By Adam White — Ski Vermont
MONTPELIER, Vt. – Three Vermont ski areas were recognized for safety, sustainability and marketing excellence when the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) presented industry awards at its annual National Convention last week in San Diego, Calif.
Sugarbush Resort won the Climate Change Impact Award, part of the Golden Eagle Awards for Sustainability. Established in 1993, the Golden Eagles are the highest honors bestowed on resorts for environmental performance.
“The credit for this goes to our entire team for the multiple initiatives we have taken in recent years,” said Win Smith, owner of Sugarbush Resort. “Since 2014 we have reduced our carbon emissions by 24 percent – which means that Sugarbush has released 1,063 fewer tons of emissions.”
In the Safety Awards category, Stratton Mountain Resort was honored for Best Overall Safety Program (under 500K visits). This was the third win in that category in the past five years for Stratton, which also took home the award in 2014 and 2017.
“’Play Safe, Play Smart, Enjoy the Mountain’ is more than a mantra at Stratton,” said Jeffrey Cavagnino, the resort’s environment and safety manager. “We strive to create a culture of safety, courtesy and respect.”
Killington Resort was also recognized for Best #RideAnotherDay Program, part of NSAA’s national initiative to help mitigate collision risk.
In the Marketing Awards, Killington Resort captured the nod for Best Overall Marketing Campaign (over 500K visits) – its third NSAA marketing award in as many seasons.
“Our team works hard to provide the best experience for our guests and to excel in the areas of safety, growth, marketing and sustainably every year,” said Mike Solimano, president and general manager of Killington Resort. “I could not be more proud of the strides our team has made here at Killington.” [See Killington’s consistently hilarious King of Spring videos]
Vermont ski areas have now taken home 22 NSAA awards in the past 10 years.
“Vermont ski areas have long been models of innovation driving success, and these latest national awards reflect that,” said Molly Mahar, president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association. “The fact that these three areas were recognized for excellence in safety and sustainability is a testament not only to their commitment to their customers and communities, but also the future of the sport and the environment.”
Sugarbush Resort was also named by NSAA as one of four recipients of a Sustainable Slopes Grant. Sugarbush will apply the $5,000 grant toward the installation of eight Level 2 EV charging stations in its Mt. Ellen and Sugarbush Inn parking lots, to supplement the 15 chargers already installed in its Lincoln Peak lot.
The additional charging stations are aimed at promoting the use of electric vehicles to help offset greenhouse gas emissions. A member of NSAA’s Climate Challenge, Sugarbush estimates that its existing EV chargers led to the reduction of 10 tons of CO₂ in their first seven months of operation. Once all chargers are operational, the resort anticipates an annual reduction of 40 total tons of CO₂.
“We’ve continued to see an increased demand for EV chargers over the past few seasons and this grant will go a long way toward helping us expand our fleet,” said John Bleh, public relations manager at Sugarbush Resort.
The Sustainable Slopes Program has awarded a total of $561,000 in support of resort sustainability projects since its inception in 2009. Past grant winners from Vermont include Burke Mountain and Stratton Mountain Resort.
“We applaud the efforts of our members to innovate and serve as role models for success in the ski industry,” said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president.