Through a new pilot program between Vail Resorts and longstanding partner Helly Hansen, decommissioned uniforms worn by trusted ski patrollers, lift operators, and instructors will take on new life this season. In support of Vail Resorts’ Commitment to Zero—achieving a zero net operating footprint by 2030, including zero waste to landfill—this professional-grade gear has been repurposed into tote bags, goggle cases, backpacks, and sport bags that can be used for many, many more seasons to come.
Allana Williams, senior sustainability manager at Vail Resorts, discusses the pilot program and what’s ahead.
How did this program come to life?
Allana: In order to reach zero waste to landfill by 2030, our strategy in order of priority is to (1) reduce waste at the source, (2) reuse and repurpose, and (3) compost and recycle. Across our resorts we are always looking for innovative ways to work with our strategic partners to make progress. We’re thrilled that Helly Hansen, our official uniform provider, is completely on board.
Over the past few years, we’ve discussed a program that will give new life on the mountain to decommissioned uniforms. So instead of going to landfill, this technical apparel is created into something entirely new. The lasting integrity of the gear makes it perfect for various ski and snowboard accessories, including goggle cases, backpacks, and bags.
What makes these upcycled accessories unique? What’s most exciting to you?
Allana: One of my favorite things about this program is that 100% of the proceeds are donated. Funds go to EpicPromise—Vail Resorts’ corporate social responsibility platform, which supports the environment through Commitment to Zero, the mountain communities where we operate, and emergency relief grants /educational scholarships for employees.
All of the accessories are made of 100% upcycled materials with no added materials. There are so many special features. For example, the pockets on the tote bags were previously pockets on uniforms. All zippers from the uniforms have been repurposed into zippers on the upcycled products. Each accessory is 100% unique and no two products are exactly the same.
Achieving zero waste to landfill by 2030 will require ongoing collaboration; this program is just one of many we’re working on with Helly Hansen and our strategic partners. We hope these ideas spark innovative sustainability solutions across the industry.
When can guests buy them?
Allana: Right now, this is a pilot program with limited products available at a few of our resorts—Vail (Helly Hansen Store, Vail Sports at the Arrabelle), Beaver Creek (Helly Hansen store), and Heavenly (Main Lodge). We are really looking forward to expanding to additional resorts with increased inventory and will keep guests posted on what’s ahead!