Sustainability at Sunday River
Help us make a difference.
Sunday River is located in the mountains of Western Maine, and it's thanks to this incredible natural setting that we're able to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and more. As such, it's important that we help our mountain playground continue to thrive for future generations by taking action to reduce the impacts of climate change. So far, we've focused on decreasing our carbon footprint through energy efficiency, being positive stewards of our environment, and cutting down on total waste. As a resort, we will continue to grow these efforts and implement new initiatives to make a difference, and we hope you'll join us in doing so.
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint
In order to provide excellent conditions to our winter visitors, we rely not only on natural snow but on a highly advanced snowmaking system. Because snowmaking requires energy use, we are always looking for opportunities to increase our efficiency so that we can use less energy to make snow and reduce our carbon footprint.
In the last five years, we've invested 3.5 million dollars into energy-efficient snowmaking equipment, including the Boyne Low-E fan guns, and equipment from HKD Snowmakers. Currently, 1,400 of our 2,000+ snow guns are energy-efficient, and we've replaced approximately 250 older models of snowguns in just the last 6 years. We're also replacing our electric motor controls to variable frequency drives, where applicable, to reduce energy consumption. These types of solutions will continue to be a priority as technology advances.
Our energy manager is tasked with looking for opportunities to reduce energy consumption with snowmaking, as well as in our other operations. This team member works directly with Constellation Energy to identify high-demand periods for energy use in our community so that we can cease making snow during those times. Last year, 30 percent of our energy was produced by renewable sources. Other initiatives include replacing light bulbs around the resort with LEDs or magnetic induction lighting, and using rechargeable batteries where possible.
Recycling & Reducing Waste
As a resort, Sunday River participates in single-sort and cardboard recycling, as well as bottle redemption. Where possible, we use recycled content products, such as paper for printers and copiers, and napkins for our base lodge food courts. We also recycle office computers, batteries, and lightbulbs when they are no longer in use. Additonally, our food and beverage department has switched to Your Green2Go compostable takeout containers and plant starch utensils in order to further our waste reduction. We also participate in the Clean the World soap recycling program through Gilchrist and Soames. Sunday River's restaurants send thousands of pounds of compost to Pleasant River Farms in Bethel each year. Sunday River is the largest provider of composting materials to this farm, and we're proud to be supporting another local business, while also reducing our waste. Our sustainability coordinator keeps tabs on these projects, and also identifies other opportunities for us to continue to grow these initiatives.
Have you seen roped off areas in our glades? Our trail maintenance crew has embarked on a project to encourage regrowth of trees in certain glades for long-term forest health by identifying sections with little to no tree cover, and roping off those areas to reduce skier traffic through them. This practice has also helped us come up with more effective ways to create glades in the future based on natural indicators for low tree growth, such as a high fern density in particular forests. The untouched pow turns might be tempting, but having gladed terrain for years to come is even better.
How can you help?
For those of you that love Sunday River as much as we do and want to do your part, the following efforts would be incredibly helpful and appreciated.
- Consider carpooling for your next trip to the mountains. If you have an electric vehicle, we also have Telsa charging stations in Lot 3 (at South Ridge Lodge).
- Bring or purchase a reusable container for coffee and water to use in the base lodges.
- Keep all of your reservation and purchase confirmation documents on your phone to cut down on paper use.
- Use the proper receptacles when disposing of food and recyclables.
- Use your towels more than once if staying in our hotels.
- Stay out of roped-off sections of terrain in the glades to promote forest health.