Snowbird’s Green Commitment

Since its inception, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort has been committed to environmental stewardship. Snowbird’s environmental achievements range from improving wildlife habitat and water quality to resort-wide recycling programs and a groundbreaking effort to clean up heavy metals contaminating the American Fork River. 

Snowbird’s ongoing commitment to be environmentally sound and aware was noted by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) awarding Snowbird the 2007 Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence by a ski resort.

  • Along with partners Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service and Tiffany & Co., Snowbird made history by becoming the first private landowner in Utah to help fund a mining-era clean-up effort to eliminate tailings that was affecting the American Fork watershed.
  • In addition to the Golden Eagle award, Snowbird’s participation in the Pacific Mine reclamation project was recognized with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Environmental Achievement Award and the State of Utah’s 2007 Earth Day Award. Snowbird was also nominated for the 2007 Silver Eagle award for Excellence in Visual Impact for the Peruvian Tunnel construction and received a 2008 Silver Eagle finalist nomination for Excellence in Water Conservation and Water Quality for its Pacific Mine restoration project.

Efforts recently initiated include company-wide replacement of energy-wasting light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs and heater upgrades that significantly reduce electricity consumption.

Snowbird implemented motor upgrades and controls for building heaters that reduce electricity consumption by 1,460,500 kilowatt hours per year.

  • The Snowbird Center lighting project replaced old incandescent bulbs and T12 fluorescent fixtures with new CFLs and premium T8s cutting power consumption by 67%.
  • Snowbird is testing B20 biodiesel in some on-road machinery to reduce emissions, providing a healthier environment for our guests and all downstream life.
  • Snowbird implemented motor upgrades and controls for building and lift heaters that will reduce electricity consumption by 1,460,500 kilowatt hours per year.
  • Snowbird’s new snowcat purchases will have the new Tier 3 Caterpillar diesel engines that meet the new California emission standards.
  • Rocky Mountain Power and Snowbird formed a partnership to reduce electrical consumption through heater controls at the base and top of every lift.
  • Snowbird initiated a resort-wide recycling program for paper, aluminum, plastic and cardboard throughout the four lodges and the Snowbird Center.

Snowbird’s co-generation power facility in The Cliff Lodge produces 48% of the resort’s power in the winter and 80% in the summer. Exhaust from this plant is converted to steam, which is then piped throughout the resort to heat The Cliff Lodge’s rooms, pools, restaurants and meeting rooms.

In 2008, the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition awarded Snowbird an “A” grade after surveying the resort’s environmental commitment to a number of categories, including its footprint, development plans, protection of local species and environment, water and energy conservation, transportation and other key areas.

Snowbird supports and helps fund the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation, a non-profit organization with a mission to work with the U.S. Forest Service and Salt Lake City Municipal Water on projects such as trail maintenance, noxious weed eradication, wetland restoration and various educational programs.

Snowbird continues to conduct resort-wide revegetation programs by planting approximately 1,500 native species seedlings every summer with TreeUtah.

Snowbird funds public transportation in Little Cottonwood Canyon to encourage guests and employees to carpool and ride the bus. Yearly Snowbird-funded ridership ranges from 95,000-125,000 people.

Snowbird and the town of Alta, in conjunction with the Utah Department of Transportation’s Adopt-A-Highway program, Little Cottonwood Canyon residents, employees and their immediate families, have participated in an annual canyon clean-up for over 25 years.

In December 2005 Snowbird became the first ski area to partner with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) in an effort to provide funds for conservation projects around the Wasatch-Cache National Forest, where the resort is located.

Snowbird built a seven-mile sewer system instead of using less expensive, but environmentally risky septic tanks.

Snowbird developed environmental education outreach programs that have touched the lives of thousands including the Disabled Skier/Wilderness Experience, Barrier Free Nature Trail, Hawk Watch, Stargazer, Discover Your Forest, Jr. Ranger Program and Wildflower Festival.

Snowbird has enhanced its network of barrier-free nature trails, increased environmental education efforts, added interpretive signs around the resort, doubled its adopt-a-highway commitment and introduced new summer hiking/activity guides which emphasize the public’s environmental stewardship.