View our 2011 Annual Sustainability Report
At Stevens Pass, we take Sustainability to mean operating in a way that allows us to continue our business into the future without compromising the ecological health of our surroundings. Some programs addressing that principle include:
Responsible Management of the Alpine Landscape – Careful stewardship during winter and summer operations, such as our area-wide "spill plan" and special clean-up sled to deal with any on-mountain fuel spills. Our lift cables are all lubricated with castor oil, a natural alternative, made from non-petroleum vegetable sources.
Vegetation Management Program – A primary goal is to maintain the maximum forest cover that is compatible with safe and varied skiing and snowboarding: operating plans and training documents emphasize the protection of tree groves from possible mechanical damage by snow grooming equipment and other operating machinery. If ground-disturbing re-contouring occurs on ski trails in the summer, Stevens Pass crews immediately mulch and seed with U.S. Forest Service approved grass seed mixes to protect against short-term soil erosion; over several years native plants will re-enter these sites. Transplanting of native plants is also implemented on specific areas of the mountain. The result of all these efforts is an esthetically appealing and ecologically correct series of managed plant communities.
Fish Habitat Protection – When the SkyLine Express Quad was constructed in 1996, a base terminal design was used which achieved two goals: (1) the resident cutthroat trout habitat in the two streams adjacent to the site was not disturbed; and (2) a pre-existing culvert in one of the creeks was removed and replaced with a natural creek-bed, creating additional usable habitat. In 1997 the project received the Nat’l Ski Area Association Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Fish and Wildlife Habitat Protection.
Preference for Environmentally-aware Vendors – We are expanding our procurement process to assess the corporate philosophies of our suppliers: to the extent possible, we will do business with “greener” vendors who demonstrate an environmental awareness.
Extensive Transit Fleet for Employees – Launched over a decade ago, and operating on both sides of the Cascades year-round, our fleet delivers over 2 million employee passenger miles per season, keeping thousands of cars off the road every week, and preventing many tons of carbon emissions per day. Stevens Pass has received designation as one of the "Best Workplaces for Commuters" from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Cleaner-burning Vehicles – All Stevens Pass diesel vehicles burn commercially-available ultra low-sulfur diesel, and starting in 2008, we began to convert our snowmobile fleet to less-polluting 4-stroke engines. Snowmobile usage is also limited to hours when we’re not open to the public in order to save money and fuel, and reduce hazards. Like many resorts, we use a number of 4WD vehicles for fleet operations, maintenance, and intermittent guest/staff transport. During the 2008-09 season, we ran a test substituting 50% of our traditional gasoline-powered fleet with leased heavy-duty hybrid SUV models.
No-Idling Campaign - Beginning in 2009, we launched a No-Idling Campaign designed to improve air quality, reduce fuel waste, and shrink our climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The first Phase involved employee education and training, and baseline data collection; Phase II includes contact and enforcement with bus drivers, delivery drivers, and other service personnel; Phase III will include outreach to the general public.
Park & Ride & Transit Alternatives – Back in 2000, we began a scheduled Park & Ride service based in the foothills town of Sultan, in order to lessen single-occupant vehicle usage of the upper Stevens Pass Highway, reduce parking demand at the resort, and provide a lower-impact transportation option. Last winter, we launched a direct bus shuttle service from the downtown REI in Seattle. New for 2009-10 is an online application for the popular social networking site, Facebook, which will enable guests to share their travel plans, driving routes, and snow-riding abilities in order to facilitate carpool opportunities. On our website we promote private ski bus options and also direct readers to RideShare Online, a free carpooling site. We also offer half-price preferred parking for carpools. Finally, we are partnering with the town of Leavenworth to promote the exciting re-opening of daily Amtrak train service, by offering connector bus transit up to the Pass.
Food Service Sustainability – We realize that food operations can have a significant environmental footprint, and seek to minimize impacts from transportation and production when possible. At Stevens Pass, we serve organic, certified fair-trade espresso resort-wide, with an option for organic milk. We offer 100% natural, hormone-free beef in selected restaurants, and make every effort to source locally from suppliers within 100 miles –examples of this include some of our most popular and high-volume food items (such as chili, soups, sauces, and fries). Many of our remaining menu items come from suppliers within Washington, or the Pacific Northwest. Almost all of our beer is sourced from Washington and Oregon breweries, and one brew (Fishtale IPA) is organic. Periodically, we assess our menu’s overall sustainability, which includes searching for additional suppliers closer to the resort.
Read more about our Environment Program: