Sustainability

A SUSTAINABLE DESTINATION & THE WORK CONTINUES

Everyday our community is working towards a sustainable future. In your travels and adventures around the Vail Valley, help us keep this land pristine and healthy for future visitors and generations.

Protecting our environment: During your stay, remember to practice Leave No Trace principles. Vail has become a sustainable destination, so remember to pack out your trash, avoid overcrowded hiking trails and biking trails, and please avoid causing wildfires with open flames and smoking.

The town of Vail is the first Certified Sustainable Destination in the nation to have successfully met the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s (GSTC) criteria. Steps toward the certification began in 2012, when the town read GSTC’s criteria and partnered with Walking Mountains Science Center, Vail Resorts and the U.S. Forest Service, among others.

Then, they went further: They created the Mountain IDEAL sustainable destination standard, because GSTC’s criteria didn’t address problematic snow melting practices, snowmaking and the carbon footprint associated with ski resort towns.

The goal: to lower the carbon footprint of Vail, the Gore Creek watershed and Vail Mountain by 20 percent by 2020. To achieve this, the town will use electric buses, starting in 2020. They’ve also purchased renewable energy; partnered with Energy Smart Colorado to provide energy efficient services to homes; created a set of best practices to save energy in snow melting (such as placing temperature sensors in the ground, buying more efficient boilers and addressing any leaks); tightened their building codes to adhere to the International Energy Conservation Code; designated sensitive sites and wildlife habitat in need of protection; started a recycling program; placed messages by storm drains educating the public about pollutants that taint Gore Creek if dumped; and founded a cultural heritage program to archive its skiing history and the Ute culture, among other measures.

Vail continues to balance its 2.8 million (and growing) visitors with local environmental and community needs. It set a 25 percent recycle rate by 2019 and has reached that through enforcement, curbside composting and streamlining waste management services. It also aims to restore the water quality of Gore Creek and supports Vail Resorts’ commitment to a zero net operating footprint by 2030.

“The town of Vail and community partners have taken steps to embed sustainability into the des-tination’s operations, and throughout the entire visitor experience,” says Kristen Bertuglia, environmental sustainability director for the town of Vail. “As a result, tourism development in Vail happens in a manner that protects nature, improves residents’ well-being and preserves cultural heritage.”

In addition to Vail Resort’s commitment, the community’s Climate Action Plan strives to reduce greenhouse gases by 25 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050. “Certified sustainable travel destinations must have a climate adaptation plan that identifies the local risks of climate change and includes strategies for development, siting, design and management of facilities,” says Kim Landmaid, founder and consultant of sustainability at Walking Mountains.

“The real value of this is the continuous improvement,” Bertuglia says. “Once you’re certified, it’s still a journey; there are always ways to improve.”

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

Here are some tips for you to reduce your carbon footprint while visiting the Vail Valley.

  • Use a reusable water bottle. You definitely want to stay hydrated during your stay, but avoid single-use plastics when you can. Plus, we have some of the freshest tap water around so buy a souvenir water bottles and drink our fresh mountain water!
  • At your hotel, choose to not have your linens and towels washed every day. You don’t wash your towels and linens at home daily, do you?
  • Take the bus, walk or bike around town. Our in-town transportation systems are designed for you to leave the car where you parked it, and less cars on the road means cleaner air, less traffic and better views!
  • Better yet, leave the car at home. If you fly to Eagle County Airport don’t rent a car. You won’t need it when you arrive at the resort. If you are coming from Denver consider something like Epic Mountain Express, the Bustang or carpooling with friends.
  • Recycle! There are recycling bins everywhere so please use them.
  • Lights out. When you leave your hotel room or accommodations, don’t forget to turn out the lights. You wouldn’t believe what a difference this can make.
  • Eat in, don’t take out. Eating at a restaurant rather than ordering food to go lowers plastic and styrofoam containers in the trash.
  • Support Actively Green Businesses (businesses that focus on sustainability). Browse the list of businesses here.

ON THE TRAIL

  • Use Trail Etiquette — Stay on the designated trails and follow the posted signs. If you see wildlife, keep your distance to avoid stressing the animal.
  • Obey Trail Closure Signs — Many of our local trails remain closed during certain seasons to protect the wildlife during breeding season.
  • Bring Your Trash Out With You — Any user of recreation lands has a responsibility to clean up before he or she leaves. Inspect your rest areas and campsite for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash and garbage and dispose of it properly when you can.

LEAVE NO TRACE

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace provide a framework of minimum impact practices for anyone visiting the outdoors.

  1. Plan Ahead & Prepare
  2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Property
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Restaurants & Bars

In the Vail Valley, eating isn't merely sustenance - it's an important part of the lifestyle. From fine dining hotspots to casual comforts, it's not hard to find great food. Colorado is known for their locals breweries, distilleries and even wineries. Come sample a taste of Colorado and even international spirit favorites.

Activity Providers

Sure, Vail is world-renowned for its skiing and snowboarding, but the Vail Valley offers plenty beyond vast bowls of bluebird powder days and grippin' groomers. Whether you prefer your adventure water-drenched, iced, air-borne, cliff-side, cycled, motorized or snowy out mountain recreation covers it- and much, much more.

Vail Valley Events

Ski terrain and wonderful snow put the Vail Valley on the map, but it's more than just a ski resort. The calendar is packed with events that are a big part of the Vail Valley's culture. From outdoor concerts at the Ford Amphitheater to bull riding at the rodeo, it's easy to stay busy.

Visitor Information from the Locals

Teton Gravity Research film series kicks off Nov. 5th in Beaver Creek

Get stoked for powder and Metallica during the VPAC Film Series Teton Gravity Research brings six films to the Vilar Performing Arts Center in November and December  Get stoked for the coming ski and snowboard season with Teton Gravity Research’s (TGR) Film Series, which brings six films to the VPAC on eight dates in November and December. Tickets are on sale now for the series, which kicks off on Nov. 5 with “Jeremy Jones’...
Read More

Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams among artists to play in Beaver Creek this winter

***For immediate release*** With multi-day residencies in Rocky Mountain resort town, one Colorado performing arts venue is taking a unique approach to concerts in the time of COVID-19 The impact of COVID-19 on performing arts venues has created a dynamic range of reactions, with some venues closing down indefinitely while others get by with smaller shows and smaller audiences. A venue in the Rocky Mountains is taking a unique approach,...
Read More

What to Know About COVID-19 and Colorado Travel

Visit Vail Valley understands travelers may be concerned about COVID-19 and how it may affect them. We will be sharing the latest information on this page as we receive it. Eagle County Visitors The Vail Valley is welcoming visitors now. Our valley is strong and ready for you! Our community and businesses have all been working together to keep residents and visitors safe by following the protocols and guidelines provided by the CDC, state...
Read More

All Tips & Info