Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort
 
  • Chance of Sleet
    Today
    24°F
    31° | 23°
  • 12-18"
    Storm Total
  • 30-48"
    Base Depth

Environment

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area recognizes a delicate balance must be maintained to protect and preserve the dynamic environment of our spectacular Eastern Sierra region and the world beyond. Working toward this goal since 1999, MMSA's Environmental Programs are supported and driven by the commitment of many dedicated individuals.

As we increasingly see the damaging effects of short-sighted environmental policies, we know that reducing our environmental footprint through carefully considered actions is paramount. Indeed, action is the main focus of our Environmental Programs, as you can see by clicking through this website and exploring what we've done to put our Environmental Policy Statement into action.

We invite you to explore our ongoing efforts to be conscientious citizens and stewards of our beautiful environment. We encourage you not just to join us in our efforts here, but to also be inspired to initiate positive action in your corner of the world.

"We are stewards of the public lands entrusted to our care, and are mindful of the limits of the ecosystem that we share with our community and the world.  The goal is sustainability."

 - Rusty Gregory, MMSA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

MMSAs Four Point Environmental Policy Statement


Sustainable Development

MMSA is committed to resource conservation and pollution prevention to eliminate or minimize adverse environmental impacts.

Sierra Star Reclaimed Water

MMSA partnered with the Mammoth Community Water District (MCWD) to install the first recycled "gray" water system in the Eastern Sierra. The system, going on-line at MMSA's Sierra Star Golf Course in summer 2010, utilizes up to 320 acre feet per year of reclaimed water, making Sierra Star's fairways the "greenest" greens in the High Sierra. Sierra Star's course will be watered with one hundred percent reclaimed water, saving enough potable water to serve almost one thousand households, or roughly one third of the Town of Mammoth Lakes' permanent residents. The system works by processing gray water at the MCWD facilities, then piping it to Sierra Star through a closed infrastructure system. The project is a model for public-private partnerships, and helped MMSA win the 2010 NSAA Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Water Conservation.

LEED Buildings

MMSA leads the way in the Eastern Sierra with three completed LEED certified buildings. LEED ("Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design") was established by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1993 as a national environmental rating system to encourage the mainstream building industry to utilize sustainable practices. LEED-recognized building practices include reducing carbon footprint by utilizing building materials processed and manufactured within 500 miles, using local masonry rock, installing energy efficient windows and systems, and purchasing carpeting, decking, and drywall fabricated from recycled materials. MMSA celebrated the opening of the first LEED certified building in Mammoth Lakes with the opening of a LEED Platinum certified cabin at Tamarack Lodge and Resort. MMSA's Tamarack Lodge and Resort, established in 1924, sits at the entrance to the Mammoth Lakes Basin, one of the most heavily visited National Forest portals in the United States. "Constructing the Tamarack cabin to LEED Platinum standards is one of many important steps that Mammoth Mountain is taking to fulfill our commitment to the environment," said Rusty Gregory, CEO, Mammoth Mountain. MMSA followed its success at Tamarack Lodge with the completion of the first phase of Altis, a slope side luxury town home project consisting of four LEED Gold Certified homes. When completed, Altis will feature twenty four LEED Gold certified residences.

Public Transportation

MMSA first started transporting guests from the Town in the 1950s, long before anyone was thinking green. During those early days, guests were transported on Weasels, recycled military vehicles that could navigate snow-covered roads. In its modern incarnation, MMSA's transportation system encompasses five major routes through the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and efficiently ferries guests to and from the lifts, lodging, dining and shopping areas, without charge. Getting people out of their many cars and on to more efficient public transportation helps reduce traffic congestion, relieves warm-weather drivers from having to deal with wintry road conditions, and dramatically reduces carbon footprint.

Village Ski Back Trail

The Village Ski Back trail demonstrates MMSA's commitment to environmental stewardship in ways much deeper than simply getting people to ski (rather than drive) back to their lodging - the construction project itself was developed and modified to be far more environmentally sensitive than previous planners had anticipated. Originally proposed in the late 1970s, design of the trail began in 1994 and was updated multiple times to meet the changing priorities of the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the U.S. Forest Service and MMSA. The final alignment and construction utilized slope retention techniques to minimize disturbance of the natural terrain, reduced dirt export by 20,000 cubic yards, and avoided the removal of approximately 130 trees. During Summer 2010, MMSA will be completing the second phase of the trail, which includes the re-aligned grading and the installation of the Village Ski Back Bridge.



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Regulatory Compliance

MMSA is committed to complying with all environmental legislation and regulation governing business operations.


One needs only look at a ski resort in summer to see the potential for environmental damage due to erosion - large swaths are without trees to help hold down the dirt, particularly on Mammoth Mountain, where the volcanic rock and dirt are in many places not amenable to trees.  Erosion is one of the most pressing and widespread environmental threats to watersheds throughout North America.

In 2005, MMSA, together with several regional ski resorts, partnered with the Sierra Business Council, IERS Tahoe and the United States Forest Service to create CAREC, the California Alpine Resorts Environmental Cooperative.  The partnership sought to bridge the gaps in then-available erosion control research (which was difficult to apply directly to ski area operations) by gathering the encyclopedic knowledge held by ski resort professionals such as Clifford Mann, MMSA's Mountain Operations Director.  The net result of the partnership was the Sediment Source Control Handbook, which presents a usable set of principles and practices for addressing erosion control and watershed restoration projects.

MMSA recently registered and verified its Year 2007 carbon footprint with the Climate Registry.  By registering its emissions, MMSA is better able to set a baseline, review operations, and plan for the reduction of actual and planned future impacts.  


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Education and Support

MMSA is committed to the education and support of employees and guests to provide the knowledge and ability to comply with this policy. 


National Forest Foundation Grants

Over the past several years, MMSA partnered with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) in a program whereby MMSA customers were asked to donate $1 per room night or season pass purchase to local environmental causes. One dollar at a time really adds up, as MMSA's guests are responsible for nearly $200,000 in donations so far; however, it adds up even more, as the NFF matches an additional 50% of the donations, creating an environmental multiplier of massive impact! The largest award-winning proposal for 2009 came from The Friends of the Inyo, who were awarded $114,000 for their proposal to work with Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation (MLTPA) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) to start a Mammoth Community Stewardship Program. Among other things, the Friends of the Inyo mobilized students and volunteers to perform trail maintenance, upkeep and patrol on over 75 miles of the Inyo's well loved and heavily used trail system. MMSA is proud to support this type of boots-on-the-ground stewardship of our public lands.

Founding Member of MLTPA

Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access (MLTPA) is a local group that advocates for, initiates, facilitates, and participates in the planning, implementation, and stewarding of a system of four-season trails and public access for the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the immediate Eastern Sierra. MMSA helped form MLTPA, and donated $100,000 to MLTPA to design and obtain approval of a regional trails plan for the greater Mammoth Lakes basin. The trails plan outlines the existing conditions, suggests improvements, and defines signage and way finding needs to create a user friendly trail system for residents and guests.

Top of Sierra Interpretive Center

Located at the summit of Mammoth Mountain at 11,053 feet, the Top of Sierra Interpretive Center is a unique resource for visitors to learn about the natural history of Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra. Displays and topics include: volcanic history; geology; weather patterns; cultural heritage; views of the Eastern Sierra landscape - the Minarets, Mono Lake, and 400 miles of peaks averaging 12,000 feet in elevation. Admission is free with that day's Scenic Gondola Ride ticket, Bike Park ticket or a valid season pass. Over six years of research and planning went into the project. Content was developed by a coalition of community members, representatives from the US Geological Survey, US Forest Service, Paiute Tribal Council and local environmental organizations.

Complimentary Naturalist Interpretive Tours

MMSA actively helps guests get engaged in appreciation and concern for the environment. Tours are conducted by naturalists and feature ninety minutes of touring and learning about the ski area's environment. Education is advocacy!

Support of Regional Environmental Outreach and Education Programs

MMSA remains a steadfast supporter of local and regional environmental outreach and educational programs. MMSA is a founding member of the High Sierra Energy Foundation, a nonprofit corporation supported by local individuals, businesses and local government agencies. The mission of the Foundation is to develop energy efficiency and renewable resources in Mammoth Lakes and the High Sierra. MMSA is also a founding member of Mammoth Lakes Housing, and maintains a seat on the MLH Board of Directors. MLH has pioneered the development of workforce housing in Mammoth Lakes by constructing energy efficient, affordable homes. Having more affordable, environmentally friendly workforce housing helps local workers avoid living in more distant locations such as Bishop, saving them a costly and environmentally unfriendly commute.


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Continual Improvement

MMSA is dedicated to utilizing the best available information and technology relative to environmental protection and human health.  Established targets and objectives will be regularly reviewed and updated to help ensure continual improvement. 


Energy Conservation and use of Renewable Energy

MMSA is committed to continually improving its energy consumption habits. MMSA's facilities and services are quite large, and every year MMSA brings on new projects and new capacities, and all of them create additional energy consumption. Over a decade ago, MMSA realized that if it did not get a handle on its energy consumption, things would quickly get out of hand. So, to track and control its energy consumption, MMSA set the year 2000 as a baseline, and then set about seeking efficiencies wherever possible. As a result of the knowledge gained and the solutions implemented, MMSA has significantly reduced its electric energy consumption and propane consumption against the year 2000 baseline, despite the fact that MMSA has continued to bring new energy-consuming services on line. MMSA's success was achieved by getting control over MMSA's facilities, which include over 100 structures totaling about 600,000 square feet. While to some this may have looked like an insurmountable obstacle, MMSA's Energy Manager Bob Bradbury focused on the countless available opportunities for improvement. Bradbury conducted energy audits of each building to examine construction, occupancy patterns, user habits and existing energy systems. Bob then produced a 125-page conservation plan identifying inefficiencies, solutions and implementation timelines. Solutions ranged from the very simple, like replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescents, to more complex fixes, including installation of state of the art building control systems, as well as monitoring systems designed to integrate and track major energy consuming systems. Through real-time connections with Mammoth's intranet, facility managers can now see and control energy use. The difference is remarkable. On a different but parallel track, Mammoth is driving to reduce the company's use of fossil fuels. A significant percentage of the resort's purchased electricity comes from renewable resources. Some power and heat backup also comes from solar thermal air panels, and photovoltaic cells power the Village Gondola's communication system. Finally, MMSA continues to replace aging vehicles in its motor pool with new, fuel efficient and hybrid vehicles.

Waste Reduction/Reduce/Reuse/Recycle

In 2004, MMSA partnered with the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County to successfully apply for grant funding to start a solid waste recycling program. By using a public-private partnership to gain traction, MMSA helped create the first successful recycling program in the Eastern Sierra. MMSA now annually recycles over 130,000 pounds of glass, plastic and aluminum. Waste reduction strategies extend beyond the guest base- over the last few years, MMSA prioritized recycling the contents of all of MMSA's "Boneyards", collections of materials no longer used or functioning. As a result of the Boneyard reclamation projects, thousands of pounds of scrap metal from both June and Mammoth were sold as reusable scrap metal, and all of the old Chair 9 seats were sold and/or donated for new re-uses as benches and porch swings.

Green Product Purchasing

MMSA consciously partners with companies and suppliers that offer greener products and purchasing options. The most visible touch-point for this initiative is in our food and beverage division. MMSA's primary food service provider, US Foods, supplies compostable and/or recyclable products for all of the resorts coffee cups and to-go containers.


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Awards

Mammoth has received a number of awards recognizing excellence in environmental stewardship and responsibility.


2010 NSAA Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Water Conservation

2009 LEED Platinum Certification for Cabin 11, Tamarack Lodge & Resort

2010 LEED Gold Certification for Altis

2008 NSAA Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Stakeholder Relations

2007 NSAA Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Environmental Education

2005 NSAA Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Energy Conservation

2003 NSAA Silver Eagle Award for Excellence in Waste Reduction and Recycling

2002 California Environmental Protection Agency Used Oil

Pollution Prevention Award for Mammoth Motocross

Hazardous Fluids Collection & Recylcing Program

2001 Keep America Beautiful Award for Mammoth Mountain & Town of Mammoth Lakes partnership program creating the area's first organized community-wide recycling program

2001 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards recognition for beverage container recycling project


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Program Staff

All of Mammoth's staff are committed to environmental awareness and responsibility. Among them are the leadership team who set the vision and withhold the standards to which Mammoth strives.
Ron Cohen: Director, Government Relations and Environmental Affairs As Director of Government Relations, Ron is responsible for managing MMSA's relationships with the United States Forest Service, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and other government and stakeholder groups. As Director of Environmental Affairs, Ron is responsible for managing MMSA's environmental programs. Before joining the MMSA team, Ron was the on-site owner/operator of Tioga Pass Resort, the Inyo National Forest's oldest permitted resort, where he ran the resort year round for five years, and then in the summer only for three more years. Before TPR, Ron was a practicing attorney, first in Los Angeles and then in Mammoth Lakes. Ron moved to the Eastern Sierra in 1999. Ron received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. Tom Hodges: Director, Planning and Development Tom is directly responsible for the planning and development of MMSA's new facilities, and the continual improvement of MMSA's many existing facilities. In this role, Tom has been instrumental in the construction of MMSA's new LEED certified facilities, and also managed the development of MMSA's reclaimed water project. Tom holds a B.A. in Construction Management from California State University San Luis Obispo, and is a licensed California Contractor. Tom started working at MMSA in the early 1990s.
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