Winter Park Resort offers a quality outdoor recreation experience that complements the natural and aesthetic qualities that draw all of us to the mountains. We cherish the outdoors and respect the alpine environment in which we live and work.
Before sustainability was a household term, before going green was a common business practice, Winter Park Resort's employees began grassroots efforts to preserve this unique alpine environment.
Decades later in 2006, the Connexion program was created to focus the energy of the employees and put an emphasis on sustainability and ecologically-friendly practices throughout the resort and community. The name Connexion stems from the links that are present between natural resources, energy consumption, ecology, commerce, experience and education.
In 2010, The Connexion Council was formed with representatives from each department, meeting monthly, with goals to effectively communicate efforts, engage employees and guests, and implement a goals set by the council.
At Winter Park we employ best practices aimed at sustaining and protecting the ecosystems in which we operate. Awareness and consideration of the plants and animals that share the land within our resort helps to drive many of the decisions we make in relation to our operations day in and day out.
1. Winter Park's Drainage and Erosion Control Plan establishes procedures for an environment that enhances plant growth, animal diversity and clean water while providing exciting and fulfilling mountain recreation.
2. Winter Park's Vegetation Management Plan establishes detailed procedures for all soil types found on the mountain. There are many soil types on the mountain. In some cases stabilizing thin soils against erosion is the goal, in others it might be the construction of a man-made wetland to provide amphibian habitat.
3. Winter Park partnered with US Forest Service, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Trout Unlimited and others to create the Little Vasquez Creek Colorado River Cutthroat Trout habitat enhancement program that included intensive study of the stream and construction of unique fish ladders and spawning beds. Protection of this waterway has been on-going since construction of Vasquez Ridge. Little Vasquez Creek is home to one of the few remaining populations of genetically pure Colorado River Cutthroat Trout. Fall of 2000 saw a successful spawning season, with about 100 young trout counted in the stream.
4. Winter Park has embarked on the Jim Creek boreal toad habitat improvement program. The boreal toad has seen a sharp decrease in numbers and is listed as endangered in Colorado. Jim Creek is east of Winter Park's main entrance. The habitat improvement program is designed to provide additional breeding area for the toad. A location for a pond has been identified and approved by USFS, and is now awaiting approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.
5. Winter Park has been transplanting conifers and willows in Big Valley. This project is intended to provide insect habitat for the benefit of the trout in Little Vasquez Creek.
6. Reforestation projects on Winter Park trails Tweedle Dum, Cranmer/Phipps, Mulligan's Mile, Balch and Vista Dome stabilizes soils and provides habitat for birds, insects and mammals.
7. Winter Park skidded trees over snow during the Eskimo Express construction project, virtually eliminating soil disturbance. This effort required cutting trees over snow and skidding the trees with snowcats. Long stumps were left, which were flush cut in the summertime and left in place.
8. Winter Park dug the Timberline foundation holes by hand to reduce the impact on the tundra.
9. Winter Park joined with USFS to post signs on mountain bike trails throughout the valley warning of wet conditions. Bike trails should not be ridden when they are wet, as it creates erosion and water quality problems while damaging the trail.
10. Winter Park personnel built rock cairns in the Vasquez Wilderness to guide hikers across the fragile tundra.Limiting foot traffic to a designated area enhances the viability of the tundra and the beauty of the Wilderness.
11. Winter Park has constructed wetlands at the bottom of Timberline lift and Marmot Flats. Wetlands provide habitat for amphibians, insects and birds.
12. Winter Park has installed strategically located permanent closures to allow tree stands to regenerate themselves. Young trees suffer when run over by skiers and snowboarders.
13. Helicopters fly concrete and towers for construction of new Winter Park lifts, significantly reducing soil disturbance.This procedure eliminates the need for creating construction roads on the mountain.
14. Winter Park employees have "adopted" two miles of highway 40 for clean-up.
15. Winter Park use certified weed free hay for mulch and revegetation to prevent the introduction of non-native plant species.
16. Winter Park washes the tracks of tracked vehicles before going up the mountain to prevent the introduction of non-native plant species.
17. Winter Park has agreed to help fund the Adopt-A-Trail program by donating $1 from each start in our Mountain Bike Race Series so that money and resources will be available to maintain the Fraser Valley trails. Trail maintenance adds to the pleasure of the riding experience while preserving water quality by controlling runoff and limiting erosion.
18. Winter Park, with Colorado State University, created the "Winter Park Seed Mix" which rapidly stabilizes disturbed soils with quick generating plants, then eventually replacing the original plants with native plant species.
19. Winter Park conducted a Canadian Lynx and Snowshoe Hare habitat study that identifies those areas where the Lynx may have adequate forage and nesting.This effort gives us a great planning tool to provide for recreation while preserving habitat for the Lynx.
20. Drainage and erosion control are in place prior to, during and after any construction project to include hay bales, sedimentation fence, detention ponds and immediate revegetation. Summer rainstorms in the mountains can dump large amounts of rain in a short period of time. These preventive measures control silt at the construction site.
21. In the summer of 2002, we purchased 60,000 ladybugs to be placed in our gardens. Since the ladybug diet is other insects, and since the ladybug is itself unharmful to plants, the scheme eliminated the need for pesticides.
22. The Fraser River Non-Point Source Pollution Control Project is one in which Winter Park participates with other agencies to reduce the amount of non-point pollution introduced into the River.
23. Winter Park use Denver Water Board by-pass water for snowmaking so we have no affect on Fraser Valley stream water flows. Water that flows past our pump station goes into the Moffat Tunnel and on to the Eastern Slope, eventually ending up in Gross Reservoir.
24. Winter Park hauls snow from the Village Parking Lot and roads adjacent to the Fraser River to improve water quality. Pollutants are introduced into the snow by vehicles. Hauling the snow to a place where the snow can melt in a contained location helps protect the waterway.
25. Winter Park's newest lift, the Eskimo Express, has a diesel motor that is electronically controlled resulting in significantly lower emissions.
26. Winter Park uses environmentally safe, EPA approved ice melt products.
27. Winter Park continually monitors ditches, drop inlets and storm ceptors and removes and\or reroutes silt. Silt settlement ponds are constructed as needed.
28. An enclosed sewer system at the Lodge at Sunspot and Snoasis (on-mountain restaurants) returns 95% of treated waste water to stream systems. In this way, Winter Park returns clean water to streams and limits consumptive use. All base facilities are served by a municipal water and sewer system.
Winter Park has made significant changes to its facility with the goal of conserving energy in day-to-day operations. This includes replacing energy efficient items such as light bulbs, faucets, and toilets. Automated computerized systems have been installed to regulate heat in the most efficient manner. Winter Park is committed to discovering new and innovative ways of conserving energy and reducing its dependency on natural resources.
1. All but two of Winter Park's lifts are top drive. Pulling is more efficient than pushing so these lifts use less energy. Using less energy is crucial in reducing the need for additional power plants.
2. Winter Park is replacing conventional toilets with low volume flush fixtures to reduce water use. Currently, we have replaced all the water closets at Sunspot, Snoasis, Vasquez Ridge, Lunch Rock, Derailer bar and Balcony House with 1.6 gallon flush fixtures.
3. Winter Park is installing faucets that automatically shut off to reduce water use and minimize the amount of heated water used.
4. Winter Park uses china and silverware at Sunspot Lodge to reduce solid waste.
5. Winter Park has installed a computerized system that automatically shuts off heat in lift cabins and terminals during times when heat is not necessary..
6. Winter Park has entered into a peak shaving program with Mountain Parks Electric and Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association to minimize power usage at times of greatest demand. This program helps reduce the need for the construction of additional power plants.
7. Our kitchens use the lowest possible cooking temperature, conserving energy.
8. Hot food is pre-chilled before it is stored in the coolers, conserving energy.
9. Kitchens are painted in pale colors to reflect light, reducing the need for lighting.
10. Compact Flourescent Lights (CFLs) are significantly more energy efficient than incandescent lights. We've accomplished an 80% change-out to CFLs in the Administration Building, West Portal Station and Children's Center. The incandescent lights were 60-200 watts; the CFLs are 20-28 watts.
11. A T-8 flourescent light fixture operates at 20% less wattage than a T-10. We are in the process of changing to T-8s as the T-10s need replacing. Currently, we are 30% T-8s in West Portal Station, 30% in Administration Building, 10% in Balcony House, 10% in Sunspot and 10% in Snoasis.
12. Through a concerted effort to communicate internally and externally through voice mail and e-mail, our Central Reservation group has managed to reduce paper use 75% in the last year.
Winter Park has taken a number of initiatives to recycle and reuse whenever possible. Various mechanical operations around the resort have been built using recycled steel and asphalt. Winter Park also recycles much of its material waste including anti-freeze, oil, grease, iron, paper, aluminum, glass, cardboard, and rubber. Winter Park continues to find ways to reuse and recycle thus reducing waste and protecting the environment.
1. Winter Park used recycled asphalt in the Village Lot and Blue Spruce Lot. Asphalt is roto-tilled from old roadways, then steam-rolled into place in our parking lots.
2. Winter Park recycles old lifts either through sale, reuse or scrap.
3. The Winter Park Lift Maintenance shop crane is made of recycled scrap steel.
4. Winter Park's haul rope spooler is made of recycled scrap steel. The haul rope spooler is used to replace chairlift cables.
5. Our lift terminal cranes are made of recycled scrap steel. Lift terminal cranes are installed at the ends of lifts to assist in replacing parts as necessary.
6. Winter Park corral post pads are made of scrap seat pad vinyl. Seat pads need periodic replacement. Rather than disposing of the vinyl, we turn it into post pads.7. Our corral posts are made of recycled scrap steel. Corral posts delineate the lanes at the bottoms of our chairlifts.
8. Our corral rope reels are made of old sheave wheels.A sheave wheel supports the lift cable at the towers.
9. Winter Park recycles anti-freeze.
10. Winter Park recycles approximately 2,500 gallons of used oil per year.
11. Winter Park recycles mineral spirits.
12. Winter Park recycles approximately 5000 lbs. of scrap iron per year.
13. Winter Park recycles approximately 200,000 lbs. of recyclable paper, aluminum and glass each year, which equates to 773 cubic yards not taken at a landfill.
14. We recycle approximately 224 tons/yr of cardboard - 13% of our total solid waste that does not end up in a landfill.
15. Winter Park buys paper for copy machines, printer, etc. made exclusively of recycled paper products.
16. Paper products used by Winter Park's Facilities Department are composed of post consumer recycled paper and recycled paper.
17. Winter Park purchases cleaning chemicals in bulk and returns or reuses the 5 and 50 gallon containers.
18. We recycle all of our printer toner cartridges, a number that totals approximately 200 cartridges per year.
19. We reuse all our polystyrene packing peanuts.
20. The sheave liners that support the cable on our chairlifts is made of a type of rubber that recyclers are reluctant to take. Winter Park found a company, Oxford Recyclers, that was willing to take the used liners for a fee. We recycle approximately 800 pounds of rubber sheave liners each year.
21. Our kitchens recycle all grease and fryer oil.
Winter Park provides opportunities for both employees and visitors to reduce their fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions while travelling to the resort. Employees can enjoy the benefits of either carpooling to work or taking the free shuttle. Visitors to the resort can also decrease their carbon footprint by riding the AMTRAK. Winter Park is one of the only major ski resorts in Colorado that is serviced by AMTRAK.
1. Our free employee shuttle runs season-long during the winter to western and northern Grand County, reducing the need for employees to drive their own cars. Last year, nearly 32,000 Winter Park employees got a free ride to work or home.
2. Winter Park funds approximately 85% of the free Lift daytime transportation system. Last year, nearly 700,000 people rode the buses, reducing fossil fuel use and improving air quality.
3. Winter Park employees may park for free in our pay lots if they carpool.
4. Winter Park is served twice daily by AMTRAK, the only major ski resort that has regularly scheduled rail service.
Since the early 1990's, sustainability has been an important initiative at Winter Park and we strive to constantly improve upon the last year. While we feel improvements to the environment and a sustainable future are the greatest outputs from out efforts, we are proud of the awards we have received. From the Silver Eagle Award to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment's Silver Partner Award, we are proud to share our recognitions.
1. In 2009, Winter Park Resort was awarded a Silver Eagle Award for its Excellence in Visual Impact. This award was based on the efforts taken to address the mountain pine beetle's impact in the Cooper Creek and Vasquez Ridge area of the resort.
2. In 2007, Winter Park Resort was awarded a Silver Eagle Award for its Excellence in Visual Impact. This award was based on the efforts taken during the resort's Backside Parsenn Peak Project.
3. Also in 2007, Winter Park Resort was awarded a Bronze Achievement Award from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for its area of excellence in pollution prevention and commitment to the environment surrounding the resort's 2006 Backside Parsenn Peak Project.
4. The Thorne Ecological Institute recognized Winter Park Resort President and CEO Gerald Groswold when he received their annual award for outstanding contributions to the environment of Colorado.
5. Winter Park received a Certificate of Environmental Achievement from the National Awards for Environmental Sustainability for our recycle program.
6. Winter Park Resort was awarded the USFS Regional Foresters award for the effort in Little Vasquez Creek that improved the habitat of the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout. We were also a 2001 finalist for the prestigious Mountain Sports Media Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence in Fish and Wildlife Habitat Protection. Wrote the judges, "Winter Park's project is a perfect example of how a resort can proactively improve habitat. The resort's specific and determined efforts to save a rare and threatened population of aquatic species demonstrates a deep commitment to the preservation and restoration of wildlife habitat."
7. Winter Park received the 1998 Renew America Certificate of Achievement for:
8. Winter Park was a finalist for the Silver Eagle Award in Community Outreach in 1998.
9. Winter Park was a finalist for the 1994 Golden Eagle Award for Overall Excellence.
10. Winter Park was a finalist for the 1994 Silver Eagle Award for recycling.
11. Winter Park was awarded the Rocky Mountain Lift Association Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award in 1993 for the environmental measures taken during the construction of the Timberline lift.
As part of our sustainability initiative, we have made many improvements to Winter Park structures and processes.
1. We have changed out of 5000 T12 ballasts to T8 electronic ballast and 5000 degree Kelvin lamps, the replacement of 600 incandescent lamps to compact fluorescent lamps, the replacement of 60 incandescent lamps to LED lamps, Change out of 50 exit signs to LED exit signs.
2. In 2009, we installed two Variable Frequency Drive for two 200 hp pumps for snowmaking, out of nine total pumps.
3. Our Connexion Recycling Club allows employees to bring in all of their household recycling and compost
4. All toilets at Sunspot are 1.6 gal low flush air assisted. Any replacement toilets are 1.6 or less.
5. All toilets at Snoasis, Mary Jane, West Portal are auto flush low water consumption.
6. All hand sinks are auto-operated to conserve water at all our mountain buildings and Mary Jane and West Portal. Any replacement hand sinks will be auto-sensing low consumption.
7. All new hand dryers are being replaced with high efficiency hand dryers, made in the USA and use approximately 80% less electricity than old hand dryers.
8. We have an automated control system (AreaNet) that shuts down power to heat to all lift shacks and lift motor rooms when not needed to conserve energy (there is no water so we can do that without freezing). This has been in effect since 1997 and is expanded every year – resulting in reduction of electrical energy used by Winter Park in 2005 by 5,320,000 KWh. We now control snow melt systems with moisture and temp sensors, so it won't run unless it's below freezing and wet at Snoasis, Sunspot, Mary Jane, Cabriolet, Discovery Center (SRS private lesson center), ZML roof snowmelt. In 2010, we performed a systematic analysis, made changes to increase efficiency system-wide, and implemented a control system upgrade to the Sunspot Building system. All of this is through AreaNet, which was designed and built by our Electrical Foreman, Jon Rosen.
9. All major HVAC building natural gas systems are controlled by our Carrier system, which is being phased out into AreaNet so we have more control and monitoring options.
10. In 2009/10, we had two anemometers installed – one at the top of the cabriolet and one at Lunch rock to research the possible location of a future wind turbine.
11. Winter Park operates a 400-watt wind generator at the top of the Panoramic Express Chairlift. It supplies power for minor electronics and a few low wattage light bulbs.
12. We purchase Renewable Energy Credits through our local energy provider's Green Power programs, Mountain Parks Electric. This equates to 6.4% of total power consumption on average, or 800,000 Total KWh
13. We have increased our recycling diversion rate from 8% in 2005 to 43% in 2009. We began recycling in 1989, and have increased every year. 8.1 tons mixed paper, 110 yards plastic, 11 tons of glass, 2010 lbs. of aluminum cans, 42.5 tons of cardboard, 350 compact florescent, HID and Sulfide Bulbs, 400 pounds of crushed florescent lamps, 400 pounds waste PCB ballasts, 110 gallons liquid paint sludge, 55 gallons of used compressor oil, 2500 gallons of used oil, 160 yards of steel, and 1,330 pounds of fryer oil (either recycled or composted).
14. In 2010, we restained Sunspot using environmentally friendly stain, zero to 143 grams per liter minus water VOC(volatile organic compounds). Waterborne, made from primarily bio preferred rapidly renewable plant based oils.
15. In 2010, we recycled all of the carpet we replaced at Sunspot – 785 yards.
16. There has been a yearly mountain cleanup since 1989 in late June/early July. The number of participants has ranged from 40-75.
17. Winter Park Resort is reusing bus shelters for information kiosks and storage shelters. Haul rope, steel from lift towers, asphalt for new roadways and lodge pole pine trees are reused for trail map signage, a gazebo, and fencing.
18. In 2010, we began composting, and have composted 14 tons. Winter Park Resort composted in 2 facilities in 2010. which accounted for 31% of revenue based on total annual revenue percentage. All food waste from these two facilities plus flatware, shredded paper, non-corrugated cardboard, waxed coated cardboard and grass clippings resort-wide were included in the compost materials. This program was started last season, with plans for expansion to have a zero waste restaurant on mountain in the 2010/11 season (where the on-site dumpster will be replaced by a compost bin). Winter Park plans on continuing to expand this program yearly.
19. In 2010, we are going for a zero waste building at Sunspot this year! We are designing and building in-house, new waste stations from over 90%r ecycled steel and locally harvested beetle-kill wood.
20. 81% of food and beverage operations use non-disposable flatware and dishes based on a percentage based on revenue. 19% use compostable flatware, but disposable dishes. Every year Winter Park purchases an increase number of non-disposable items to utilize dish washing facilities to limit waste. The remaining restaurants continue to purchase more compostables because they are more remotely located and do not have the dish washing capability.
21. 11 out of 56 snowmobiles, or 19.6% are the more fuel efficient 4-stroke. Winter Park will only purchase 4-stroke moving forward if available for our needs.
22. Donations relating to environment: National Forest Foundation. Funding in the amount of $6,750 was provided to Headwaters Trails Alliance to repair trails / bridge and $10,000 was provided to the National Sports Center for the Disabled to rehabilitate a campground for the disable which was impacted by logging to removal mountain pine beetle infested trees. Have an employee (me) who is a founding member of the new Grand Resource and Recycle Coalition and WP donated banners and stickers to them…also donated $100 to the first annual Granby Earth Day.
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