Heavenly Mountain Resort Partners with The Sugar Pine Foundation to Plant 1,000 New Seedlings

01 October 2011
On Saturday October 1, 2011 -- 114 Heavenly Mountain Resort volunteers gathered at Van Sickle Bi-State Park to help restore the Gondola fire scar area as part of Vail Resorts Echo Day. Armed with gloves, shovels, sugar pine seedlings and the knowledge of proper planting techniques, volunteers planted 1,000 seedlings over a 10-acre span of the park in a little over three hours.
 
“I am proud of the Heavenly staff for their continued dedication to preserving the local environment and their willingness to give back to their local community on Echo Day and throughout the year,” said Pete Sonntag, vice president and general manager of Heavenly Mountain Resort. “We all love and appreciate the Lake Tahoe basin and want it to be as beautiful 100 years from now as it is today. We certainly hope to see these newly planted sugar pine seedlings thriving 100 years from now.”
 
The Sugar Pine Foundation is dedicated to saving Tahoe’s sugar pine trees. Since 2008, the Foundation has planted over 500 acres with over 30,000 sugar pines and other native trees to maintain Tahoe’s legacy of beautiful, healthy forests.  
 
“We are excited to partner with Heavenly and grateful for their efforts to restore some of the fire scar in the area,” said Maria Mircheva, Sugar Pine Foundation’s executive director. “Through the support of Vail Resorts Echo, we are able to kick off a series of tree planting days that will improve forest health in the area.” In total, the Sugar Pine Foundation plans to plant 10,000 seedlings this fall. 
 
The seedlings planted on Saturday, supplied by the Sugar Pine Foundation, are resistant to the invasive fungal pathogen blister rust. By planting seedlings that are resistant to the fungus, Heavenly is helping to restore the Sugar Pine species in the Lake Tahoe basin and work towards eradicating the devastating pathogen. Sugar pines are the largest pines in the world and feature the longest cone. In addition to being beautiful, these trees help keep Lake Tahoe clean by slowing erosion. They also provide important habitat for local wildlife.
 
Launched in August 2010, VR Echo Day is an annual, company-wide volunteer day for Vail Resorts employees and their families. Focused on projects that are meaningful in the local resort communities where the company operates, VR Echo Day will host 10 events for employees and their family and friends. This year’s VR Echo Day will host events on Tahoe’s South and North Shores, in Colorado’s Summit, Eagle and Pitkin Counties, along with Colorado’s Front Range, where the corporation’s headquarters is located. Smaller projects will take place in Jackson, WY; Miami, FL; Santa Fe, NM; St. Lucia and other VR Caribbean properties.

To learn more about Vail Resorts Echo, the company’s corporate sustainability program, visit www.vailresortsecho.com.
To access photos click here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/fftw9f
To access b-roll from the day click here:  files.me.com/vail.resorts/kxo3dl.mov
 
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About Vail Resorts Echo
Through its extensive environmental programs and partnerships with local non-profits, Vail Resorts Echo focuses on forest and habitat restoration, resource conservation as well as initiatives that support healthy kids and communities where the Company operates resorts. To learn more about the Company's environmental stewardship programs, how to apply for a VR Echo grant or ways to volunteer, visit www.vailresortsecho.com.
 
About Vail Resorts
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company's subsidiaries operate the mountain resort properties of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone mountain resorts in Colorado, and the Heavenly Ski Resort and Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada, and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The Company's subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort property and hotel company, manages casually elegant properties across the United States and in the Caribbean. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is
www.vailresorts.com and consumer website is www.snow.com.

About the Sugar Pine Foundation
Founded in 2004, the Sugar Pine Foundation is a South Lake Tahoe-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to save Tahoe's sugar pines and other white pines from an incurable, exotic fungus called white pine blister rust by educating and involving the local community in hands-on forest stewardship. Sugar pines are the world's largest species of pine.  They are noted for their uniquely beautiful shape and enormous cones. Sugar pines historically accounted for 25% of Tahoe's mixed-conifer forests.  Today, this "at-risk" species makes up less than 5% of the forest composition. Restoring sugar pines increases species diversity and resilience of our forests. For more information on our work and how to get involved in our plantings and cone collections, please visit www.sugarpinefoundation.org.

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