The mountains are our lives, and our livelihoods. This Earth Day, celebrated on Saturday, April 22nd, Alterra Mountain Company is proud to share our progress on our environmental sustainability journey and some of the highlights happening across our global mountain community.
We will be announcing our 2030 carbon reduction goals publicly very soon. These goals will guide our company to measurable, achievable, and aggressive carbon emission reductions, necessary to collectively combat climate change.
Our goals, which you will soon be able to read all about in our first annual Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Report, are science-based, meaning they are in line with what the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
The Sustainability Team went through a rigorous analysis and vetting process to identify goals that are industry-leading and maximize the value of our existing and future investments. Across our portfolio, we will need to pull many different levers to meet our goals, allowing a custom and tailored approach at each destination, determined by their baseline emissions inventory and community’s biggest opportunities.
We could not have gotten this far alone, and more importantly, we will not be able to achieve our goals without the support of our team members, and we thank you for your commitment and passion.
Leadership Profile: Darcie Renn, Vice President of Sustainability at Alterra Mountain Company
Get to know Darcie Renn, our Vice President of Sustainability, who joined Alterra in June 2022. Darcie dove in headfirst as our sustainability leader to develop an aggressive and strategic roadmap for our unique and complex company. We are very proud to have Darcie on the team.
Why do you work in sustainability? What lights your fire?
I have always been an outdoor enthusiast and champion for the environment. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, I learned about the importance of environmental conservation at a young age. However, throughout my career, I became more and more inspired by values-driven companies like Patagonia that are showing how businesses can also be a force for good, work to solve broader systems changes, and benefit their triple bottom line (people, planet, and profit). This is what inspired me to get my MBA in Sustainability Management and work to become a bigger part of the solution. I believe that the collective difference that one person, one resort, or one company can make in this world can be amplified even more when we work together towards common goals. I’m excited to work for a company with a leadership team and employees that aren’t afraid to move mountains in order to protect and sustain the places where we live, work, and play for generations to come.
What are you most excited about as you think about our roadmap to 2030?
I’m really excited about the diversity of types of opportunities that exist for us to work on across our destinations. There are so many different ways to approach climate action that it’s not a one size fits all approach. We will need to pull a variety of different levers and some destinations will be better positioned to leverage certain types of opportunities due to their legislative requirements, funding opportunities, and other baseline factors.
Let’s be honest – we have a significant carbon footprint. People travel from all over the world to visit our incredible destinations. We operate snowcats, helicopters, and major facilities. Some people may question how we can be on a sustainability journey while all that is true. What is your response to people who may be questioning or skeptical of Alterra’s role?
Well, we have to start somewhere, and we need to start now (or perhaps yesterday) by taking on new and innovative opportunities to run our business in a cleaner and greener way. Will this happen overnight across the board? No — but there are real and meaningful opportunities that we can be taking advantage of right away to mitigate our current footprint while we invest in, pilot, and grow other future opportunities. We already have really great examples of this across our portfolio. For example, CMH does fly helicopters, but they’re also working towards Carbon Neutral Certification through investing in offsets and other actionable programs to reduce their footprint (and costs) such as, energy and fuel efficiency measures, and the installation of more micro-hydro systems to power remote destinations. I would highly recommend reading their latest ESG report (for those of you who haven’t read it yet, you can find it here).
What do you see as the ski industry’s biggest sustainability opportunity?
The ski industry is at the tip of the spear as far as seeing the effects of climate change first-hand. We have the opportunity to educate and inspire others to take action on what they can do as well, whether that’s our guests, vendors, or legislators – there’s plenty of opportunity to go around.
Earth Day Events and Destination Spotlights
Alterra destinations are committed to protecting our environment and celebrating Earth Day in a meaningful way. Through a variety of different events, our destinations are working to inspire employees, guests, and community members to join in on our shared mission for generations to come.
On April 8th, the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and Steamboat Ski Resort hosted an educational and family-friendly Earth Day event at Steamboat to celebrate and learn actions everyone can take to be stewards of the beautiful Yampa Valley region.
Palisades Tahoe participated in the community-wide Truckee Earth Day Festival on April 15th. The Palisades Tahoe team partnered with WEND Waxworks to provide free hot waxes using their environmentally friendly wax, which the Palisades Tahoe team uses on all their equipment. The booth included educational information on the importance and benefits of using plant-based, non-toxic, and biodegradable wax.
Blue Mountain is hosting two Earth Day events to inspire both employees, guests, and the community to act towards a more sustainable future. On April 21st, employees are participating in a community-building spring clean-up day. On April 22nd, all are invited to celebrate Earth Day at the resort, with a range of family-friendly and educational activities.
During Earth Day weekend, the Crystal Sustainability Team will have an educational booth on the summit to share information on their waste management practices and plans for the future. Read more from the Crystal Mountain Sustainability Team in their Earth Month and Sustainability Updates blog.
Sugarbush is hosting a number of events over Earth Month, including a community-wide presentation in partnership with the Mad River Valley Bear Initiative by wildlife biologist, Ben Kilham, Ph.D. Additionally, on Earth Day, the Sugarbush Safety Environment & Wellness Committee is sharing educational sustainability information throughout the resort and encouraging guests to volunteer with Green Up Vermont Day. On May 1st, Sugarbush staff will hold their annual resort wide Green Up Day cleaning up the base areas and neighboring roads.
To honor Earth Day, Tremblant is encouraging team members to participate in and share photos engaging in a variety of Earth-friendly challenges to inspire sustainable practices in everyday life.
Alterra Mountain Company and Protect Our Winters Continue Partnership
Alterra destinations and Ikon Pass are proud to partner with Protect Our Winters to inspire skiers and snowboarders to engage in an issue directly impacting the mountains we love. With the launch of Ikon Pass sales for the 23⁄24 ski season on March 16, Ikon Pass holders and Alterra employees all received a free annual membership to Team POW. Watch the new video, which dropped on April 6, HERE.
We have an obligation to protect, preserve, and prioritize the places where we live, work, and play. As we work aggressively towards our 2030 goals and beyond, we will continue to center our people and our planet in our business operations. Thank you, and happy Earth Day.
The Alterra Social Responsibility Team