It finally rained in San Francisco, which means snow in the Sierra. Since people who love to ski and snowboard also usually love the environment, I was curious about the green credentials of some of the big resorts. I was excited to find a really well researched list of the Top 10 Green Ski Resorts in the West.
The list is put out by non-profit group Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition. The organization works to keep environmental concerns at the forefront of ski area managers. They use a heavy-duty weighted criteria to grades resorts, reviewing everything from how well the resort stays within the existing footprint, to preserves environmentally sensitive areas, to energy conservation practices.
Of course, since I’m not a snow bunny – I’d rather hang out by the fireplace in the hotel lobby and sip a hot toddy or three — I decided to check out the hotel situation at these ten resorts, which are spread across California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Utah. Over the next week I’ll tell you about the resorts and give you budget, moderate and luxury hotel options in the area.
Starting at the top, the greenest ski resort of 2008/2009 is...Aspen Mountain Ski Resort in Aspen, Colorado.
Aspen Mountain has some of the craziest steep powder in Aspen. They don’t have any “easy” trails. It’s for hardcore downhill skiers and snow boarders, a.k.a. dudes who shred.
And what about the hotels? Aspen has tons of lodging options, including:
Budget: Mountain Chalet
It’s a simple place, but it offers laundry, locker room, internet access, sauna and steam rooms, and a heated outdoor pool. It’s heavy on the social areas, so a good choice for the hostel-type of crowd. A “budget room” has two queen beds or two single beds, a TV and small fridge, but no A/C, and costs $105-$240/night, depending on when in the season you go. Serious ski bums just looking for a place to crash can get a bunk for $70 to $85/night.
Moderate: Aspen Mountain Lodge
This traditional lodge has 38 rooms, over four floors. The rooms themselves are about average — wet bar and refrigerator, cable TV with VCR, direct dial phones, a CD stereo, bathrobes, a coffee maker, and internet access. The big appeal is the 40 foot high river-rock fireplace in the atrium. Winter rates for a standard room range from $146 to $276/night.
Luxury: Mountain House Lodge
If you’re willing to spend a little more so you can enjoy relaxing in the privacy of your own room, take a look at the Mountain House Lodge. A standard room includes two queen bed, cable t.v., refrigerator and a phone. Most rooms also have decks, and are big enough for a sitting area. Winter rates range from $189-$299/night.