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Skier and Snowboarder Motivations and Knowledge Related to Voluntary Environmental Programs at an Alpine Ski Area

Abstract

Many alpine ski areas have recently adopted voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) such as using recycling, renewable energy, and biofuels to help reduce their environmental impacts. Studies have addressed the performance of these VEPs in mitigating environmental impacts of this industry, but little is known about visitor awareness and perceptions of these programs. This article addresses this knowledge gap by exploring skier and snowboarder knowledge of VEPs at a ski area and the influence of these programs on their motivations to visit this area currently and behavioral intentions to visit again in the future. Data were obtained from an onsite survey at the Mt. Bachelor ski area in Oregon, USA (n = 429, 89.7% response rate). Few skiers and snowboarders were knowledgeable of VEPs at this area and fewer than 20% were motivated to visit on their current trip because of these programs. Other attributes such as scenery, snow conditions, and access were more important for influencing visitation. Up to 38% of skiers and snowboarders, however, intend to visit this ski area more often if it adopts and promotes more VEPs. Managers can use these results to inform communication and marketing of their environmental programs and performance to visitors. Additional implications for management and future research are discussed.

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Acknowledgments

The authors thank Dave Rathbun, Alex Kaufman, and all other personnel at the Mt. Bachelor ski area in Oregon for helping to facilitate this study. The Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University provided additional support for this research.

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Correspondence to Mark D. Needham.

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Little, C.M., Needham, M.D. Skier and Snowboarder Motivations and Knowledge Related to Voluntary Environmental Programs at an Alpine Ski Area. Environmental Management 48, 895 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-011-9734-0

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Keywords

  • Motivations
  • Knowledge
  • Intentions
  • Environmental programs
  • Ski areas