As the 2022/23 ski and ride season gets underway in the northern hemisphere, and with climate change in sharp focus, the industry leader in sustainability, Vail Resorts, today releases its fifth annual Progress Report outlining the progress the company has made towards reaching a zero net operating footprint by 2030. Vail Resorts is ahead of schedule to meet its emissions goals, and is on track to reach zero waste to landfill and zero net operating impact on forests and habitat to achieve a zero net operating footprint by 2030.
The report details how the company actively works to mitigate climate change and preserve the environment, promotes the health and sustainability of resort communities through multi-faceted and localized support, supports its dedicated and passionate employees, and ensures equitable access to its resorts for the sustainable growth of the industry. Notable achievements include:
- Vail Resorts reached 100% renewable electricity across its North American mountain resorts, and 96% worldwide. It is critical to develop and add new renewable electricity to the grid to displace fossil fuels.
- The company donated $22.9 million to over 250 local organizations working to address the various needs of their communities – from food and housing assistance and childcare, to inclusive access programs and forest health.
- Vail Resorts provided $1.3 million in emergency relief grants and scholarships, including financial support to team members directly impacted by the Marshall Fire in Colorado.
- During the 2021/22 winter season, Vail Resorts hosted more than 8,000 youth including from cities such as New York, Chicago, Boston and others, who otherwise might not have had access to skiing and riding, and provided more than $8 million in donated goods and services.
- Vail Resorts champions sustainability across the industry, and advocates at the state, local, and federal levels for climate action through participation in groups including Ceres, RE100, and its leadership in the Mountain Collaborative for Climate Action.
"It is because of the passionate work of our team that we are able to share these results. We have set bold goals and commitments and continue to deliver on promises we have made to our environment and our communities," said Kirsten Lynch, CEO of Vail Resorts.
"Climate change requires all of us working together to mitigate the challenges facing not just our industry, but our planet – and we remain dedicated to doing our part as responsible stewards of the great outdoors and committed partners to our communities. I am so proud of our team for staying focused and on track as we continue to make progress towards a zero net operating footprint," Lynch continued.
Responsible and active stewards of the environment.
The company and its employees understand that no one person or company can solve the climate crisis alone, and collaboration is vital to progress. To mitigate its impact on the climate, and maintain its leading position, Vail Resorts remains committed to working with like-minded partners and making strategic investments, including:
- In 2022, it made its most significant single-year capital investment in energy efficiency projects, totaling $3.6 million.
- Continuing to drive climate advocacy efforts through participation in groups including Ceres and RE100, and its leadership in the Mountain Collaborative for Climate Action, now in its third year.
- Empowering committed Vail Resorts team members who are working on projects like upcycling retired lift towers into terrain features at Northstar, recycling chair pads in Park City, and more.
Caring deeply about the mountain communities where we operate and our dedicated teams.
This year, Vail Resorts donated $22.9 million to over 250 local organizations, including Habitat for Humanity Vail Valley, Park City Community Foundation, Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of North Tahoe, Boys and Girls Club of South Lake Tahoe, SOS Outreach, National Brotherhood of Skiers, the Summit Foundation, and many more.
"We see Vail Resorts as a neighbor, and their financial support and partnership is a testament to the company's willingness to tackle our community's challenges alongside us," said Diego Zegarra, vice president of equity and impact for the Park City Community Foundation. "Whether it's helping to support our community's mental health needs, supporting our housing efforts, or helping us to improve access to the sport, we know that as a major employer they can help us with our community's unique needs."
In addition to community support, Vail Resorts' EpicPromise Employee Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that serves the company's employees through emergency relief grants and educational scholarships. The Foundation provided $1.3 million in emergency relief grants and scholarships to team members and their dependents in 2021/22. This includes support to team members impacted by the devastating Marshall Fire in Colorado.
Passionate about investing in equitable access for all.
Ensuring equitable access is a priority for the company and one important way the company lives its Be Inclusive core value. Adaptive access for those with physical and mental barriers, and youth access – both in its legacy communities and in urban centers near resorts – are Vail Resorts' two priorities for ensuring equitable access for all.
The future of skiing and riding will depend on inclusion and access. Vail Resorts is especially proud of its Epic for Everyone youth access program, which during the 2021/22 season served 8,000 youth who may not have otherwise had access to the sport from across many of its mountain communities, including Vail, Heavenly, and Park City, as well as from cities surrounding its regional ski areas, such as Boston, New York, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis and more.
The company provided over $8 million of goods and services to youth participants including ski and ride school, meals, and equipment rentals, plus two additional free lift tickets to continue practicing with a guardian. These services are combined with mentorship, including an introduction to career opportunities like snowmaking, operations, and ski and snowboard instruction.
For the upcoming 2022/23 winter season, Vail Resorts will add more than a dozen partnerships with nonprofit and youth development organizations working to support youth of color. With this expansion, the company plans to host 9,000 youth across 29 resorts and provide approximately $9 million in product contributions.
The full 2021/22 EpicPromise Progress Report can be read here.