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Sustainable Slopes - Keep Winter Cool

The environmental charter for ski areas

Why is it important? | What We're Doing | Snow Guns and Snow Fencing | Energy Use | How you can help | Nine simple ways to keep winter cool





Why it's important - our winter wonderland is warming

The snow is an integral part of our lives, and we want to keep it that way for future generations.

The trouble is, things are heating up out there. Scientific predictions are that global warming will bring less snowfall, and shorter ski and snowboard seasons - and that would put a serious dent in our winter adventures!

Most scientists agree the reason is carbon dioxide discharge, primarily from fossil fuel consumption, which ultimately creates a layer of pollution that prevents heat from escaping from our planet. By now most skiers and riders know (unlike George Bush’s scientists!) that climate change is happening right now and doesn’t just mean bad snow by 2050 and none by 2100. It will mean changes in every aspect of our daily lives. If we don’t take radical action now to reduce global warming and pollution in the next decade, we will soon be living in a planet completely unrecognizable to us. If carbon dioxide emissions aren’t cut soon, we can expect major downstream headaches.

Solving and slowing global warming is probably humanities greatest ever challenge, with the payoff a stable and safe sustainable world. We can fix the problem, as long as we start now. That’s why NZSki Ltd has teamed up with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Ski Areas Association to Keep Winter Cool.

Caring for our planet and ensuring snow for future generations are responsibilities we all share. The good news is that by using new, less-polluting technologies and conserving energy -- as many ski areas are doing -- we can keep winter cool. But urgent action is required: it will take a concerted effort from all of those with a stake in winter to turn things around.

If not us, then who?



What We're Doing

NZSki Ltd. is committed to modeling our behaviour on the principles of sustainable development. Climate change is a widely accepted phenomena and the ski industry is perceived as one of the most threatened. By adjusting business practice to try and make a difference, we hope to lead the way in sound responsible environmental business practice.

Our sustainability vision:

To provide exceptional recreational opportunities for guests and employees taking the utmost care and commitment to environmental protection and stewardship. To work in conjunction with our suppliers and local government officials to conserve, recycle, reuse and utilize renewable resources in our daily operations. To plan responsible future growth within our community to guarantee protection of our natural resources for future generations.

  • We will lead ski area environmental management and business sustainability and be an advocate for 'green' business practice.
  • To listen and respond to customer demands particularly related to sustainable business practice.
  • Involve the local community in our environmental programmes and make them personally rewarding.
  • To listen to all staff about how we could do things better.
  • To create initiatives and opportunities for sustainable business through inspired leadership.


Snow Guns and Snow Fencing

NZSki undertakes a variety of practices to ensure the sustainability of the ski field for the whole of winter, employing best practice snow making, snow grooming and snow farming techniques prior to and throughout the season.

Tower mounted snow guns, increase productivity by 35% using the same volume of water as any other gun type.

Snow grooming is done in an environmentally sensitive way, including the use of winch cats where possible. Snow farming is also used to capture the maximum amount of snow during storms (eg. on the Summit) where it can then be re-distributed to high-traffic areas (eg. sun facing runs).



Energy Use

The NZSki Resort Management and Board has a mandate that dictates all new developments within the resort must adhere to at least a five star energy rating or it will not be approved. This will ensure the long-term success of our 3 premier resorts as an energy-efficient tourist destination.

Patrons are also encouraged to use less energy when visiting the resort, with a list of energy-saving tips at each property. Developing stronger consumer awareness of energy use is one of the principles of the Keep Winter Cool initiative.

Green choices are smarter choices.



At Coronet Peak

The key focus areas for Coronet Peak is sustainable land use (reservoirs, native vegetation), construction that is sympathetic to the natural landform, energy use and by association, carbon emissions. We acknowledge there is a long way to go as we progress towards sustainable business but here are a few things we've achieved so far:

  • We divert over 50% of our solid waste from landfill.
  • We make use of the recycling facilities that are now available in Queenstown, and donate our coffee grounds to the Queenstown Harvest Community Gardens to be recycled into fertilizer/compost.
  • We repurpose old materials to create park features and storage solutions.
  • Coronet Peak makes snow from 95% recycled water. The recent project has seen the construction of high-altitude water storage reservoirs which, at 1200m above sea level, keeps the water at about 0C, making it 20% more efficient for snowmaking than if it were to be taken elsewhere.
  • Our snowmakers manage a fully-automated snowmaking system which enables us to reduce energy and water wastage.  They also catch any snow melt through the season and reuse it for snowmaking.
  • We saved approximately 10% of our building's electricity usage over the 2013 season with our departments practicing a 'switch it off' campaign.
  • Since 2011, we have reduced our fuel consumption by over 60,000 litres by focusing on efficient operation of our boilers and groomer fleet.
  • We minimise our carbon emissions by back loading all garbage on our freight truck's ensuring that no load is wasted.
  • We provide a state of the art public transport service for both guests and crew and promote ride-sharing to and from the mountain, and we closely manage our fleet of vehicles to ensure fuel efficiency.
  • We continue to preserve our environment by planting native New Zealand Tussock and removing noxious weeds and pests from our Recreation Reserve each summer.
  • We manage our waste water treatment plant carefully to reduce the levels of Nitrogen and BOD in the treated effluent.
  • We purchase biodegradable and recycled products throughout our operation wherever possible.
  • We have a sustainability taskforce established on the mountain looking at feasibility of projects such as solar, biodiesel and organic composting.
  • We are in the process of applying for grants and awards to further sustainability initiatives
  • We are a leading company in the Queenstown Sustainable Business Programme with Tourism Industry Association


At Mt Hutt

  • We have achieved Qualmark Silver Standard for sustainability and have been invited to apply for Gold Standard.
  • We have created a dedicated recycling area using a 20ft container, attached to our base building.
  • Mt Hutt supports recycling all aluminium, plastics, cardboard, paper and glass and is actively improving guest awareness of our recycling programme through signage on bins and showing recycling stations on our facility maps.
  • Mt Hutt has introduced a Ride Share scheme promoted on this website, our trail maps and brochures and on our daily snow reports.
  • We use energy saving light bulbs and have energy efficient units installed in our snowmaking compressors, which also produce lower noise levels.
  • We monitor fuel efficiency in our fleet of company vehicles.
  • Our kitchen cooking oil is processed into bio-diesel.
  • We use environmentally friendly toilet paper and cleaning products.
  • We conduct a number of processes and procedures online and via email to cut down on paper wastage. We use energy efficient flat screen monitors on all our computers and recycle all toner cartridges.
  • Oil from our grooming fleet is donated to local machinery enthusiasts for re-use. We have also developed a new system for grooming mountain trails in order to keep diesel consumption of our fleet as low as possible.
  • Our old snowmaking guns have been replaced with state-of-the-art water & energy efficient snow guns.
  • Promoting sustainability and the efficient use of resources is now included in the individual personal performance reviews of all staff.


At The Remarkables

  • We have taken over the mass transit system ensuring we reduce the number of vehicles used to get to our mountains
  • All kitchen cooking oil (Canola) is collected by Bio Fuels NZ for refining to be used again as motor fuels
  • Recycling is managed with the separate collection of plastic, paper and aluminium for recycling at the transfer station in Queenstown
  • "Switch Off" electricity promotions throughout the base lodge and outlying buildings is in place to reduce power waste through lighting and wall plugs
  • A Ride Share scheme has been introduced, promoted on this website, in our trail maps and brochures and on our daily snow reports
  • All food packaging is made from recycled paper/board, all beverage cups are made from compostable products
  • Heating throughout the base lodge is thermostatically controlled to reduce electricity waste
  • Grooming operations use the latest engine technology, which meets latest European emission standards. Machine operation is monitored to maximise efficiency, therefore minimising fuel use and environmental impact.
  • We monitor fuel efficiency in our fleet of company vehicles.
  • All used machinery/engine oils are filtered for reuse or recycled.
  • Any earthworks on site has a support programme to revegetate areas modified. Seed is collected from the local area and dispersed again over finished ground to assist nature and the re-establishment of native flora and fauna. Where tussock areas are disturbed, the mature plants are removed and relocated to minimise any visual impact and assist nature in renegotiating the land back to its natural state
  • To prevent any long term disturbance of the natural beauty, temporary facilities are located for the winter period and removed in "sensitive" areas once the season operations have concluded
  • Grease taps are in place in the facility to prevent excess waste back into the environment


How you can help

Fight Ignorance - educate yourself

The latest Myths and Facts on Global warming
The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change



Nine simple ways to keep winter cool

Change your daily life - the little things you can do to help:

  • Reduce energy used for transport.
  • Share a ride or take a bus to the snow and to work.
  • Turn off lights and appliances when at home or on holiday. It is best to turn them off at the powerpoint.
  • Purchase energy efficient appliances. Choose the highest energy-efficient star-rating and use compact fluorescent lights.
  • Cut hot water consumption. Wash clothes in cold water, fit water-efficient shower heads, and install a solar water heater.
  • Eco-buy. Purchase greenhouse friendly products from local sources.
  • Support renewable energy sources. Switch to Green Power with your electricity supplier.
  • Plant a tree. Trees take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle. Reducing waste reduces landfill and thus reduces production of the greenhouse gas methane.

Spread the word - cool global warming and keep winter cool.



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