Wintergreen Joins Climate Challenge


All five Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. resorts have signed on to the ski industry’s effort to promote sustainable slopes

When the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) put out the call for member resorts to join in the NSAA Climate Challenge this year, Wintergreen Resort answered with a resounding, “Yes,” along with the other four ski areas in the Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. portfolio.  

NSAA’s Climate Challenge initiative has been around for several years, and more regional destination resorts are starting to be in a position to join industry stalwarts such as Jackson Hole, Deer Valley, and Stratton in the efforts to reduce energy usage and thus carbon emissions.  Geraldine Link, Director of Public Policy at NSAA, exclaimed in her emailed response about Wintergreen and the other PGRI resorts’ involvement, “NSAA is excited to see all these ski areas enter the Climate Challenge.  It is awesome!”

Rod Kessler, General Manager of Wintergreen Resort, noted the resort has already named a steering committee of staffers to develop and implement the eco-friendly programs, and he has named a “sustainability champion,” Director of Golf Operations, Fred Biggers, who would be leading the efforts at the resort.  Kessler also indicated the committee had drafted the initial list of actions to be executed over the next several years to reduce waste and energy usage with the objective of eventually getting to a carbon neutral footprint.

As part of our sustainability effort, we will be educating our guests.
— Wintergreen Resort's Betsy Dunkerton

Wintergreen’s spokesperson for the environmental initiative, Betsy Dunkerton, explained it is important to approach the NSAA Climate Challenge as a collaborative effort involving guests as well as resort operations.  “We can reduce idling time for our groomers and buses, and we can buy carbon credits and recycle and compost.  We can even ask our suppliers to reduce the amount of cardboard used when they ship items to us, but those efforts won’t get us all the way to our goal.  As part of our sustainability effort, we will be educating our guests in how they can help by respecting the no idling zones in our drop off areas and making sure they participate in the recycling programs and use refillable water bottles instead of single use plastic containers.  Our pitch to them is pretty simple – we’re all in this together, so let’s all pitch in.”

Being that Wintergreen Resort is the centerpiece of an 11,000 acre environmentally friendly community, it has long advocated for the preservation of the natural landscape. 

“We operate in a pristine alpine environment,” concluded Kessler, “and we’d like to help keep it that way for generations of our members and resort guests.  Reducing waste and our carbon footprint is something we all believe in, so we are very pleased to be part of NSAA’s Climate Challenge.”