Celebrating Earth Day: Embracing a "Planet vs. Plastics" Approach

Posted On: April 19, 2024 |
As we honour Earth Day, Big White Ski Resort is proud to spotlight our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship under this year's theme, "Planet vs. Plastics."

Our concerted efforts in sustainability are designed to significantly reduce our environmental footprint, support our community, and promote eco-friendly practices among our guests and staff. This year, we are proud to highlight our dedication to reducing our environmental impact, not just through our anti-plastic initiatives but across a spectrum of environmental actions.

Eco-Friendly Retail Practices
Our retail outlets have eliminated plastic bags, offering instead a reusable Big White tote bag made from eco-friendly materials. We are also proud to partner with environmentally conscious brands that utilize recycled materials, such as plastic bottles and sustainable fabrics, helping to curb the demand for new plastics.

Sustainable Passes and Tickets
We've introduced reusable and reloadable Season Passes and Day Lift Tickets, which last up to four years and a season respectively, significantly reducing waste from plastics and paper. Our online ticketing is fully contactless, eliminating the need for paper receipts. Traditional one-time-use tickets and passes contribute to plastic pollution and deforestation associated with paper production. By extending the lifespan of tickets to four years for season passes and a full season for day passes, the resort minimizes the continuous cycle of manufacturing, distributing, and disposing of these materials.

Furthermore, the shift to contactless online ticketing eliminates the need for printed receipts, further reducing paper waste. This not only conserves trees and reduces landfill waste but also lowers the carbon footprint associated with paper production, transport, and disposal.

Active Cleanup Efforts
The Ski Patrol is actively involved in collecting and recycling trash found under our lifts. During the winter months, debris can accumulate under the snow, hidden from view, and includes everything from lost equipment to litter dropped by visitors. When the snow melts, this trash can harm local wildlife and degrade the natural beauty of the mountain environment if not promptly and properly managed.

The annual Community Clean Up event, scheduled for June 22nd, 2024, is particularly important because it fosters a sense of community responsibility and encourages broader participation in environmental stewardship. By involving residents and visitors, the cleanup effort helps raise awareness about the impact of waste on natural habitats and promotes sustainable practices among the public. Additionally, removing waste before it can leach into the soil or water systems helps maintain the quality of the local ecosystem, ensuring that the natural resources at Big White are preserved for future generations and continue to support biodiversity.

Community Support and Recycling
We support our local community by donating unused toiletries and clothing to women's shelters and unclaimed lost and found items to local charities such as Mamas for Mamas and the Salvation Army. This practice extends the life cycle of products, reducing waste and demand for new resources, and minimizing environmental impact associated with manufacturing, packaging, and shipping new items. Furthermore, it supports community sustainability by aiding those in need and fostering a culture of recycling and responsible consumption.

EV Charging stations
mamas for mamas

In addition to our war on plastic usage, here are some more environmental initiatives where the resort is actively addressing climate action:

Water Conservation Initiative
Our "Be Water Wise" program encourages responsible water usage, helping to reduce the strain on local infrastructure and minimize our environmental impact, especially during peak times. The initiative focuses on preserving the pristine waters of Rhonda Lake, located 6,600 feet above sea level. The resort's stringent treatment processes maintain the purity of this water, supporting both the local ecosystem and biodiversity. By advocating for water-saving practices such as fixing leaks, taking shorter showers, and using water judiciously, we significantly reduce waste and lessen the ecological footprint of our operations.

Advanced Wastewater Treatment
Last year, we completed an advanced wastewater treatment facility that repurposes clean effluent for snowmaking and mountain bike trail irrigation, furthering our commitment to sustainable water use. This reservoir, designed to hold 2,800,000 liters of water from the pristine Rhonda Lake, will enhance fire safety capabilities and ensure a consistent supply of high-quality water as the resort expands.

Clean Energy Chairlifts
Over 80% of the electricity for our chairlifts is sourced from clean, renewable hydropower through FortisBC, helping to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.

Electric Vehicle Charging
We've added two new electric vehicle charging stations at our Central Reservations building, promoting the use of electric vehicles among our guests and staff.

Pedestrian-Friendly Work Environment
Thanks to our ski-in, ski-out design and free parking availability, 90% of our staff can walk to work, greatly reducing vehicular traffic and emissions.

Local Sourcing
Our Food and Beverage department prioritizes local and regional suppliers, including farmers, breweries, and vineyards, helps support our community and reduces our carbon footprint.

Energy-Efficient Reservations
Big White Central Reservations operates using only energy-efficient LED lighting and participates in the “Throw in the Towel” program, which reduces the frequency of laundry, saving significant amounts of water.

Green Cleaning Practices
All our cleaning products are environmentally friendly, and we use recycled paper products in our food services to minimize waste.

Digital Transformation
We've implemented QR codes across the resort to decrease paper usage, promoting a paperless environment wherever possible.

POWder Resort Program
We are committed to climate action by donating $10 for each employee who signs up for a free membership with Protect Our Winters (POW), supporting their mission for climate action. Through these initiatives, Big White Ski Resort is taking decisive steps to protect our planet, reduce waste, and promote sustainability. Learn more about what we’re doing to lessen environmental impact.

Our blog content may be time sensitive and any prices or dates quoted are subject to change.

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