Snow. Environment. Community.
Schweitzer Mountain acknowledges that the environment is one of our greatest resources and commits to being mindful of such. We aspire to be good stewards of the land and foster a sustainable future as we continue to grow our business. We operate in a precious environment that is potentially impacted by various threats including pollution, climate change, and development. We hereby commit to increase efforts to protect our mountain, our livelihood and the region we live in by exploring and implementing reasonable sustainable practices.
It Starts with a SEC
The health of our planet. The future of snow. The strength of our community.
We know change is hard. We know it takes time. We know it takes effort. But at the end of the day, we know it's important. Schweitzer is upping its game, doubling down and taking steps toward sustainability. Change won't happen overnight, but it starts with the first step, the first second.
- For the love of the Snow
- For the love of the Environment
- For the love of our Community
To make real change, we need help. So all we ask is, Do You Have a SEC?
- To pick up some trash?
- To recycle that can?
- To bring a coffee cup to work?
- To separate your compost?
- To take the shuttle?
- To start the change?
It starts with a SEC.
Our Steps ... So Far
We have only just begun our sustainability journey and will continue to build momentum. Since the inception of our efforts toward a more environmentally friendly business, we have accomplished the following:
- Purchased a new waste oil heater to replace an old system and more efficiently warm our maintenance shop.
- Hosted the field portion of a Biochar education day in collaboration with University of Idaho Extension Agriculture Center, USFS, ID Department of Lands, and Resource Synergy.
- Replacing ½ of slope lighting with more sustainable option, the other ½ to be replaced next year.
- Invested in Llumar Low VE35 window films for the Lakeview Lodge in an effort to cool the building and avoid the use of air conditioning units.
- Added 3 EV Charging stations and infrastructure for additional future stations (up to 10x). Two dual-wand are specifically available to our lodging guests one single-wand is for public use.
- Changed waste oil collection company to Sequential who not only pays us for our waste product, but turns itl into biofuel. 726 gallons have been collected thus far, but this is not a reduction of use.
- Endorsed America is All In, Citizen's Climate Lobby, POW (include letter that was endorsed), Ceres
- Letter submitting comments to US EPA in regards to EPA's notice of proposed rulemaking on multi-pollutant emissions standards and letters to Senator Crapo
- Wrote letters to Bonner county encouraging their submission of a composting grant.
- Installed six new water bottle filling stations and purchased thousands of reusable water bottles to highly discourage single use water bottles. Every passholder was given a water bottle. We estimate that 6000 were given out initially and estimate that saves two bottled waters from hitting the waste stream. At an average weight of 9.9 grams, this calculates a total of 260 lbs of plastic trash avoided annually (but hopefully more). We have many more bottles to continue giving away.
- Replaced gas generator with power in our Nastar racing shack.
- While Schweitzer was not financially responsible, we would be remiss to mention how 24 PTAC units in our Selkirk Lodge were replaced with more energy efficient packaged thermal heat pumps. Our lodge consists of independently owned unitls and so the cost was incurred by our condo owners. However, Schweitzer's partner, Resource Synergy, facilitated the decision and made submissions for rebates resulting in an easy financial decision for the owners. According to energy.gov, packaged thermal heat pumps save approximately 3000kWh per year.
- Partnered with local CCL chapter leader to write an Op-ed that was published by a local newspaper, Spokesman Review.
- Converted waste collection to weight based fee structure allowing Schweitzer to find economic benefit in reducing our waste.
- Conducted a composting pilot project for one month to evaluate what items are most relevant in our trash that we can target for reduction.
- Revamped our lift heat monitoring systems to ensure that heaters are only being used when needed and reducing energy consumption.
- First year participating in the NSAA Climate Challenge
- First year endorsing the NSAA Sustainable Slopes Program
- Implemented a lighting retrofit in three buildings, replacing all fluorescent fixtures with LED fixtures and installed lighting sensors in certain areas. Mill Building, Lakeview Lodge and Shop were included buildings. Project came to completion in November 2020 and was estimated to save over 83,000 kWh per year. However, the first few months saw better results than anticipated.
- Began a new chapter of a sustainability committee.
- Rebranded our sustainability committee and created a vision statement.
- Applied for grants through State of Idaho to install public electric vehicle charging stations.
- Awarded funds through the NSAA Sustainable Slopes grant program to replace mini shampoo bottles in our hotel with bulk dispensers. It was estimated that this project would result in over 14,000 miniature bottles no longer hitting the waste stream.
- Moved to many compostable items such as napkins and paper plates
- Measured idle time on groomers and work within a set allowable time limit
- Upgrades to our recycling bins
- Implemented sustainability challenge project ideas with staff
- Turned to using rechargeable batteries in all soap and paper towel dispensers to reduce waste.
- We purchase our power from a local coop, Northern Lights which purchases power from Bonneville Power Association (some of the cleanest power in the nation). We also engage the NLI board on a regular basis.
- Purchase REC’s each year to offset some of our emissions.
- Annual spring village and road clean up- our staff take the time to care for our place.
- Cardboard recycling
- Paper recycling
- Snow making using top of the line equipment- much of it gravity fed
- Wastewater is treated in an environmentally friendly system vs a point discharge
- Donate used uniforms
- Interpretive signs to foster an understanding and connection to our place
We recognize that Schweitzer needs to make further efforts to reduce the impact of environmental threats. Further, Schweitzer agrees to explore these areas in an effort to extend our reach:
- Electric snowmobiles
- Electric groomers
- Electric vehicle fleet
- More EV charging stations
- Making and using biochar to improve forest health
- Collaboration with other entities for a conservation education day
- Micro hydro energy generation
- Invasive weed species control/ native plant restoration
- Continue to upgrade equipment to most energy efficient models possible
Our Journey Taking Steps
As we engage in projects that consider the environment, we also continue to grow. We admit that we are challenged with how to do so while mitigating our impact but commit to being mindful of such. We strive to be transparent in our journey and hope you will support us along the way.
Schweitzer is proud to have signed on with NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes program. This program provides an outline for both our company and our guests to help combat adverse impacts to our environment. Schweitzer is pleased to be an endorser of this program and we encourage our guests to take part as well.
In addition to endorsing NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes program, Schweitzer has also recently joined the Climate Challenge. Through this program, Schweitzer commits to taking actions that will target and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Curious how the industry is doing as a whole? Read the full 2023 Climate Challenge Annual Report from NSAA.
Schweitzer is excited to be partnered with a Spokane based consultant business, Resource Synergy. This team’s job is to assist Schweitzer in identifying and implementing opportunities to reduce energy consumption and waste generation, while following the Sustainable Slopes guidelines.
The Coca Cola company continues to grow their efforts for a more sustainable company and we are proud to carry their product. Coke partners with Schweitzer by backhauling all our plastic bottles and aluminum cans so that they can be recycled by Coke in support of their goal to collect and recycle one bottle or can for every one they sell.
The National Ski Areas Association continues to give attention to environmental matters and give support to areas all across the country and Canada. They provide opportunities for ski areas to learn about current environmental events, share and collaborate on ways to reduce our impacts, instigate studies to learn further risks and mitigation strategies, and the list goes on.
The Sandpoint Pend Oreille Transit system assists Schweitzer by transporting 60,000 of our visitors each winter. That means 60,000 of our guests are not in individual cars and helping us to keep the air cleaner.
Steps You Can Take
Sign on with Citizens Climate Lobby
There are five bills that include a form of carbon pricing currently circulating. Citizen’s Climate Lobby is a bipartisan non-profit aimed towards reducing our country’s carbon footprint through legislation and they need help. Click here to learn more.
Learn about what Ski Areas are doing
Visit the National Ski Areas Association Sustainability site by clicking here to learn more about what the ski industry is doing to be proactive in protecting our favorite resource, snow of course!
Take action with Protect Our Winters
This organization, founded by fellow snow lover Jeremy Jones, exists to educate and help you “turn your passion into purpose”. Click here to learn more about what POW does and how you can help.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not." - The Lorax
Continue to check in with us as projects and plans take shape. If you need any more information about any of these projects, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.