Date of Award:

5-2012

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Environment and Society

Advisor/Chair:

Steven W. Burr

Abstract

Enacting environmentally sustainable practices among ski resort areas within the U.S. has become an issue of mounting concern and attention. The state of Utah generates seven billion dollars a year from its tourism industry, with the majority coming from visitation to Utah’s fourteen ski resort areas. The state of Utah is highly tourism dependent and deems this sector as a central factor in the state’s economy. Thus, good environmental practices among these ski resort areas is not only important in their daily operations, but also to local community businesses and stakeholders who depend on a consistent influx of tourism dollars to remain economically viable.

The ski resort areas of Utah vary in their level of implementation, reporting, and marketing of their specific environmental practices, and initiatives. This has led to gaps in reporting by each ski resort area and a lack of understanding among local business owners and community members in regards to what current environmental efforts are being undertaken by these resort areas, as well as their plans for the future.

A qualitative study aimed at exploring the current level and future plans for the implementation of environmentally sustainable practices among Utah’s ski resort areas should help to create a more in-depth understanding of what each resort is doing to address this issue. It also serves to create a baseline summary report of the state of Utah’s ski resort area environmental practices as a whole. Fifteen key informant interviews were conducted throughout the ski resort areas of Utah with resort employees ranging from sustainability coordinators and marketing managers, to operations and budget directors. Methodologies used for the study and some of the preliminary findings are presented. These findings will focus on the current and future implementation of environmentally sustainable practices at each Utah ski resort area. Results from this study are intended to bridge the lack of communication amongst ski resort areas and local community members and businesses. This can help in creating a more interdisciplinary approach to this issue and generate new ideas and angles in approaching environmental sustainability among ski resort areas.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on October 19, 2012.

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