Understanding that the mountain environment is a recreational area’s number one asset, Crystal Mountain is committed to a strong environmental ethic and stringent stewardship of the land. We are committed to eliminating our carbon emissions while pushing for the large-scale policy and societal changes needed to draw down greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
Utilities in Washington State must now produce all their electricity from clean sources by 2045! As a large electricity user and a business that relies on snow, we love to see our state government and utility working to ensure the future of our business. What a great start (and only a start) at public policy that protects the future of skiing in Washington.
Crystal Joins the NSAA Climate Challenge
Crystal Mountain is joining the Climate Challenge program sponsored by the National Ski Area Association (NSAA, our industry trade association). We already had signed on to the NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes charter, and now we commit to acting on climate change. Climate Challengers commit to taking five steps each year: 1) measuring our carbon emissions, 2) setting emission reduction goals, 3) implementing at least one emissions reduction project annually, 4) conducting political advocacy in support of climate policy, and 5) reporting our emissions and progress annually. Stay tuned for our sustainability updates.
Electric Vehicle Charging
Charge up your cars at the mountain with our new electric vehicle (EV) chargers! This summer Crystal will install eight EV charging stations. Cars emit 20lbs of CO2 for every gallon of gas they burn. Our EV stations will eliminate 30 metric tons of carbon emissions each year. Now if you are a skier looking at a new car you no longer have to weigh climate vs getting to the mountain when deciding whether to buy an electric car. Thank you to the National Ski Area Association for your generous Sustainable Slopes Grant to help us with installation costs!
Crystal Mountain Resort is now banning the sale of all single-use plastic bottles. As a result we are hoping to save single-use plastic water bottles from ending up in landfills each year. We encourage you to carry a reusable water bottle with you that can be refilled for free at any of the refill stations around the mountain with fresh mountain water sourced straight from the mountain.
Compost and Recycling
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: compost and recycling are coming to Crystal! When food waste ends up in the landfill microbes break it down without oxygen, releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting in an aerobic environment minimizes this methane release, and allows us to reuse the nutrients from our food waste.
Recycling lowers carbon emissions by lowering new resource extraction and production. Removing recycling and compost from our trash stream also helps keep our landfills smaller. For years, all departments at Crystal Mountain have participated in the collection and processing of cardboard, which is transported to a Pierce County Recycling facility. We are excited to broaden our recycling program.
Fresh Mountain Water Without the Waste
Why Crystal Mountain Is Making This Change:
- Over 17 million gallons of oil are used every year to produces America’s consumption of single-use plastic water bottles.
- Over 190,000 homes could be powered with the power wasted to produce plastic water bottles.
- Roughly 38 billion plastic water bottles are wasted each year, not making it to recycling centers. That’s about 4 out of every 5 plastic bottles ending up in landfills and our oceans.
- If you drink 64 ounces of water per day in bottled water, 1,382 standard size plastic bottles would be wasted every year.
Where You Can Purchase Reusable Water Bottles:
- Right Angle Sports Shop
- Cascade Grill (winter only)
- Campbell Basin Lodge (winter only)
Refill Station Locations:
- Summit House
- Campbell basin
- 2 stations in the Day Lodge in the base area
That’s right, we are joining the City of Seattle and have ditched the use of plastic straws at all of our on-mountain dining venues. Along with our ban on plastic straws, we have also moved to multi-use table wear, decompositional to-go boxes and paper bags mountain-wide, in retail and restaurants. Instead of plastic straws, we are now serving drinks with the option to use a decompositional paper straw that will biodegrade and have less of an impact on our environment.
Why Crystal Mountain is making this change:
- 500 million plastic straws are used by Americans daily, that’s enough to circle the Earth twice! (Get Green Now)
- The 11th most found ocean trash is plastic straws and harm ocean wildlife (Get Green Now)
- It takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose (Get Green Now)
PistenBully 600 E+ Diesel-Electric Groomers
Crystal Mountain was the first ski area in North America to take delivery of not one but two 600E+ diesel/electric snow groomers. The PistenBully 600E+ is powdered by a diesel electric drive that boasts significantly lower ecological impacts than standard snow cats. The 600E+ uses a diesel engine to drive two electric generators, which in turn, power electric motors that turn the tracks and snow tiller that provides a high quality groom for skiers and snowboarders. Over all the technology reduces CO₂ green house gas and NOX emissions by 20%. When traveling down hill the engine idles and the electric energy created from the braking effect of the electric motors is used to power the snow tiller. The machine operates at lower RPMs and is therefore significantly quieter than standard groomers.
Since purchasing Crystal Mountain in 1997, Boyne USA has enhanced the hand-in-hand relationship with the Forest Service that has transpired over the last decade in taking steps to diminishing the impact on this recreational area. The 4,448 acres of National Forest Land included in the resort’s permit is under constant environmental management and observation. In partnership with the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest and Mount Rainier National Parks, Crystal Mountain is moving toward an ever-growing level of stewardship that will protect and enhance these valuable and sensitive public lands for generations to enjoy.
The programs described below give more information on specific environmental efforts being implemented by Crystal Mountain.
Water Quality, New Wastewater Treatment Plant
The all new state of the art wastewater treatment plant was completed summer of 2013. This facility replaces a 1965 treatment plant. The treated water is discharged to drainfields. Water quality is increased to meet standards set for today and into the future. At a cost of $2.5 million, Crystal is making a major investment in the best infrastructure.
Sustainable Slopes, the Environmental Charter for Ski Areas
Crystal Mountain is a proud supporter of this charter. The National Ski Area Association, together with its member ski areas and partnering organizations, has created an operations and outreach program. This Charter reaffirms the commitment ski areas have in improving environmental performance in all aspects of operations and managing their specific resorts, making possible their continued enjoyment by future generations. Recreational areas have been able to provide enjoyment to millions of guests each year on a very small portion of public land, especially in the Northwest. This very efficient and closely managed utilization of resources limited total impact on mountain ecosystems.
Food and Beverage Materials
- Green recycled garbage can liners
- Recyclable plant starch based knives and forks
- Recyclable, where applicable, plates and bowls (Cascade Grill) & to go boxes (Bullwheel and Summit House) are made from Sugar Cane products and/or renewable resources. All dishes at Bullwheel, Summit House and Campbell Basin are washable and reusable
- Ecotainer cups for fountain drinks
- Ecotainer cups for hot drinks (coffee, cocoa etc.)
- Ban of plastic straws mountain-wide. Now using decomposable paper straws.
- Eliminated plastic bottled products from on hill facilities to cut down on waste as well as fuel to transport product up and waste down
- All cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum is recycled through Murrays Disposal.
- Cooking oil is saved and recycled by General Bio Diesel of Seattle.
- NEW– Starting winter 12/13, breakfast at the Cascade Grill will be served on non-disposable plates accompanied by non-disposable flatware. This will significantly cut down on disposable waste
- Reusable water bottle filling stations can be found in the Day Lodge and at Campbell Basin lodge
Crystal Mountain fully implemented a liquid deicing program for the Crystal Mountain Boulevard. By applying deicing liquid (calcium chloride) and use of a salt brine sand usage on the boulevard and parking lots was reduced to less that 20 yards from a potential 7,000 yards. This environmentally sensitive program dramatically curtailed the effects on stream sedimentation. The reduction of snow and ice buildup on the boulevard had also drastically reduced the amount of vehicle accidents
Sensitive Wetland Restoration
When upgrading the old Green Valley chairlift to a high speed Doppelmayr Quad, the base area terminal was relocated out of a marshy area to a less sensitive, drier area.
Fish Habitat Protection
Crystal Mountain strives to preserve fish habitat through management of the Silver Creek watershed and maintenance of the sewage treatment facility. Staff members work on a year-round basis to ensure the proper amount and conditions of water quality that runs through the permit area is up to Washington State standards. In 1997 Crystal Mountain received the Silver Eagle Award for excellence in Fish and Wildlife Habitat Protection.
All departments at Crystal Mountain participate in the collection and processing of cardboard and other recyclable items which are transported to a Pierce County Recycling facility.
Vegetation Management Program
One of the program’s primary goals is to maintain the maximum forest cover that is compatible with safe skiing and snowboarding. Operating plans and training manuals emphasize the protection of trees from the possibility of mechanical damage by snow grooming equipment and other operating machinery.
When it is necessary for ground disruption such as re-contouring within the boundary permit area, Crystal Mountain crews immediately mulch and seed, with Forest Service approved sterile grass seed mixes to protect against short-term soil erosion. These efforts take place each year along with native seed collection and area management of roads and guidance of all erosion areas.
Over a period of a few years native grass seeds and plants will re-enter these sites. Transplanting of native plants is also done in specific areas of the mountain. A benefit of winter avalanche control, the majority of trees in the area which would normally be kept small or non-existent by normal snow slides are actually kept extremely healthy and assist the area in healthy vegetation well beyond average circumstances. The result of these efforts is an aesthetically appealing and ecologically positive series of managed plant communities.
After 7 years of studies, the Forest Service approved Crystal Mountain’s environmentally driven Master Development Plan in November 2004. This vision calls for improvements within the permit area over a ten-year period. Over 3.2 million dollars was spent on the combination of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Master Development plan. The DEIS, which studied impacts on everything from lichens to native animals will greatly enhance knowledge of environmental and educational practices which effect the area. This Environmental Impact Statement will ensure that all area improvements will also embrace state-of-the art environmental features and continued excellent environmental management of the permit recreational area.