Vail Resorts marked its second year of 100 percent renewable energy use at its 37 North American resorts and made strides in landfill waste reduction and energy efficiency company-wide, according to its 2022-23 Environmental & Social Responsibility Report.
The report assesses the company’s progress on its Commitment to Zero pledge to achieve a net zero operating footprint by 2030, which includes zero net emissions, zero waste to landfill, and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
Vail Resorts’ Scope 1 emissions—the greenhouse gases emitted directly from the company’s operations—have actually risen in recent years, from 69,120 metric tons of CO2 in fiscal year 2017 to 87,923 metric tons in fiscal 2023. The company attributed some of the year-over-year increase in direct and indirect emissions between 2022 and 2023 to the acquisition of Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Laurel Mountain, and Hidden Valley Resort, Pa.
Reductions, on the other hand, were seen in the company’s Scope 2 market-based emissions—CO2 emissions associated with purchased power, such as electricity. In FY 2023, the company procured 361,787 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity, which is equivalent to 100 percent of its North American resorts’ electricity usage and 96 percent of its worldwide electricity usage. It has reduced its market-based Scope 2 emissions from 121,221 metric tons of CO2 in 2017 to 8,018 metric tons in 2023. During the same period, the company’s energy purchases from local power grids increased its location-based CO2 emissions from 121,983 metric tons to 136,181 metric tons, but a substantial net savings in emissions was still achieved.
Non-carbon fuel sources powering Vail Resorts properties include Plum Creek, a 229.6-megawatt wind farm in Nebraska, as well as local renewable electricity programs. Xcel Energy’s Colorado Renewable Connect program provides a portion of renewable electricity at Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort, Colo., and the Elektron Solar Project, an 80-megawatt solar farm being constructed 60 miles west of Salt Lake City, Utah, will power Park City Resort with 100 percent renewable electricity when it comes online in 2024, the company said.
The report noted that some aspects of the company’s 2030 goals have already been met, including a target of improving energy efficiency by 15 percent, thanks to $10 million in on-mountain investments made since 2018. These projects focused primarily on snowmaking efficiency improvements, LED lighting retrofits, and facility system and control upgrades, according to the report.
Vail Resorts reduced its landfill waste by 6.1 million pounds, or 36 percent of total waste generated, in 2023, putting it on schedule to meet the 2030 goal of zero waste to landfill. The report highlighted the new Supply Chain Sustainability program launched in fiscal year 2023, which leveraged supplier relationships to divert 845,000 pounds of waste from the landfill by recycling retired staff uniforms and nitrile gloves, selling retired snowcats and rental equipment, and more.
It is also working toward the goal of net-zero impact on forests and habitat through projects like reforesting 95 acres of land in Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming impacted by forest fires. The company has reforested a total of 195 acres since 2017.