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

Base Lodge Exterior: 2021, Sugarloaf removed 500 square feet of skylights in the King Pine Room, 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 skylights, 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 skylights were replaced with R21 insulation, and we estimate the project saves us 553 gallons of fuel each winter. Summer of 2023 saw the start of a complete overhaul of the Base Lodge exterior. The roof and the walls that were most difficult and most damaged were either replaced, or repaired and re-insulated. 

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 installed a total of 13 EV chargers. There are five SWTCH stations in parking lot E, and four in West Mountain parking. Located in the hotel guest parking are two Tesla charging stations and two level 1 stations that require your own charger. Two Chargepoint stations are available at the Outdoor Center. All of our Level 2 stations are $0.45 / kWh and please be aware our E-lot stations have a loitering fee.

Grease Recycling: Each year, Sugarloaf Resort works with Maine Standard Biofuels to recycle the Sugarloaf village business’s fryer oil. Maine Standard Biofuels upcycles biomass into products like heating oil, biodiesel, cleaners and lubricants. By working together, we help alleviate the nation’s problem of over-burdened landfills by recycling over 8,000 lbs. of fryer oil each year. 

Heat Pumps: The Widowmaker and new childcare center remodels have included the installation of a heat pump to offer heating and cooling electrically and reduce the overall demand on our Base Lodge’s furnace. We are currently in the planning process for switching the rest of the Base Lodge over to heat pumps with the goal of reducing our fuel oil consumption by 85%. 

Hotel Rooms: 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 10:00 am. This temperature control system ensures that rooms are not maintaining a high temperature for many days.  Reusable PathWater bottles are available for guests to ensure they have a container to use for refilling. Both the K-cups and the bars of soap are recycled through mail-in programs. The liquid bath products are purchased in bulk and the bottles are refilled. Each room is outfitted with a recycling bin and energy efficiency reminders such as shut off the lights and reuse your bath towels.

LED Lights: Ongoing efforts have replaced most of the lights in our hotel, base lodge, and Main Street with LED bulbs. Most recently, our vehicle maintenance garage has converted. You may also notice some of our outdoor lighting is solar-powered LED. 

Ozone Laundry: Sugarloaf Hotel utilizes an ozone laundry system to cut back on water usage, eliminate, and reduce chemical waste and 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.

Equipment 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.Sugarloaf also collaborates with CVA at our annual winter equipment drive during Homecoming Weekend where all gear is donated to local schools and charity organizations. We thank all those who have donated their skis, boots, jackets and more to making the next generation of Sugarloafers. 

Community-Wide Composting: Sugarloaf is proud to work with the Town of Carrabassett by continuing to offer our local restaurant food-scraps to compost program. Compost from Sugarloaf’s operations, CVA, and 9 other local kitchens is picked up and brought to our turn-style composting tubs. This reduces our communal waste-to-landfill while generating quality soil that is used by employees, community gardens, and resort operations. Composting at Sugarloaf has been on-going for decades but since just June of 2021, we have diverted over 7.5 tons of food waste. 

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 snowmaking. 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 were retrofitted with new nozzles and nucleators during the summer of 2021, estimated to save 90,270 kWh/year. 

Sugarloaf’s snowmaking system saw a significant upgrade during the summer of 2022 with the addition of a booster pump house on West Mountain. The new pump house, combined with 107 additional high-efficiency HKD snow guns increases the number of guns the resort can run simultaneously under optimal conditions from 130 to 230 snow guns. This allows for the resort to blow more snow and open earlier than ever before. 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 snowmaking.

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.

Sugarloaf has partnered with Carrabassett Valley Academy students who have been conducting water quality testing in local streams to test for any possible contamination. As of 2022, there has been no contamination observed in Sugarloaf runoff.

Recycling Station 

Sugarloaf's recycling center is located behind the Snowbrook PO boxes. This is a single sort station open 24 hours 7 days a week. In order to keep Sugarloaf clean, we ask you to follow the signage to recycle properly. Please do not bag your recyclables.

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.

advocacy badge