Mountain IDEAL Sustainable Destinations

Assessment and Planning Tools for Sustainable Resort, Rural, Recreation, and Gateway Communities

The Mountain IDEAL is formally recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a sustainability standard and certification program. Mountain IDEAL provides a framework of sustainable tourism criteria and performance indicators that support any mountain destination in elevating its sustainability performance, stakeholder engagement, collaboration, and recognition as a global leader.

Vail Achieves Recertification under Mountain IDEAL Standard

Breckenridge Certified as a Sustainable Mountain Resort Destination

Sustainable Tourism Training Program

What is Mountain IDEAL?

The Mountain IDEAL includes criteria based on many other accepted principles and guidelines including those developed with input from the U.N. World Tourism Organization. The criteria within Mountain IDEAL provides a framework used for education and outreach, economic development, policy development, action planning, measurement, evaluation, and as a basis for destination-level certification by a qualified auditor.

How to Become Certified

To become a certified sustainable destination a mountain resort community must meet and maintain progress on over 40 sustainability criteria including: environmental stewardship, climate change adaptation, greenhouse gas reductions, cultural heritage protection, low impact transportation, waste reduction, public health and safety, workforce housing, sustainability education, and more.

The amount of time it takes a mountain resort community to attain certification varies based on the destination's scope, boundaries, prior work on sustainability, and engagement and collaboration of stakeholders.

What Does IDEAL Stand For?

Innovation—Try something new. Support innovative local businesses. Make a difference. Celebrate & create positive change.
Diversity—Protect mountain heritage & precious wildlife. Discover how people make the community unique. Embrace natural & cultural diversity.
Education—Elevate learning experiences about ecology, economy, & social equity. Learn with others. Educate the community along the journey to sustainability.
Authenticity—Develop & seek out meaningful authentic experiences. Celebrate the special character and history of the mountain community. Enhance well-being & foster new friendships.
Leadership—Empower the community, the destination management team, local businesses, and others. Do good together. Be leaders. Lend a hand.



Latest Sustainability Blog Posts

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    If you are out and about at the Vail Farmers Market and other events in Eagle County, you might have seen the big green tents and perhaps some eager Walking Mountains Science Center staff or volunteers asking to help you with your trash. The Walking Mountain’s Sustainability “Zero-Waste” team works... Read more
    Published on: 2021-06-08
  • Types of Sustainable Destinations
    As popular tourist destinations around the country scramble to certify their holiday hubs as one of few uniquely qualified to be considered most responsible, impactful, intentional and overall, sustainable, the greater Vail destination enters a new normal with ease. Having been pronounced the first Certified Sustainable Destination in the nation... Read more
    Published on: 2021-06-01
  • Sustainable Wardrobes
    Textiles like clothes, shoes, linens and accessories are a huge and ever growing waste stream. According to a study done by RRS, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that textiles represent 6.31% of all waste in the United States, for an estimated 16.9 million tons per year. That’s a lot of... Read more
    Published on: 2021-05-25