The annual "Sustainable Slopes" report was released this week by the National Ski Areas Association, (NSAA) the trade group of ski resort operators. The report, as it has done for the past 11 years, chronicles the Association's progress in implementing its Environmental Charter over the 2010-2011 season.

A new component to Sustainable Slopes this year was a "climate challenge," a voluntary effort for resorts to inventory, target, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Eight resorts took the challenge, including [R10R, Alta], [R462R, Canyons], and [R314R, Park City Mountain Resort] in Utah; [R20R, Arapahoe Basin] and [R456R, Telluride] in Colorado; [R191R, Jackson Hole] in Wyoming; [R192R, Jiminy Peak] in Massachusetts; and [R274R, Mt. Hood Meadows] in Oregon. These resorts set goals for carbon reduction, and measuring success in reducing their overall carbon footprint.

"The Climate Challenge is intended to provide a venue for a friendly competition among resorts that will inspire action and elevate the visibility of the entire industry in its efforts to fight climate change," says NSAA President Michael Berry. "The efforts will bring measurable and audited results and take the industry and Sustainable Slopes to the next level in sustainability performance."

The annual report highlights hundreds of efforts by ski resorts to continue working at environmental concerns. Efforts included more use of electric vehicles, composting, local purchasing programs, employee and visitor education efforts, and water conservation plans.

A number of NSAA sponsors were highlighted in the report for making a Sustainable Slopes Grant Program possible. Those sponsors included HKD Turbo, LeftWind, Renewable Choice Energy, CLIF Bar & Co., and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Their donations encouraged resort efforts to develop more energy efficient snowmaking systems, solar trash compactors, water bottle refilling, electric vehicle recharging stations, and lighting retrofits.