1. Fitzsimmons Renewable Energy Project replaces resort’s power usage
Whistler Blackcomb invested the better part of six years to spearhead a micro-hydro renewable energy project on Fitzsimmons Creek in the valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
Located entirely within Whistler Blackcomb’s operating area, the run-of-river project produces 33 gigawatt hours of hydroelectricity per year – the equivalent of powering the ski resort’s winter and summer operations including 37 lifts, 17 restaurants, 270 snowguns and countless other buildings and services. The project returns the power it generates back to the grid, essentially replacing what Whistler Blackcomb takes from the grid. The Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project is owned by Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Limited Partnership, a partnership between Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. and Ledcor Power Group. Whistler Blackcomb is a strategic partner in the project.
2. Energy conservancy saved $951,680 between 2012 and 2013
Whistler Blackcomb is recognized by BC Hydro as one of its top 10 Power Smart Partners, selected from companies across the province. This recognition comes from years of investing in energy saving initiatives across the mountains’ facilities and operations, and working on awareness building and behavioural change programs with employees. Whistler Blackcomb energy conservation projects represented a savings of over 2.5 million kilowatt hours between the years 2012 and 2013, an estimated $951,680 in annual savings.
Whistler Blackcomb was recently named a finalist in the Leadership Excellence category for the BC Hydro 2014 Power Smart Excellence Awards.
3. Snowmaking to preserve Horstman Glacier
Whistler Blackcomb is conducting a new snowmaking pilot project aimed at preserving the Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb Mountain. The pilot project will involve the testing of four low-energy consumption snowmaking guns in the Horstman Hut area to determine if a full-scale snowmaking system is an option to prevent further recession of the Horstman Glacier. A snowmaking system on the Horstman Glacier could improve the early season access to glacier skiing and snowboarding during the winter and preserve our summer glacier experience for guests to enjoy in the future. If the pilot project is conclusive, this unique project will become a significant addition to Whistler Blackcomb’s list of adaptations to ensure long-term resilience against climate change.
4. Educating the public with environmental tours
In the summer of 2014, Whistler Blackcomb began offering two educational mountain tours spearheaded by Whistler Blackcomb’s Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager, Arthur DeJong. The “Twilight Photography” tour takes guests to the most iconic places on Whistler Blackcomb by truck where they will learn how to capture the magic of the area by some of Whistler’s top photographers. For guests looking to get behind the scenes and learn about the ecosystems and fascinating geology around Whistler Blackcomb, the “Two Peaks, Two Pasts” tour will be available. Tours will take guests by truck to explore the mountain’s sustainable operations.
5. Their Restaurants have reduced garbage by 70%
Whistler Blackcomb’s massive food and beverage operation implemented a major reduce/reuse/recycle campaign across 17 restaurants to significantly reduce waste. Efforts have resulted in a 70% reduction in garbage since the year 2000, equaling 890 metric tonnes less garbage.
Initiatives included providing reusable Coca-Cola cold drink cups and Seattle’s Best coffee mugs instead of single-use cups, use of reusable dishes and cutlery, signage at facilities to create public awareness about recycling and composting, recycling and composting facilities in both public and staff areas, and a review of purchasing habits. In 2009, an incredible 833,100 single use cups were saved from ending up in the trash at the three largest alpine restaurant facilities: Roundhouse, Rendezvous and Glacier Creek.
6. Whistler Blackcomb is smoke-free
As an effort to preserve the pristine alpine environment that Whistler Blackcomb’s guests and staff come to Whistler for, the company introduced a Smoke-Free Policy in May 2015. The policy prohibits smoking anywhere on Whistler Blackcomb property, including lift lines, chairlifts, gondolas, ski runs, hiking trails, valley base areas, parking lots, Whistler Blackcomb Bike Park trails and all Whistler Blackcomb bar and restaurant locations, including patios. The policy applies to both guests and Whistler Blackcomb staff, aligning with the company’s core values of Safety First and We Care, as well as its goal to be health-oriented and family friendly. The policy is also aimed to help mitigate the risk of forest fires on Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
7. Growing thriving ecosystems
Operation Green Up, established in 1998, is a $1.5 million mountain restoration program designed to conserve and replenish the mountain Whistler Blackcomb ecosystems. Primary objectives include erosion control, applying planting strategies/seed mixes that enhance wildlife populations, enhancing visual appeal, and utilizing native species wherever possible.