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Current Practices

Current Practices

In  order for Canyons to set a path for success, we needed to first examine the organization’s existing conditions.  What resources are were we using and what are were the environmental and financial impacts?  Where are were we making a positive impact and how can could we improve upon what we are doing?  By analyzing our current practices we can identify areas of opportunity. 

Since 1997 Canyons has made some marked achievements in regards to Resort Sustainability.  

Our achievements will be amplified as we implement our strategies and reach our goals. There will be more stories to write about and additional opportunities as we grow and we will capitalize on the opportunity to tell them to both our Guides and Guests.  We will then reset and rise to the opportunity to meet new goals. Sustainability will always be a journey for Canyons, not just a destination.   

Resort Food and Beverage
The Food and Beverage team has made great efforts to reduce their amount of waste and they have become a leader in the community by demonstrating the importance of buying locally. Our Food and Beverage program was one of the first in the area to work with the Summit County Beef organization, hand selecting meat from local farmers. Our team has also worked with a number of local growers to procure their herbs, vegetables, and dairy products.  The Farm restaurant has been the recipient of a numerous awards featuring their farm-to-table concept. 

Ski resorts are often faced with the task of managing waste in challenging and remote environments with as little financial and environmental impact as possible.  As recently as 2002, Canyons recycled zero percent of its waste.   Recycling efforts advanced in 2007 with the investment in a cardboard baler for the Grand Summit Hotel.  Due to the large amounts of cardboard waste produced by the resort, we were able to pay off purchase cost of the baler in less than a year; we receive approximately $50 per baleand continue to invest funds received from the baler in additional sustainability projects.  As a result Canyons has reduced trash pickups at the Grand Summit Hotel, which has produced a fuel savings.   As of May 2012 we have implemented recycling programs in all on- mountain restaurants, at a majority of the ski lifts, in the resort village and restaurants, events, and in all back-of-the-house areas.    We have also partnered with The Colony to provide recycling for the south end of the resort.  The on-mountain Food and Beverage team have become resort leaders in recycling.  They have integrated the necessity of recycling into their operational culture not only from a sustainability point of view but have also demonstrated that reducing the waste stream can be a cost saving.  The village restaurants are also challenged in ways to handle their waste stream.  The village restaurant managers, especially the team from The Farm, were innovative in creating systems to ensure they were recycling a majority of their material.  They invented the system themselves and have incorporated a training program for their Guides to ensure the recycling program would be successful for years to come.    The Farm’s end goal is to be the first Zero Waste Restaurant in Utah .

NSAA Sustainable Slopes Grant
An additional benefit of being member of National Ski Areas Association and their Sustainable Slopes Program is the ability to apply for annual grants towards sustainability initiatives at the ski resort.  The grants are awarded to ski resorts’ programs that address climate change and that also have an educational component to the projectwhile educating others.  Canyons had applied each year since the inception of the program (2008) but had not been successful until recently.  In May of 2012, we were awarded a $5000 grant for a solar project on the Tombstone Patrol shack.  The energy savings will be 2200 kwhs of electricity per year or 1.5 tons of carbon.  Although it is a small project, the location of the Tombstone Patrol shack is in an incredibly high traffic area promoting visibility and educational opportunities project is a great start in educating our guests and employees about our commitment to energy savings and a catalyst to similar projects in the future.  

Ski Areas Citizens Report Card
The Ski Area Citizens Coalition creates an annual report card called the Ski Area Citizens Report Card, which is a voluntary report in which ski resorts throughout the country can participate in.  The report is a detailed examination of a company’s business practices and affects on the environment.  In previous years we had received either C’s or D’s.  In 2012 we were recognized for our achievements and received a B.

Rocky Mountain Power Incentives
Our local power utility provider is Rocky Mountain Power.  RMP provides a number of incentive programs for reducing our power consumption.  Canyons is has capitalized on this opportunity by performing energy audits of all resort facilities including chairlifts, snowmaking facilities, lodging and office facilities.  We have modified both existing construction and new construction to be more energy efficient while making less impact on the energy grid.  Our most notable achievements have been in our snowmaking operations as a result of installing energy efficient snowmaking guns, installing variable frequency drives on motors, and installing cooling towers.  Canyons also addressed the heat loss that was occurring in the Lift Operation houses by installing automated heater control.

Wind Power
Canyons has been a participant in the Rocky Mountain Blue Sky program.  This program allows companies to purchase alternative energy through their power provider.  We contribute an additional 5% of the balance of our monthly power bill to alternative energy,. Specifically wind power.  The funding goes directly to the wind farm and research of alternative energy in the intermountain west.  The production of electricity by these wind farms goes directly into Rocky Mountain Power’s grid.  As companies increase their contribution to programs such as these, the demand for alternative power will increase thus lowering the demand for coal and coal fired plants, a large contributor to air pollution in Utah.

Snowmobile Fleet
Our current snowmobile fleet consists of a mix of 2 stroke and 4 stroke snowmobiles.  4 stroke snowmobiles not only produce less carbon emissions but also require less maintenance and therefore reducing the use of oils and lubricants.  In 2012, Canyons will convert the entire fleet to 100% 4-stroke snowmobiles.  We will be the only ski resort in Utah to have their entire fleet consist of 4 strokes.

Coca Cola Partnership
Coca-Cola has been a responsible partner in promoting Canyons Sustainability efforts.  They have provided 100 event recycling containers at no charge and have provided support in advancing our sustainability programs at the resort by sending the Sustainability Director from their corporate office in Atlanta, GA to conduct a complete recycling audit and report of their recommendations.  Among some of the recommendations outlined, a number of them have been implemented (additional recycling containers in the village, Red Pine Lodge, Sun Lodge, and the implementation of an in -room recycling program for lodging properties.

No Idle Policy
Canyons adopted a No Idling Policy in 2010.  The objective was to provide cleaner air for our guests and guides, leading to an enhanced experience, and resulting in a reduction in fuel use and costs. 

Community Outreach
Canyons has been a partner and supporter to a number of non-profits in the community.  Each year Canyons donates over $3000 in bin sponsorship and donations to Recycle Utah, the local conservation entity in Park City.  The resort has two active Senior and Management level staff members on the current board of Recycle Utah.  Canyons is also a partner to Summit County Land Conservancy, a local non-profit that purchases and protects conservation easements on behalf of the public.