Being Green in the Green Mountains

In order to be responsible stewards of the environment every business must find ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Here at Mount Snow, we are continually investing in initiatives that help us operate more efficiently, which in turn reduces waste, emissions and costs. 

Mount Snow Recognized for Environmental Efforts

At  Efficiency Vermont's 5th Annual Best Practices Exchange, Mount Snow was presented with the 2016 Energy Leadership award. Kelly's Blog has all of the details about this exciting honor. 

Following the completion of numerous efficiency projects that began in the summer of 2013, the Vermont Ski Areas Association recognized Mount Snow in the annual Green Mountain Awards for Environmental Excellence as the Most Improved Resort Overall and Most Improved Water Consumption. Check out the press release for all the details here.

Snow fan gun

Snowmaking Efficiency

Before the 2014/15-winter season, we installed 645 new, state-of-the-art low-energy snow guns – the largest single snow gun upgrade in Mount Snow’s history.

  • Now our entire snow gun fleet is comprised of low-energy technology.
  • Electricity is required to push compressed air up the mountain through pipes in order to make snow.  The more compressed air that is needed, the more energy we consume. These new guns can operate using as little as 5 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of compressed air.  The guns they replaced used up to 500 CFM.
  • As a result of this upgrade, we will save an estimated 2,247,500 kWh of electricity and 2,614,392 pounds of carbon emissions, annually.
  • This annual energy savings is enough to power 180 homes for one year.
  • Mount Snow is home to North America’s largest arsenal of high output/high efficiency snowmaking fan guns, with more than 250 in operation.  
  • Since installing the fan guns, our snowmaking system runs entirely on electricity and we do not need to utilize diesel powered air compressors. That eliminates the need to burn 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel which put over 50,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

Many of these projects were made possible by working with Efficiency Vermont; a private non-profit company with the goal of helping all Vermonters to reduce energy costs, strengthen the local economy, and protect the environment by making homes and businesses energy efficient. Efficiency Vermont provides technical assistance, rebates, and other financial incentives to help Vermont households and businesses reduce their energy costs with energy-efficient equipment, lighting, and approaches to construction and major renovation.

Green Hotel Logo

Grand Summit Resort Hotel

The Grand Summit has recently undergone a variety of upgrades to improve its operational efficiency, including: 

  • Installing an ENERGY STAR-certified commercial kitchen dishwasher
  • Installing an ozone laundry system, which is a cutting-edge machine that combines electricity and oxygen to produce ozone, which is dissolved into the wash water, attaches itself to dirt particles, and so replaces many of the chemicals used in a typical process and significantly reduces wash water temperature requirements 
  • Adding controls to the kitchen exaust hood, so now the fan slows down or speeds up automatically in response to cooking activity
  • Upgraded to more efficient lighting fixtures

These notable improvements, plus many others, have combined to help save the Grand Summit an estimated 336,810 kWh of power, 35,630 gallons of propane and 1,237,190 gallons of water annually.

Efficiency Vermont did a case study on our Green Hotel project which you can read here.

Lighting Upgrade

Mount Snow underwent the largest lighting upgrade of any resort in Vermont’s history by working with Efficiency Vermont and Greenleaf Energy.  This project replaced over 2,500 lighting fixtures across the entire resort with efficient, long lasting LED bulbs.  This upgrade reduces hazardous waste, maintenance costs and most of all, energy usage.

Conservation Measures

  • Heating setback controls on base lodges and administrative buildings turn back the heat at night regardless of the individual thermostat settings.
  • Exit lighting has been converted from incandescent to florescent, LED lighting and all exterior lighting has been converted to HID (high intensity discharge) lighting. Both measures together save approximately 5% in electricity.
  • Hotel guests may choose not to receive clean towels on a daily basis conserving water for laundry and reducing soap used.
  • New bathroom faucets operate with sensors, which eliminate running faucets and reduce wasted water.
  • Water outflows, a result of snowmaking, are routed back into snowmaking ponds so water may be conserved and reused instead of just being released on the mountain.
  • Street Lamps on Main Street switched from incandescent to metal halide lighting

Environmentally Preferred Alternatives

  • To lubricate the haul rope (lift cable) on Mount Snow’s lifts, 100% Castrol oil is used instead of petroleum-based oil.
  • An environmentally friendly anti-freeze (does not contain ethyl glycol) is used both in lift maintenance to prevent icing and in all snowmaking compressors.

Bus with mountain backgroundHousekeeping uses lemon-based cleaners instead of harsher chemical cleaners.

Mount Snow is the single largest private contributor to the Deerfield Valley Transit Authority. Known as the MOOver, the buses (painted like Holstein cows) provide free daily connecting service to six area towns for residents and visitors. Some of the MOOVer vehicles are fueled by 100% treated vegetable oil with no diesel additive, with plans to convert more, according to the DVTA.

Snowmaking Heat Exchanger

An air-to-water heat exchanger extracts heat from the compressed air used in snowmaking, and pre-heats the water for the oil-fired boilers in Mount Snow’s Main Base Lodge. Approximately 15-20% of the heat in the Main Base Lodge will be provided by the heat exchange system.

Recycling & Re-use Programs

  • Mount Snow recycles paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, bottles, cans and scrap metal.
  • Trail maps are printed on recycled paper and the sign shop uses soy based inks.
  • Toilet paper and hand towels are made from recycled material.
  • Oil used in the lift tension system is cleaned and reused instead of using new oil.
  • Used anti-freeze is collected for reconditioning.
  • All waste oils collected at the resort are burned in a waste oil heater, which is used to provide heat to the Maintenance Building.
  • Cooking grease is collected and burned to help heat the Mountain Operations building.

Hotel amenity products (shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer) that are half-full or more are collected and donated to Twice Blessed, a local charity that provides support to families/individuals in the Mount Snow area.