Sunshine Village Mountain Green Initiatives & Commitment
Mankind and nature in harmony, we care about this special place
At Sunshine Village, we work and play in the heart of Banff National Park, an area so special, it is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sunshine and Parks Canada are in constant contact to ensure our winter sports have minimal impact on this unique location. Here are some of the things we're doing:
In the spring of 2002, Sunshine began an ongoing initiative to maximize the efficiency of its water supply and sewage treatment capacities. All on-mountain buildings were refitted with high-efficiency fixtures, cutting water use per skier visit by 29 per cent. On peak days, per-skier water use is down 38 per cent. Some of our water conservation practices include:
- Dual flush toilets and water-free urinals
- High-efficiency showerheads
- Low-flow faucet aerators
- Metering faucets in public washrooms
- Training of management and staff in efficient water use.
In late 2008, Sunshine also completed an upgrade at the water filtration plant that further improves the quality of the effluent.
We don't make snow; we farm it
Sitting high atop the Continental Divide provides Sunshine with up to nine metres (30 feet) of Canada's Best Snow annually.
We capture snow, instead of making it. Sunshine Village's trail crew strings more than 30 kilometres of snow-fencing. Placed perpendicular to the prevailing winds, the fencing captures snow and builds the snow pack without the need for artificial means.
We need just four snow machines to build the snow pack in the lower ski-out and the Ski & Snowboard School beginner areas at the beginning of the season. Once a base is developed, the snowmakers are turned off.
When our buildings are upgraded, they are brought to the latest environmental standards. The star of this change is the new West Wing of the Sunshine Mountain Lodge, which opened in December 2009, and the new Creekside building, which opened in November 2010.
Compared to the structure it replaced, the new Sunshine Mountain Lodge:
- Uses passive solar through high-efficiency windows to maximize heat gain
- Reduces water consumption 44 per cent
- Reduces energy consumption 20 per cent
- Is built with natural stone and a colour palette chosen to be in harmony with its surroundings
- Has natural vegetation as part of post-construction site remediation
Vehicles and Transportation
Sunshine Village regularly upgrades its vehicles to take advantage of the most fuel-efficient models, including hybrids. Our snowmobiles are all low-emission, four-stroke models.
Sunshine buses its staff from Canmore and Banff for free, thus lowering fuel emissions. And, we encourage guests in Banff, Canmore and Lake Louise to utilize its bussing service to cut down on emissions.
Sunshine recycles on the mountain. Butt-out containers are there to avoid cigarette litter.
Our trail crew reclaims and rehabilitates all damaged or disturbed areas. Heavy work, like the construction of the new Strawberry Express quad was done on the protective blanket of snow and by employing helicopters to lift in towers and material. When we replace a lift, we often sell the old lift whole to another area for reuse, or carefully separating its components for use as parts or scrap metal. Our old gondola, for example, found a new home in Iran.
Our hundreds of employees are people who live, work and play here because they love the mountain environment. They are encouraged to adopt an ethic of environmental stewardship, using car-pooling and mass transportation, sustainable building techniques, land reclamation, spring seeding, resource conservation, and ecologically sound ski area operations.
Sunshine holds an annual clean-up of all foreign debris on the mountain.
Sunshine Village is located at the tree line or above, which minimizes our impact on the fauna of the area.
Summer conflicts with wildlife are possible for hikers. Please follow Parks Canada guidelines.
Sunshine’s Environmental Awards
2006: Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Water Conservation (National Ski Areas Association)
2006: The first resort in North America to be awarded the Responsible Tourism Award from Neilson Active Holidays.
2008: Heritage Tourism Award by Banff Heritage Tourism for our unprecedented efforts to teach workers about the environmental uniqueness of Banff National Park.
2010: Heritage Tourism Award to the Sunshine Mountain Lodge for showcasing the unique attributes of Canada’s first and most famous national park.