Shoutout to Mother Nature
Protecting the Environment Is a Year-Round Job at Sierra!
The ski and snowboard industry is more than recreation. It is an institution built on the premise of preservation, conservation and protection of the environment. Sierra-at-Tahoe takes this responsibility very seriously. From day-to-day operations to long term planning, Sierra-at-Tahoe’s commitment to the environment is evident around every turn.
What Sierra is Doing
CHECK IT OUT! Committed to sustainability and the environment, Sierra-at-Tahoe is excited to announce a partnership with Vapur®, makers of the flexible, reusable and eco-responsible “Anti-Bottle.” The partnership will support Project: Green Sierra, the resort’s initiatives for economically friendly and sustainable ski resort operations. Sierra-at-Tahoe has installed four Vapur Refill Stations around the resort to help keep guests healthy and hydrated, as well as selling the reusable “Anti-Bottle” in retail and at food and beverage outlets throughout the season, while reducing the waste of single-use water bottles.
To date, the Vapur Refill Stations have saved an estimated 2,815,000 single-use plastic bottles from being disposed of in landfills. The Sierra-Vapur Hydration Program launched on October 9th, the day of Sierra-at-Tahoe’s annual Keep Sierra Clean Day, which encourages members of the community to help clean up the mountain of trash before the season begins.
Employees at Sierra have created PROJECT: GREEN SIERRA in order to bring the mountains myriad eco-friendly initiatives under one umbrella and create synergies between the many departments. PROJECT: GREEN SIERRA encompasses mountain-wide efforts on behalf on the environment, both new and established, and looks to the National Ski Areas Association Sustainable Slopes Environmental Charter for guidance.
On January 8, 2010, we received our first shipment of B5 Biodiesel from Bently Biofuels. We run all of our heavy machinery on diesel fuel including the grooming fleet, snow plow, telehandler, grader, snow blowers and a mule so the switch to Biodiesel has had an immediate impact on our mountain operations.
In 2010-11, we used 105,758 gallons of Biodiesel. And we've closed the loop by sending 750 gallons of used veggy oil back to Bently Biofuels for Biodiesel production!
Sierra-at-Tahoe was awarded a Silver Eagle for Environmental Education – one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a winter resort - by the NSAA for its 2009 initiatives including a bottlecap recycling program with local elementary schools, Keep Sierra Clean day which annually removes more than 2,000 pounds of trash off the mountain, and Environmental Awakening, a video segment produced by legendary snowboard photographer Ian Ruhter for the inaugural TransWorld Team Shoot Out (check out the trailer here).
This is the second Environmental Education Silver Eagle Award we have won - the other was in 2006 for the interactive Adventure Zones that teach children about the history and ecology of the region. And in 1996, we were awarded the Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence.
Highlights of Our Year-Round Commitment
- We used recycled material to rebuild a roof-top deck above our main lodge during the summer of 2007 and above Grandview Lodge during the summer of 2008.
- We replaced carpet in the main lodge with a carpet that is 25% recycled and has a 100% recycled backing. The new carpet has a Cradle-to-Cradle certification.
- We employ an eco-friendly cleaning service each summer to clean all employee uniforms.
- Waste water from the Vehicle Maintenance shop is sent through a 3-stage cleaning process with an activated carbon filter prior to leaving the shop.
- No chlorinated solvents are used at the mountain.
- We have changed out all the light bulbs at the mountain to CFL and LED bulbs.
- We maintain a policy of no idling in company vehicles and request that our guests do the same.
- We recycle everything from our offices as well as our operations, including paper, ink and toner cartridges, motor oil, cardboard, glass, plastic, etc.
- We use bulk dispensers for condiments in our restaurants and for soap and paper towels in our bathrooms to minimize packaging waste.
- We have switched from paper paychecks for employees to paycards, eliminating the use of more than 2,000 pieces of paper per month.
- We purchase 100% eco-friendly disposable products for our restaurants, which recycle at a rate of 1:1.
- We offer complimentary daily shuttles to both guests and employees to reduce vehicle trips to the mountian.
- Guests who drive hybrid vehicles to Sierra can park for free. In 08-09, 610 hybrid vehicles parked in Preferred Parking for free.
- We offer carpooling resources on our web site so guests can find other guests and share a ride to the mountain.
- We are working with local school and community groups to continuously develop relevant programs for local children.
- Our Children’s Ski School focuses its programs on environmental education. We have won awards from NSAA for these programs.
- In the spring of 2008, we sponsored a number of E-waste collection events that gathered thousands of pounds of electronic waste for recycling.
- During the 08-09 season, we worked with Aveda™ to recycle plastic bottle tops, gathering 17 33-gallon trash bags full of plastic bottle tops for recycling.
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