Increasingly, sustainability is becoming an important factor for travelers. And ski resorts and hotels are catching on. Many hotels in ski towns are making concerted efforts to minimize their impact on the environment. Some hotels have even become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. That’s one of your biggest clues that they’ve become proactive about lowering their carbon footprint. LEED is widely recognized as the most important green building standard in the industry. Beyond this certification, there are many other ways that hotels are making their properties more sustainable.
We’ve put together a list of some of the top hotels in popular ski towns that are making sustainability a priority. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start for finding a sustainable hotel for your next ski vacation.
Sustainable Ski Town Hotels
The Little Nell, Aspen
The Little Nell, Aspen’s only 5-star, 5-diamond hotel, is a special experience, and that much more because of its sustainability efforts. Sustainability initiatives at The Little Nell have included remodeling efforts using reclaimed materials, recycled and salvaged fixtures and fittings, and donating furniture to Habitat for Humanity. The hotel also focused on using low-VOC paint, water-based stains, and formaldehyde-free glues. The Little Nell estimates the hotel has cut CO2 emissions by 300 tons a year by replacing their boilers. Guests can experience some of The Little Nell’s sustainability efforts firsthand. Their largest suite is powered by a 5,000-watt solar panel system.
Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole
Wyoming’s first LEED silver certified hotel is a a standout for its long list of green initiatives. Hotel Terra earned its LEED silver certification in part because of its efforts to save water and improve energy efficiency. Hotel Terra’s sustainability efforts include things like solar-powered faucets, waterless urinals, refillable aluminum water bottles in all rooms, and elimination of light pollution. 100% of its electric power is offset with the purchase of alternative energy, including wind, solar and hydro sources. The building itself is sustainable, too, with 80% recycled content in the steel used throughout the building, and 100% recycled Eco Shake roof shingles.
The Blake, Taos
We’ve previously written about Taos Ski Valley’s sustainability efforts and recognition. It was the first major ski resort to become a certified B Corp, and last year it was announced that it had become a certified CarbonNeutral company. Taos Ski Valley’s sustainability highlights continue with The Blake, its 80-room alpine guesthouse awarded LEED silver certification. The Blake’s geothermal cooling and heating system, and advanced water efficiency, contribute to Taos Ski Valley’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Guests can take part in The Blake’s sustainability efforts by using the hotel’s water filling stations, which have helped reduce single-use plastic.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
Guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals and The Ritz-Carlton’s 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals, the luxury hotel brand has committed to creating a positive and sustainable impact at all of its hotels. Their principles include investing in the communities they operate in, integrating sustainability across their value chain and mitigating climate-related risks, reducing its environmental impact, and more. The Ritz-Carlton was the first Founding Partner of IMPACT 2030, a collaboration with the United Nations and other global stakeholders, which marshals corporate volunteering action to advance the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe became the brand’s first LEED certified resort, which it received in 2010. The hotel encourages guest participation, as travelers planning their trip on The Ritz-Carlton website can see both the carbon and water footprint per night of their stay.
Montage Deer Valley
Montage Deer Valley, opening in December 2010, became the first LEED certified hotel in Utah. Its sustainability commitments include diversion of over 82 percent of generated construction waste from local landfills, utilization of both regional and recycled materials, implementing energy and water efficient equipment and fixtures, green housekeeping, and sustainable purchasing and landscaping policies. Beyond the Montage Deer Valley, the town of Park City has committed to helping people travel more sustainably. Find out more in our article here.
Fairmont Chateau, Whistler
Fairmont is a part of Accor Group, which has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Sustainable initiatives include toiletry recycling, 100% elimination of plastic straws, plastic cups, and plastic water bottles, electric car charging stations, and menus that are committed to using sustainable ingredients whenever possible. Larger groups staying at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, and other Accor hotels, can utilize Accor’s net-zero carbon calculator.
Sun Valley Lodge, Sun Valley
Sun Valley’s motto is “our environment is our livelihood.” The lodge has become more eco-friendly over the years through ways like replacing older windows with thermally-insulated Low-E windows and installing interior window treatments to prevent heat loss or gain. Sun Valley installed new heating and cooling fan coil units in each guest room, and added an upgraded digital control heating and cooling controls system. Low-activity spaces are equipped with occupancy sensors to decrease the amount of energy when not in use, and low-flow plumbing and fixtures are in guest rooms and public spaces. Sun Valley’s website has a full list and description of all the ways they’ve committed to being more sustainable.
Snowbird Lodge, Snowbird
Snowbird developed a cogeneration plant that uses natural gas to produce electricity while recycling naturally occurring heat waste to warm buildings and facilities. It’s the only ski resort in North America to operate this kind of facility. Snowbird’s cogeneration plant is powering the Cliff Lodge and its 500-plus hotel rooms, 80,000 square feet of meeting space, restaurants, heated swimming pools, hot tubs, and a system of subsurface piping that melts snow and ice on walkways.