New Report Blasts Ski Industry’s Voluntary Environmental Program

The National Ski Areas Association unveiled its voluntary Sustainable Slopes Program in 2000 with great fanfare. “Regulations only help you avoid the worst,” said NSAA’s Geraldine Link, “and a voluntary program like this can only bring out the best in terms of environmental compliance.” Uh … not so much. A new study concludes that not only is the program ineffective, due to its lack of outside oversight and mandatory policies, but those ski resorts that have signed on to the program actually have poorer environmental records than those that haven’t. Program participants “appear to be displaying free-riding behavior expecting to improve their ‘green’ reputation without actually implementing it,” say the study’s authors, professors Jorge Rivera and Peter de Leon. They also blast the U.S. Forest Service and EPA for supporting the program, saying their imprimatur lends credibility to a program that doesn’t seem to deserve it.