Author Archives: Matthew Hamilton

About Matthew Hamilton

Matthew Hamilton is Aspen Skiing Company’s (ASC) Sustainability Director. He is also the Executive Director of the Environment Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million over the past 15 years. Matthew oversees ASC's community philanthropy, and runs ASC's day-to-day environmental programs, including the monthly Greenletter, and GREENTRACK, ASC's ISO 14001 certified environmental management system. Matthew is also consultant with Aspen Sustainability Associates, and has lectured nationally and internationally on ASC's work. He currently serves as President of the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education, and on the boards of the Carbondale Tourism Council, Colorado Youth Corps Association and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Previously, Matthew was a Research Officer at The Piton Foundation, working with low income neighborhoods on issues of education reform, affordable housing and economic development. Prior to that, he worked for Share Our Strength, a national anti-hunger anti-poverty group; the Independent Sector, a national association of nonprofits and foundations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (on a project called Enterprise for the Environment), for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, and for Middlebury College. Matthew has a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Studies and Political Science from Middlebury College and a Masters in Public Policy from Georgetown University where he focused on nonprofit management. During his free time he can be found on his bike spending time enjoying many of the local trails and back roads. He lives in Carbondale, Colorado with his wife Jen, and their children Boden and Beck.

enviro-400

The Environment Foundation released four grants totaling $55,000 to Wilderness Workshop, Thompson Divide Coalition, Western Environmental Law Center and High Country News. These grants represent a continued commitment of the foundation to support responsible oil/gas development. Wilderness Workshop will Continue reading

335910_362595257142092_637521601_o

If you live in the Roaring Fork Valley I am sure you’ve heard of the Thompson Divide.  This 220,000 acre region is the center of a pitched battle where natural gas leaseholders face off against a broad based coalition of hunters, anglers, bikers, hikers, backcountry skiers, ranchers and many other Roaring Fork Valley residents, no matter their political stripes. Continue reading

enviro-400

Aspen Skiing Company’s Environment Foundation was established in 1997 to protect the local Roaring Fork Valley environment. The foundation is directed by a 15-member board of directors comprised of Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) employees. Close to 50% of ASC’s employees make donations through paycheck deductions which are matched in part by the Aspen Community Foundation, ASC Family Fund, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Coca-Cola.

Twice yearly the foundation releases approximately $100,000 in grants that support efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change, protect western lands from natural gas extraction impacts, provide local youth environmental education programming, and maintain local waterways. Other projects that impact the local environment are also supported. Grant deadlines are 3/1 and 11/1 annually and decisions are made in late-April and late-December.

Earlier this month we welcomed three new board members, Alex Kendrick (Buttermilk Ski School), Steve Hill (Snowmass Mall Alpine Shop at Four Mountain Sports), and Jess Jacobi (Marketing). We also said goodbye to three employees whose terms of service were complete – Matt Jones (Finance), Carmen Barber (Four Mountain Sports) and Stephen Luck (Snowmass Lift Maintenance). Thanks for your service over the past four years.

The Environment Foundation is much more than a grant maker.  Its primary purpose is not necessarily giving away money, but rather the process by which our board learns about and considers which projects to fund. It’s in those conversations that ASC hopes its employees learn about environmental issues facing our valley and beyond.  We hope they carry their knowledge and passion beyond their service to the foundation through volunteer and philanthropy efforts in our local community.

Because of its belief in the power of  this approach to philanthropy ASC encourages guests to donate to the Environment Foundation when staying at our hotels (The Little Nell and Limelight Hotel) and when purchasing season passes or lift tickets.  During their stays or purchase guests are asked to donate $1 to $2 to the foundation to protect the valley that is the centerpiece of their time here.

This is a caption!

Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers mobilizes over 1,000 volunteers annually to maintain local trails with support from the Environment Foundation. 

 

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) brings 350 second grade students from Basalt Elementary, Aspen Elementary, Carbondale Community School, Blue Lake Preschool, Aspen Country Day, and Sopris Elementary to Aspen Mountain each winter to learn about snow science, local animal winter adaptations, and skier safety.

Aspen/Snowmass supports this program donating 100s of footpasses for students and chaperones to ride the Silver Queen Gondola (the first time for many involved). Once atop Aspen Mountain the students  are introduced to the techniques of snowshoeing by ACES educators. The groups then explore along Richmond ridge, taking part in the “winter challenge course” where they act out various adaptations animals have and use to survive and thrive in the winter (becoming weasels and digging into the subnivian zone to look for mice and voles to eat, walking single-file through deep snow like a herd of deer, etc.) After lunch, the students learn about snow science and ski safety from the Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol. This includes avalanche study, snow safety equipment, and working with the rescue dogs as one of the “lucky” second grade students is buried and then found under the snow.

Video by Barry Stevenson – Outside Adventure Media.

Nature_Snow_in_Aspen

Nature_Snow_Extent

Nature’s Laura Morello captures the essence of the impact of climate change on winter sports. From Winter Olympics: Downhill Forecast.

  • Snowpacks continue their incessant march towards being non-existent.
  • More precipitation falls as rain.
  • Champagne powder becomes a thing of your dreams.
  • Low elevation ski areas host mountain biking year round.
  • And, there are fewer places around the world where winter is actually cold enough to host the Winter Olympics.

 

Nature_Snow_in_Aspen

DEEP_Cover

DEEP_CoverThe stories about snow in the Caucasus, t-shirts being worn at cross country events and palm tree lined boulevards in Sochi just keep coming. DEEP: The Story of Snow and the Future of Skiing written by Powder Editor Porter Fox discusses the impacts of climate change on the $66 billion ski industry.  Written accessibly, rather than like a scientific journal story, DEEP captures the essence of what is at stake for our industry.

Short on time check out Porter’s op-ed from the New York Times, “The End of Snow?. Or have a listen to Porter as he chats Diane Rehm.

The impacts of climate change extend far beyond the ski slopes, from the bread baskets of the world to large stretches of coastal lands submerged the impacts are much more significant. Ultimately, it’s not the end of skiing and winter sports that truly matters, but if it gets your attention and causes you to take action so be it.  What can you do?  Donate to Protect Our Winters, then check out their get involved page to learn about what else you can do.