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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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Reducing waste at Mt Hotham

The following update on efforts to reduce the amount of rubbish going into landfill at Mt Hotham comes from the Resort Management Board:

‘Hotham’s pristine environment is a key reason people visit year after year, and it’s the responsibility of the Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board (MHARMB) to protect this precious place. Over the past two decades MHARMB has worked to reduce the amount of rubbish exiting the resort into landfill. From 2002 to 2010 an active recycling program saw the amount of collected compacted recyclables double, and from 2010 to 2017 the amount of annual waste sent to landfill reduced by 112.5 tonnes.

The Chaser’s War on Waste has helped bring the issue of waste and its impact on the environment to the notice of everyone, but Australia continues to be to among the most wasteful nations in the developed world. However, Hotham is doing its bit in this battle and even as visitation grows year on year, the resort continues to reduce the amount of rubbish it puts into landfill.

Here on the mountain, MHARMB provides transparent red bags for municipal waste, clear bags for recycling and ‘Livin Bin’ green containers with opaque compostable liners for organics and food waste. In winter garbage is collected every day, with all waste from around the mountain taken to the recycling shed where it is sorted. The transparent red bags recently replaced opaque black bags to allow collection staff to identify and remove any items that can be recycled rather than be placed in landfill.

The empty plastic bags and all cardboard is baled and recycled by the garbage team, while co-mingled recycle items are sent to Tambo Waste near Bairnsdale. General trash is sent to the resort’s landfill site at Cobungra, while food waste is put in skips until full and are then delivered to the Cobungra facility to be composted. The compost is then used for revegetation programs.

Batteries are taken by MHARMB too (via collection bin in the MHARMB office), and cigarette butts are collected from butt bins; both are sent for recycling while the resort’s hard waste collection has recently expanded to include e-waste. Additionally, foam boxes are collected, stored and at the end of the ski season taken to Albury Transfer Station where they are chipped and melted into blocks for reuse – last year half a tonne of foam left the resort.

Bev Lawrence David FThese are the main collection streams on the mountain but there are also many other items gathered and recycled by individuals, lodges and even Hotham Kids Club. Many of these initiatives have been kickstarted by MHARMB’s Environmental Officer Bev Lawrence (pictured here at the recent Backcountry Festival), a local icon who is passionate about reducing waste to preserve our fragile environment.

“Landfill is filling up and if we don’t slow it we’re just going to go under with rubbish. If something can be recycled or reused rather than being put into the ground – great,” Bev said. “People who get involved in recycling tend to see the long-term picture and the garbage team here at Hotham is really passionate and very committed to what they do.”

Bev says people often don’t believe the effort the resort goes to reduce solid waste and to dispel any myths, she runs tours of the recycling shed for anyone wanting to learn more. If you are interested in a tour of the Hotham recycling centre you can email Bev at environmental@mthotham.com.au.

 

Continue reading “Reducing waste at Mt Hotham”

Please make a submission to the VIC alpine resorts strategic plan

The Victorian Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council (ARCC) is developing a new alpine resorts strategic plan entitled “Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan (2019) – responding to a changing climate”. The preparation of an Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan is a requirement under the Alpine Resorts (Management) Act 1997 and will be informed by the review of the existing Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan, completed by Council in 2017.

You can make a submission to this process. But time is short, with the submission process closing on March 19.

Continue reading “Please make a submission to the VIC alpine resorts strategic plan”

Vail Resorts to Acquire Falls Creek and Hotham Ski Resorts

After months of speculation, it has been confirmed that Vail Resorts will acquire Mt Hotham and Falls Creek resorts. They bought Perisher resort in 2015.

It should be noted that ‘The acquisition, which is subject to certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close prior to the commencement of the Australian snow season in June 2019.’

The following media release comes from Mt Hotham resort:

Continue reading “Vail Resorts to Acquire Falls Creek and Hotham Ski Resorts”

Outdoor and snowsports industries stand united against climate change

The Trump administration’s sustained attacks on conservation areas in the USA has mobilised the outdoor industry in unprecedented ways. Now the key forces in the outdoor and snow sports industries – the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) have joined forces to step up action on climate change solutions.

Continue reading “Outdoor and snowsports industries stand united against climate change”

Vail resorts to buy Hotham and Falls Creek?

Snow news website Snow Brains is reporting that Vail Resorts is planning to buy Victoria’s Mount Hotham and Falls Creek ski resorts for about $120 million to ‘expand its global offering of resorts’.  The original story appeared in the Australian Financial Review.

According to Snow Brains, ‘The company sees the southern-hemisphere market as a way to tap the fast-growing market of Chinese skiers that has the potential to supercharge the global skiing industry’. Continue reading “Vail resorts to buy Hotham and Falls Creek?”

Climate change impacts on ski resorts in the USA

Climate science makes it abundantly clear that winter as we know it is coming to an end. Despite the evidence, the global community – as a whole – continues as if everything is fine. The climate change negotiations that have been underway in Poland had progress blocked by key oil producing nations and those led by climate deniers, like Saudi Arabia, the USA and Russia. Yet there was barely any reaction from the community as vested interests put their profits ahead of the planet.

Denial does not make the problem go away. The evidence keeps building up, like this recent work looking at climate change impacts on ski resorts in the USA.

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10 US-based ski resorts showing the way on sustainability

We all know that ski resorts have a large environmental footprint. As Outside magazine recently noted, ‘with sprawling mountainside villages, water-guzzling snow machines, and high-powered chairlifts, it’s no secret operating a ski resort can be a dirty business.”

Here in Australia some resorts have taken small steps to reduce their impact, but its still fairly dismal when you consider their overall operations. Outside have recently listed the best 10 US-based resorts when it comes to environmental responsibility. While the bigger resorts that come with having a much larger population have greater financial capacity to change their operations, these examples do provide some ideas for any resorts here who are serious about taking their environmental and climate responsibilities seriously.

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Aspen resort steps up its activism

Colorado-based ski resort Aspen recently launched a new activist campaign, called Give A Flake, which invites skiers and non-skiers alike to speak out against climate change inaction. It has a number of online tools that help people to easily contact their elected officials and pressure them to act on climate change.

Under the banner of ‘Protect Your Passion. Join the Movement’, Aspen says ‘Sometimes caring about an issue isn’t enough. You have to do something. It’s time to turn our concern about climate change — and yours — into action’.

USA residents can use the Give A Flake website to find out where the elected officials in their area stand on climate change. Then, via Twitter, users can tweet at their local leaders with images and statements that Aspen Skiing Co. has already curated.

Now they’ve taken another step, by inserting campaign postcards into outdoor magazines. The idea is that people will then send these to key politicians, urging them to act decisively on climate change issues. As the mid term elections in the USA get closer, more and more people, organisations and businesses are encouraging people to get out and vote (Patagonia have even taken the unusual position of endorsing two candidates).

Continue reading “Aspen resort steps up its activism”

Aspen skiing company launches climate activism campaign

This is a great bit of leadership from Aspen Skiing Company. They have recently unrolled a new activist campaign, called Give A Flake, which invites skiers and non-skiers alike to speak out against climate change inaction, with the launch of a variety of online tools that help activists easily contact their elected officials.

Under the banner of ‘Protect Your Passion. Join the Movement’, Aspen says ‘Sometimes caring about an issue isn’t enough. You have to do something. It’s time to turn our concern about climate change — and yours — into action’.

Continue reading “Aspen skiing company launches climate activism campaign”

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