Presented by monarch mountain
Monarch Mountain leaves no trace. There is no doubt that this ski area intimately understands the territory in which it operates. They actively seek to make the environment a better place for future generations. Their core values and ideology below are strong proof of this.
Some genuinely passionate staff approached me the other day about what we are doing to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’. The one question immediately told me that we hadn’t communicated well enough to all of our constituents about what we were doing or, in most cases, what we were doing do not Make. The word Recycle is what most of us glorify when discussing how we affect the environment. I often hear other companies and even friends and family pointing out the huge piles of items they recycle. Yet what has always bothered me about this is that it’s more important to strive to reduce the amount of what needs to be recycled in the first place. Monarch, for example, is one of the last ski areas in the country that does not produce snow to operate. Take a moment to think about it. Think about the amount of water, electricity and labor required to simply make fake snow. Snowmaking also involves installing miles of pipes and large fans, all of which must be made and powered. It’s the first thing we do to reduce our footprint. We have also replaced all our lighting with LEDs to reduce our energy consumption. During our low volume periods, we have closed some of our lifts, for the same reason. Thanks to the improvements we made in 2015, our heating and air conditioning systems are fully automated and can be serviced offsite via a computer. This allows us to reduce heating needs during off-peak hours. Many of you will already know that we are currently investing over $2 million in reducing forest beetle infested trees within our border. It’s not just for aesthetics. This is to reduce the risk of forest fires by removing the easy fuel provided by dead wood. This, of course, reduces the need for firefighters to put themselves in danger as well. It was also helpful in increasing our ski terrain. Even better, we milled the dead wood and used it to build snow fences…thus restoring one of its primary purposes as a windbreak.
Wherever we can, we also try to reuse. This one is hard to do, but we do our best. We have implemented rebate initiatives for customers and employees to use their own drinking vessel to reduce the need to purchase more bottles. We encourage everyone to use our hydration stations rather than buying bottled water. The Sidewinder Saloon uses real china to reduce the need for paper plates. This proved difficult in the cafeteria environment where the volume is more difficult to follow. At the very least, those ugly disposable plates provided are made from corn products and are biodegradable. We are always looking for ways to improve here by reducing the need for a plate at all, using wraps.
Finally, we recycle more than two tons of cardboard each year. We also encourage all guests and employees to use the recycling centers we have across campus. All glass, aluminum and paper products are regularly sent to state recycling centers. Any steel or metal that has become unusable for our purposes is taken to recycling centers in Pueblo. Along with changed motor oils, we recycle all of our canola oil products used in frying and baking and use them to heat the vehicle maintenance facility. We purchased a recycled oil burner heater unit for this installation just for this purpose. Plus, we keep our grooming and touring cats from the same manufacturer so we can reuse and swap parts before having to buy new parts.
The term carbon footprint conjures up a person’s actual location, like the image of a footprint. In reality, it’s much more involved than that. When do our actions start to affect the climate? The majority of our clients, for example, come within a two-hour drive. A smaller amount comes from an 8 hour drive. Very few come from overseas or across the country and travel in large planes, rent cars, need extended housing, etc. The effect on our environment comes from when customers board their planes and/or cars and visit us, as well as the time they spend in hotels and restaurants, all of which create their own footprint. The army of marketers and salespeople employed to encourage these travelers to do all of this leaves its own mark. There’s not just one fingerprint. There are many footprints braided together. So, I would say compared to other resorts that rely on long-distance visitors, we’re doing pretty well.
Overall, although we have a significant presence, we are tiny by nature, and by design, so the footprint we leave behind is much harder to see. Our motto is to keep it simple and real. No need for heated outdoor seating or high-speed bubble chairs with heated seats. Let’s stay focused on what leaves no footprints; a ski
– Randy Stroud, General Manager of Monarch Mountain
Overall, Monarch Mountain is a premier independent ski area that practices sustainability in all aspects of its operation. Let’s face it, typical ski resorts aren’t highly regarded for their impact on the environment and these days, simple “reduce, reuse, recycle” efforts aren’t enough. However, Monarch Mountain fundamentally understands the environmental context in which it operates. They seek to do nothing to change the environment while making it a better place for future generations.