Monarch environmental record gets a “D” but report penalizes expanding ski areas

The Ski Area Citizens Coalition has given Monarch Ski & Snowboard Area a ‘D’ for their environmental practices. The Coalition’s 2013 report centers solely on environmental concerns not the quality of winter sports or conditions of facilities.

Monarch’s low grade was the result of its current proposed expansion of its ski area, its renewable energy, and energy efficiency policies. However Monarch’s low grade might be attributed to the Coalition’s position on whether or not ski areas should grow.

The SACC believes the expansion of ski areas far outpaces the demand and popularity of winter sports and use of the areas. To SACC the ski areas are gaining more acres not more users. Each of the Colorado ski areas with D grades — Loveland, Breckenridge, Eldora and Monarch — are planning for expansion.

Read how SACC grades ski areas

According to the report, Monarch has not done enough to take advantage of green technologies such as using biodiesel, wind and solar energy.

The ski area also lost points because it did not support greener energy policies in-line with SACC’s environmental policies.

Monarch was given good marks for its initiative to protect environmentally sensitive areas, protecting its watershed and conserving water.

According to KOAA, Monarch spokesman Greg Ralph called the groups views “extreme” and “They don’t really communicate with any of the ski areas that are in that supposed survey. It’s basically they’re releasing their opinions.”

The spokeswoman for Vail Resorts echoed Monarch’s position in the Denver Post, “We find the survey to be nonscientific, and it focuses primarily on real estate and ski-area development instead of placing high values on important areas of environmental stewardship,”

The ski areas in Colorado that received the highest marks were:
* Aspen Highlands(6th highest)
* Aspen Mountain Sky (7th highest)

The ski areas that received the lowest grades were:
* Breckenridge Ski Resort (2nd lowest)
* Steamboat Ski & Resort (3rd lowest)
* Monarch Ski and Snow (4th lowest)
* Eldora Mountain Resort (5th lowest)

Read the full report

Update: A spokeswomen for the Ski Area Citizens Coalition responded to PULP by saying if Monarch expanded on “already disturbed lands, they [Monarch] would not have been penalized.”

She also provided PULP with clarification on Monarch’s claim the claim is purely subjective.

“Part of the score is based upon forest service data, which is based upon acreage and governmental assessments- that is not subjective. The only subjective aspect may come from the self reports, we can only grade upon what is provided to us by the ski areas. So if there is subjectivity, it comes from what is given to us by the resorts or not given to us by the resorts. And most of what resorts report on is based upon percentages.”

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