Ski-resort grades on the incline

Squaw Valley tops list of green ski resorts

West Coast ski resorts have improved their environmental ratings for the fourth year in a row, according to the 2010/2011 Ski Area Environmental Report Card.

The annual report, released by the Ski Area Citizens Coalition (SACC), grades resorts on such things as energy and water efficiency, land development and public transportation. Over the last four years, many resorts have made substantial improvements through eco-friendly efforts such as switching to solar power, installing energy-efficient windows and hesitating to expand or add new slopes.

However, the SACC and the Sierra Nevada Alliance, another grassroots organization, have expressed concern that environmental efforts might lose momentum if the economy starts to improve.

“We’re concerned the environmental trend may be a matter of economic convenience rather than a long-term commitment to resource preservation,” said Richard McIntyre, campaigns director for Sierra Nevada Alliance.

Squaw Valley USA in Tahoe topped the top 10 list of California resorts with a grade of 89.2 percent; Alpine Meadows (also in Tahoe) placed third with 86.2 percent. For the full report, visit