Sugarloaf has a rich history of environmental stewardship and recognizes that now is the time to dedicate our resources to dictate the outcome of climate change. All departments are engaged in our sustainability efforts in order to ensure we are fully integrating environmental awareness into our daily operations. In the coming years, these efforts will be expanded upon to help us reach our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Making a Difference
Digital Resources: Sugarloaf introduced our interactive trail map in November 2018; since that season, we have ordered 10,000 fewer copies of the trail map each year. Additionally, we were able to stop printing the daily grooming map, which saves about 3500 11x17” sheets of paper per season!
EV Charging: Sugarloaf has two Tesla 8kWh charging stations and two traditional wall outlet stations for public use.
Grease Recycling: Each year, Sugarloaf Resort works with Baker Commodities to recycle 100% of our fryer oil; the oil is turned into a refined product, becoming the key component of biodiesel. In doing so, Sugarloaf and Baker Commodities are working together to alleviate the nation’s problem of over-burdened landfills. For example, in 2019, Sugarloaf recycled 8,100 lbs. of fryer oil.
Hotel Room Thermostats: The current thermoset system allows guests to set a comfortable temperature setting while they are in the room, but then resets the temperature each day at 10:00am. This temperature control system ensures that rooms are not maintaining a high temperature for many days.
LED Lights: In 2018, nearly all the lights bulbs in the Sugarloaf Base Lodge were replaced with LED bulbs; additionally, the street lights that illuminate Maine Street have been converted to LED lighting as well.
A recent energy audit will help Sugarloaf expand on these efforts by determining which projects will reduce our energy use the most.
Ozone Laundry: Sugarloaf Hotel utilizes an ozone laundry system to cut back on water usage, eliminate, and reduce chemical waste as well as the need for hot water. Any wastewater that is produced is much cleaner and contains fewer contaminants than traditional wash processes.
Recycling Engine and Hydraulic Oils: In our maintenance shop, we take extra care to make sure the fuels we use are used to their full potential. For example, we recycle used engine oils and hydraulic fluids in a specialized furnace that can then use these liquids to create a heat source, extending their life long after their traditional use is exhausted.
Removal of Styrofoam To-Go Containers: In 2018, the Sugarloaf-owned Narrow Gauge Dining Hall removed all straws and Styrofoam from their restaurant. Today, they utilize ceramic serviceware and compostable to-go containers when necessary.
Rental Gear Donations: At the end of each year, all Sugarloaf rental gear that is replaced with new gear but still has life left in it is donated or sold to smaller ski resorts—both in Maine and all around the world! This helps Sugarloaf reduce its waste to landfill while providing smaller resorts with the opportunity to purchase high-quality gear at an affordable price.
Resort-Wide Composting: Nearly half of the restaurants on Sugarloaf property participate in our on-site composting program, as well as several privately owned Carrabassett businesses. Compost from the kitchens is brought to our turn-style composting tubs on site, which reduces our resort’s waste to landfill while generating quality soil that is used by employees and other resort operations.
Snow Gun Upgrades: Boyne’s Snow Surfaces President and Sugarloaf’s Snowmaking manager have worked diligently with Efficiency Maine and HDK Snow Guns to consistently update their snow guns fleet and snow making practices to reduce water consumption and energy use related to snow making. In 2020 Sugarloaf replaced 50 existing SR7, internal mix tripod guns with state-of-the-art HKD R5 Impulse Towers. This increase in utilization is projected to have saved over 12,600 kWH per gun per year. Additionally, 92 guns will be retrofitted with new nozzles and nucleators during the summer of 2021, estimated to save 90,270 kWh/year. These upgrades will continue to take place as Sugarloaf formulates a snowgun efficiency plan to continue reducing the associated CO2 emissions and waste demand of snow making.
Water Management: Carrabassett Valley became home to the first Atomizing Freeze Crystallization facility, or Snowfluent Plant, in the world in 1995. Snowfluent technology utilizes the natural purifying properties of the freezing process to remove impurities and toxins from the area's water; the process is remarkably efficient, as the only pretreatment required of the water is a few hours of retention in order to allow for the settling of larger solids. Throughout the winter season, visitors can see the immense piles of snow at the plant across the valley.
In a nutshell, the plant treats roughly 26,000,000 gallons of wastewater per year by converting it to snow.
Skylight Removal: Last summer, we removed 500 square feet of skylights in the King Pine, our largest dining room and wedding reception hall, because the skylights had been leaking, letting in too much heat in the summer, and letting in too much cold air in the winters.
By removing the sky lights, the air conditioning was no longer running at full bore for summer events and the heaters could be kept at a lower temperature during the winter.
The sky lights were replaced with R21 insulation, and we estimate the project saves us 553 gallons each winter.
By The Numbers
Want to learn more? A complete version of our annual emissions report can be found on NSAA’s Sustainable Slopes website.
Sustainable Slopes Badge
The Climate Change Action badge recognizes ski areas that have committed to developing greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and tracking them annually. Ski areas must have set goals for carbon reduction, implemented at least one reduction strategy per year, and reported on their results and activities.