Ear to the ground

“Can we smell you? We hear girls from Colorado are pungent.”

-A couple of Kiwis after meeting a Durango woman on her vacation

Ski areas get their grades

The report cards are in the mail, and ski resorts are once again the students. Last week, the annual Ski Area Environmental Scorecard was released, giving grades to 77 ski resorts throughout the western United States. The scorecard details the environmental friendliness of each ski area and then assigns each a letter grade.

“If the environment is something that is important to skiers, we encourage them to spend their lift ticket dollars at a resort that shares those priorities or encourage their favorite ski resort to do a better job,” said Ryan Demmy Bidwell, executive director of Colorado Wild.

The grades run the full spectrum from the highest-scoring Aspen Mountain Ski Resort to the rock-bottom worst F’s in the West: Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. Local ski areas also received a variety of marks.

The down-home, mom-and-pop Wolf Creek Ski Area once again turned in its perennial A, getting high marks for its lack of real estate expansion, moves to lighten its environmental footprint and its effort to fight Texan Red McCombs’ proposed Village at Wolf Creek.

Closer to home, Durango Mountain Resort hung right around average with a “solid C.” The Ski Area Citizens’ Coalition has never looked kindly on the resort’s ambitious real estate expansion, but pioneering steps to further the use of biodiesel, support of renewables, protection of stands of old-growth among other things pushed DMR’s grade up.

Next door in Telluride, the ski area moved up a whole letter grade to a B. Telluride got recognition for undertaking no new expansion, keeping roads off delicate lands and preserving environmentally sensitive areas.

Skiers can access the complete results at www.skiareacitizens.com, including the criteria which led to the grades.

Ready for blast off

Meanwhile, Durango Mountain Resort is looking for a better-than-average opening and is ready to fire up the lifts for Benefit Day on Nov. 22. Nearly 2 feet of new snow fell at the resort early this week, and snowmakers are taking advantage of cold temperatures to build a strong base for the winter season.

Once again, $10 lift tickets are on tap for Benefit Day and all lift ticket sales benefit the newly formed Durango Winter Sports Foundation

Tickets for Benefit Day must be bought ahead of time and are available at area grocery stores. Another chance to buy Benefit Day tickets is at the Steamworks Pray for Powder Pre-Season Party at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 16. The event, in conjunction with Steamworks Pint Night, will also feature door prizes from Steamworks and Purgatory including clothing, jackets and a snowboard.

In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down