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Play Forever

Image: Otto Solberg

Author: Hilary Arens

Published Date: 06/28/2022

Read Time: 3 Minutes

The environment has mattered to Snowbird since the beginning. “My understanding is that Dick Bass had big visions of where he wanted the resort to go,” said Hilary Arens, Director of Sustainability and Water Resources, “but he didn’t want it to be at the expense of the environment.”

At Snowbird, we intend to Play Forever, and we believe we have a responsibility to keep Dick Bass' vision and do everything we can to protect the places we love to ski, ride and hike. It is through our Play Forever corporate responsibility commitment that we strive to protect the environment and support our local communities. We do this by making measurable improvements to our operations annually by reducing waste and carbon emissions and improving air and water quality.

Snowbird in the summer

Here's What We've Been Up To Lately

  • The new and improved Snowbird Power Systems was completed in 2021, significantly reducing the mountain’s carbon emissions. In 1986, Snowbird became the nation’s first and only ski resort to build a combined heat and power cogeneration plant to reduce the resort’s reliance on coal.
  • In the spring of 2021, Snowbird began a composting program at the resort. Since then, we have diverted almost 60,000 pounds of food away from the landfill and have converted the methane produced in decomposition back into energy on the power grid. You can learn more at wasatchresourcerecovery.com.
  • Through our Play Forever Wednesdays, we were able to raise over $43,000 this past winter to donate to nonprofit organizations focused on increasing participation, environmental stewardship and local relief.

Annual Little Cottonwood Canyon Cleanup

Each Spring, Snowbird and the Town of Alta organize the Little Cottonwood Canyon Cleanup. This year, volunteers collected trash from Highway 210, improving watershed health and keeping our canyon beautiful.

Annual Invasive Weed Pull

Last fall, we harvested wildflower seeds with Cottonwood Canyons Foundation from flowers at Snowbird, then germinated and grew them over this past winter, and planted 100 genetically native wildflowers at Snowbird this spring.

This summer, we have already collected almost 250 pounds of invasive noxious weed species from around Snowbird and will continue to pull weeds all summer.  

About the Author

Hilary Arens is Snowbird’s Director of Sustainability and Water Resources. She has a Masters in Watershed Science from Colorado State University and worked at the Utah Division of Water Quality as the watershed coordinator for Utah Lake and Jordan River basins. Her focus at Snowbird is to help guide the resort towards reducing carbon emissions and waste, improve water and air quality in Little Cottonwood and American Fork Canyons, and provide education and advocacy opportunities to guests and employees.

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