O'Donnell Wins Industry Achievement Award

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SAM Magazine-Whistler, B.C., Mar. 30, 2007-The Mountain Travel Symposium (MTS) has named Patrick O'Donnell, former president of Aspen Skiing Company, the winner of its first Mountain Travel Industry Achievement Award for his long-time activism and leadership in environmental protection in the ski industry and his "unique and especially meaningful contributions to the mountain travel industry."

"His vision, leadership, and unflagging support of forward-looking and creative solutions have set a standard of excellence in the ski industry that will serve as a model for years, if not decades," says Ralf Garrison, co-founder and partner of MTS. The organization credits O'Donnell for fostering greater environmental awareness and activism in the ski industry by championing the notion that business in general, and ski resorts in particular, have a role and a responsibility to take proactive steps to help stave off the increasingly damaging impacts of global warming.

During his tenure as CEO of Aspen, O'Donnell formed the first environmental affairs department in the ski industry. Among the area's initiatives: it was one of the first to purchase wind-power energy credits (and to offset 100 percent of its electrical use), and an early adopter of biodiesel for its grooming vehicles.

O'Donnell encouraged the creation of the employees' independent, non-profit Environment Foundation in 1997. Through payroll deductions, the employees fund various environmental causes in the Roaring Fork Valley. In the Foundation's 10 years, more than 1600 participating employees have contributed more than $1 million to environmental initiatives.

These initiatives (and others) have been widely recognized. Since 1994, when Times Mirror Magazines initiated the Golden Eagle awards (now administered by NSAA), Aspen has earned the top prize five times-more than any other resort.

MTS will formally present the award on Apr. 18 during the Mountain Travel Symposium here.