Mountain IDEAL Celebrates Five Destinations on Green Destinations Top 100 List

Bobby Chappell

Each year the tourism industry awaits in anticipation for the Green Destinations Top 100 Stories list. This annual competition is organized by Green Destinations and celebrates international destinations that have notably practiced sustainability best practices. Through these winning stories, destinations can be inspired and discover ideas of how to begin or improve on their stewardship efforts. 

An international team of experts reviewed submitted stories, grading destinations on quality, transferability, innovation, and core sustainability practices. Stories were identified by categories including, destination management solutions, culture & tradition, and environment & climate. 

This year, Mountain IDEAL is excited to announce that five of its destination partners have been featured on the Green Destinations Top 100 list including – Aspen, Breckenridge, Durango, Park City, and Vail. With guidance and support from Mountain IDEAL, these winning destinations were able to  overcome challenges and maximize opportunities for destination stewardship success.

Continue reading to learn how Aspen, Breckenridge, Durango, Park City and Vail have created positive changes in their communities by championing Mountain IDEAL’s stewardship standards. 

The creative energy in Aspen, Colorado combined with its beautiful backdrop inspires year-round arts and cultural events. However, it can be challenging to balance climate initiatives and educate a large number of visitors on stewardship best practices when hosting these events. 

Aspen took a multi-pronged approach to combat these programming challenges. They investigated alternative technologies to successfully host the events, such as LED lighting and solar panels. From a visitor standpoint, festival partners worked with Ever Green Zero Waste to operate events within the city’s Z-Green requirements. Additionally, they engaged artists, community partners, and local media to host events and art that sparked conversations and ideas around combating climate change. 

Learn more about these programming stewardship methods in Aspen’s Green Destinations Top 100 story submission. 


Breckenridge, Colorado: Inspiring Fewer Cars

The Opportunity 

Conveniently located 2-4 hours from metro areas, Breckenridge, Colorado is a popular mountain destination for Colorado visitors and residents. Combined with outdoor recreation, cultural experiences, and popular events, traffic and congestion during peak seasons can quickly become overwhelming for the limited number of streets. 

The Solution 

To help combat these infrastructure issues, the Town of Breckenridge developed several management plans to encourage “More Boots and Bikes, Less Cars.” To inspire change among residents and visitors, the destination launched the Breck E-Ride, an EV Car Share Program, and supported a mass transit program to bring skiers from Denver’s Front Range to various ski areas. Working with the Breckenridge Tourism Office, the town of Breckenridge was able to amplify its messaging and share sustainability best practices. 

Read this Green Destinations Top 100 story submission to learn more about how Breckenridge is implementing its management plans.


Durango, Colorado: Listening to Locals

The Opportunity 

Durango, Colorado, located in La Plata County, is a cultural destination, inspiring tourism and world-class outdoor recreation. The county is home to a diverse group of people, cultures, and ethnicities. Visit Durango wanted to ensure that tourism efforts enhanced residents’ lives by aligning destination goals with local businesses and community members’ needs. 

The Solution 

By launching the Listening to Locals campaign, Durango was able to receive community engagement around their destination master plan. By working with partner organizations, leading workshops, and hosting interviews, they developed an inclusive framework to foster a sustainable destination for residents and visitors. 

Read Durango’s Green Destinations Top 100 Story submission to uncover the lessons they learned from their community engagement tactics.  

Park City, Utah:  Green Business Program

The Opportunity 

Outdoor recreation, legacy events, and easy access from the state capital make Park City a popular destination for residents and visitors. In 2016, Recycle Utah launched as a non-profit focused on developing a green business program for the Park City community. However, due to limited capacity and resources, the program was unable to scale effectively. 

The Solution 

To help businesses adapt the program, the Green Business Advisory Committee was formed. This group of passionate community members and businesses helped revamp the program to focus on five areas of sustainability. Additionally, the committee developed best practice resources and rebates to encourage businesses to promote the program and participate. 

Learn more about the impacts of Recycle Utah in Park City’s Green Destinations Top 100 story submission. 

Vail, Colorado: A Roadmap Shaped by 3,000 Voices

The Opportunity 

Tourism is the economic lifeblood of Vail, Colorado with 2.5 million annual visitors compared to just under 5,000 residents. Consistently ranked as one of the most visited ski resorts in North America, its popularity as a destination has led to unprecedented visitor pressures including housing shortages.

The Solution 

These growing concerns inspired the development of Vail’s Stewardship Roadmap, the first comprehensive destination management plan for the Town of Vail. In addition to working with leading tourism organizations and conducting independent research, Vail held community engagement sessions - garnering over 3,000 responses from residents, workers and community members. These voices helped identify roadmap priorities and formed a destination strategy that supports its residents and visitors.  

Read Vail’s Green Destinations Top 100 story submission to learn their key takeaway from this destination stewardship initiative. 

Your Destination’s Stewardship Story

Want to evaluate your destination’s stewardship and sustainability performance? Complete this free self-assessment to identify areas of opportunity. 

Launched in 2016, Mountain IDEAL is a destination stewardship program offered through the Walking Mountains Science Center. Stewardship programming has been developed specifically for resort, rural, recreation, and gateway communities with standards formally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).