Telski’s business expansion is the second in the past month after it announced its new property management division Telluride Resort Lodging.
“We are in the process of doing a bunch of research around the world to determine the products and the programs that would be suitable for Telluride,” Telski CEO Dave Riley said on Friday. Riley said he couldn’t give specific examples of what kind of activities Telluride Ecotourism would provide but cited zip line tours, backcountry yurt trips and overnight hikes as possibilities.
“If you look at some ecotourism initiatives in places like African Sahara, Costa Rica and the Hawaiian Islands, there are some really interesting operations that include these kind of experiences,” Riley said. “We think it will be a great fit for Telluride. If ecotourism can’t work here, I am not sure where it could work. We have such an incredible setting.”
According to a Sept. 19 press release, the ski resort will follow the criteria set out by the International Ecotourism Society including minimizing impact; building and respecting environmental and cultural awareness; providing positive experiences for both visitors and hosts; providing direct financial benefits for conservation; and providing financial benefits and empowerment for full-time residents.
In 1990, The International Ecotourism Society defined ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”
“A growing number of travelers and tourists wish to walk the path of ecotourism, and we intend to provide them with the opportunity to do so in Telluride,” Riley said. “We hope to be opening operations next summer. We view this as a long-term, multi-year initiative. Our products and services will evolve over time.”
The Telluride Ski Area has already received a number of environmental awards including the Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence in 2002, and the Regional Forester’s “Caring for the Land” Stewardship Award and the Silver Eagle Award for Fish and Wildlife Habitat Production in 2006.
“This is not a new idea,” Riley said. “A lot of people have been talking about having ecotourism as part of what we offer here. We are taking that idea and running with it.”
For more information on ecotourism and Telski, visit www.tellurideskiresort.com.