these at an economic loss. What are publicly traded ski companies such as Vail doing in comparison?If the Skico is not perfect, it’s that big companies move slowly (I know this from my current job as a management consultant), and change is really difficult, particularly in an industry that has to function at very high service levels. That is why the Skico to me is so impressive. Compared with its peers, the Skico has demonstrated a great amount of change. I don’t doubt with its current ownership and leadership, it likely will do more in the future, but it has to do it while protecting its core business. Basically, it needs the cash flow to subsidize its environmental policies.Lower-emission four-stroke snowmobiles, for one, don’t currently meet current the service requirements of a modern ski resort. (I can Google, too. See http://www.snowtechmagazine.com/articles/2003/answers/answers.php for more on current four-stroke snowmobile limitations). It’s not a commitment issue, it’s one of technology. Once the technology is there, I would bet pretty heavily that the Skico will pay the premium and be the first to implement it. They’ve shown that they will pay more for technology where the returns are environmental – not economic.To dismiss the Skico’s efforts as “greenwashing” is just to discourage the initiative of the Skico and its efforts toward sustainability – something pretty unique in industry, and an issue that Bob ostensibly cares about. The X Games indeed can be a bit offensive in their blatant showcasing of all things winter-moto – and by hosting them, Aspen is tacitly supporting these activities. But I suggest that Mr. Guion be more constructive in his criticism. The Skico’s doing a lot of really great things which should not be dismissed so casually.Michael BrylawskiLos Angeles (Formerly of Basalt)
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