Environmental Stewardship

Employee Transit

Begun over a decade ago, the Sunlight Employee Transit System provides over 100,000 employee passenger miles per season. With an average ride distance of 25 miles round trip, and a typical seasonal employee working 90 days, this equates to a reduction of over 2250 miles of wear on a personal vehicle, assuming employees would otherwise carpool with a partner for every trip. Sunlight supports its employees and cares about the environment.

Guest Park and Ride Program

Begun in the 2000-'01 season, Sunlight Mountain Resort provides a scheduled park and ride service, based at the Sunlight Ski & Bike Shop in downtown Glenwood Springs. The program was designed to reduce single vehicle usage of Four Mile Road, reduce parking demand at the resort, and provide a transportation service that gives guests an option to driving snow-covered mountain roads.

Vegetation Management Program

One of the program's primary goals is to maintain the maximum forest cover that is compatible with safe and varied skiing and snowboarding. To that end, operating plans and training documents emphasize the protection of tree groves from possible mechanical damage by snow grooming equipment and other operating machinery.

Where ground-disturbing re-contouring occurs on ski trails, Sunlight Mountain Resort summer crews immediately mulch and seed with Forest Service approved grass seed mixes to protect against short-term soil erosion. Over a period of years native plants will re-enter these sites. Transplanting of native plants is also done in specific areas of the mountain. The result of these efforts is an aesthetically appealing and ecologically benign series of managed plant communities.

Sustainable Slopes, the Environmental Charter for Ski Areas, the National Ski Areas Association, together with its member ski areas and partnering organizations, have created an environmental charter that encompasses a set of voluntary environmental principles to aid in ski area planning, operations and outreach. The 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 - true sustainability. Ski areas have provided recreation 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 limits total impact on mountain ecosystems.

Climate Change Policy

Sunlight Mountain Resort, along with many ski resorts nationally, is concerned about the potential threat of climate change to our environment and winter recreation. As a result, the National Ski Areas Association has adopted a policy to address the long-term challenges of climate change brought about by greenhouse gases. Through this policy, we hope to raise awareness of the potential impacts of climate change on weather-dependent winter sports, reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage others to take action as well.

Toward this end, we will take the following actions:

• Educate our guests about the potential impacts of climate change; educate guests on how they can help reduce greenhouse gases.

• Raise policy maker awareness of the dependence of winter sports on natural ecosystems and the potential impacts of climate change on the winter sports experience.

• Advocate the national reduction of greenhouse gases through legislative, regulatory or voluntary measures.

• Support sound, science-based solutions to climate change, including the use of renewable energy technologies.

• Partner with organizations and agencies to help reduce emissions and increase energy efficiency; invest in more efficient products, practices and technologies.

Help Keep Winter Cool!

What you can do to affect climate change - keeping winter COOL.

• Share a ride. Carpool, drive an efficient car or take shuttles to help reduce greenhouse gases. SkiCarpool.com is a great way to find additional riders! Click below to learn more and sign up.

• Be an efficient consumer. Buy energy efficient household appliances and replace normal light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.

• Turn off heat and lights when not needed or when you leave a room.

• Buy clean energy for your home. Contact your local utility to see if "green electricity" is available for you to purchase - such as wind or solar power.

• Contact your elected representative and ask them to do more to reduce greenhouse emissions.

• Spread the word to your lift-mates, family, friends and co-workers.

For more information go to NSAA website and enter the green room.

Power Driven Mobility

Sunlight Mountain Resort, in conjunction with the White River National Forest, established a public access policy precluding motorized equipment on slopes and trails within the established boundaries of the Special Use Permit granted for public skiing access.  This policy also extends to lands owned or managed by Sunlight Mountain Resort.  The policy precluding motorized equipment remains in effect.  The public access policy for Sunlight Mountain Resort was established to prevent serious harm to the environment and the natural resources.  Due to the need to address soil integrity, erosion and vegetation concerns, the Ski Area has adopted a “no motorized” policy for the public during the summer season.

Due to concerns with actual safety practices during the winter season, Sunlight Mountain Resort has determined that the use of any power-driven devices or vehicles by the public, including power-driven mobility devices used by individuals with mobility disabilities, would conflict with our safety requirements necessary for the reasonably safe operation of our on-slope activities.  These safety concerns include the use of devices on the slopes that expose the user and skiers/snowboarders to a safety hazard such as collisions with downhill skiers and snowboarders.  These safety concerns are based on actual risks and are not intended to be discriminatory in any way.  ADA parking is available in designated and signed areas and a visible permit is required.

Sunlight Mountain Resort allows individuals with mobility disabilities to use power driven mobility devices, wheelchairs and manually-powered mobility aids such as walkers, crutches, canes, braces or other similar devices designed for use by individuals with mobility disabilities in areas open to pedestrian use.  Access to the on-mountain facilities will only be allowed with the use of approved adaptive devices.  Adaptive devices are any specialized equipment that have been designed and manufactured primarily for the use by individuals who have disabilities, including mono-skis, bi-skis, outriggers and sit-skis.  Equipment that does not meet the definition of “adaptive” design (such as Snow-Bikes) is not permitted on the ski area by any members of the public, including individuals who have mobility disabilities.  Sunlight’s adaptive ski program offers or will arrange for adaptive equipment that meets this definition, when requested in advance by individuals wanting to enjoy winter sports at our resort.

Sunlight Mountain Resort does not limit or restrict the use of Service Animals anywhere on our property.  Service Animals are defined as animals that have been individually trained to actively assist individuals with physical or cognitive needs.  Individuals with Service Animals, of course must maintain control of their animals at all times.  In addition, any Service Animal must be house broken and it is the responsibility of the owner to clean up behind their Service Animals.  The use of ski lifts by Service Animals must be limited by weight capacities, evacuation limitations and general safety practices and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  There is no limitation on Service Animals during the summer season.

Sustainable Slopes

Realizing that the mountain environment is a ski resort's number one asset, Sunlight Mountain Resort is committed to a corporate environmental ethic. Initiatives taken over the last decade are softening the resort's impact on more than a thousand acres of National Forest Land included in the Sunlight Mountain Resort permit. In partnership with the White River National Forest, Sunlight Mountain Resort is moving toward a level of stewardship that will protect and enhance these valuable and sensitive public lands.

The programs described below give more information on specific environmental efforts. The variety of programs reaches nearly every aspect of the resorts operation.