A Brief History of Copper Mountain's Environment Commitment

Environmental Vision

Copper Mountain is committed to the environment in which we live, work and play.  We strive for sustainability through balancing environmental stewardship and fiscal responsibility.  We are focused on energy and natural resource conservation, reducing and recycling waste, actively participating in our community and protecting the lands we share.

At Copper we have learned that to make a difference, we need to not only “reduce, reuse, and recycle” but “rethink” as well.  The following is a brief history of Copper ‘rethinking’ its practices to better the environment throughout the years:

Historical Initiatives

2004/2005

  • Copper embarked on an ‘Energy Initiative Program’ designed to reduce energy consumption and energy resources.  Three major projects were completed:
    • Copper performed major lighting retrofits at the EDGE, the Athletic Club, Union Creek, and Copper Station. The light fixtures were replaced to be able to run higher efficiency T8 and CFL bulbs.
    • Copper installed electric consumption meters on PDS buildings to better understand energy consumption and use the data to initiate behavioral changes and reduce energy use.
    • Controls were installed on lift station heater systems, to eliminate unnecessary use. The system is currently functional on all 6 detachable lifts and associated maintenance buildings. Over the years there have been some improvements by adding IR heaters.
  • Copper partnered with the “Friends of the Dillon Ranger District” to sponsor and participate in trail maintenance days on the ‘Wheeler Lakes’ and ‘Colorado Trail.’  The program continues to this day; typically three days each summer.

2005/2006

  • Copper replaced part of its bus fleet with environmentally friendly ‘Cobuses’ which are 60% more efficient per passenger than the standard bus in our fleet.  To date, Copper has three Cobuses in its fleet.
  • Copper began an upgrade on its recycling campaign, via additional recycling containers and the implementation of single-stream recycling.  Today, in addition to the typical household goods recycling, Copper recycles light bulbs, steel, wood pallets, solvents, oil, anti-freeze, and more.

2006/2007

  • In a partnership The National Forest Foundation, Copper developed a program to donate a portion of lodging revenue to fund local forest conservation projects.  Since the program’s inception, over $115,000 has been donated.
  • Copper Employee’s founded the ‘Copper Environmental Foundation’ which is a non-profit dedicated to support environmental initiatives in Summit County and the surrounding area.  Employees can contribute donations matched by Copper through payroll deductions, which has resulted in more than $100,000 granted to local community programs.
  • Copper began an annual purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), to offset 100% of its electrical consumption.  While the program was discontinued in 2008 due to the economic downturn, it was reestablished in 2009/2010 by Powdr and continues each year.

2008/2009

  • The construction of Woodward at Copper is completed; via the implementation of energy efficiency measures, using recycled materials and much more, the building is awarded the “Green Globes” green building certification.
  • Copper installed a 4.2kW solar system at the Transportation Center. This system is currently generating an average of 5,900kWh annually.

2009/2010

  • Copper instituted a carpooling campaign.  Guests are encouraged to carpool to Copper and rewarded with priority or free parking in select pay lots, and catchy carpooling bumper stickers.
  • Copper installed an automated fan snowgun for its half pipe, which automatically adjusts run times and rates based on weather conditions; thus saving significant amounts of water and energy resources.

2010/2011

  • Copper began a pilot composting program at the Jack’s food court, with a major expansion occurring in 2011/2012.  Composting now occurs at Copper’s three major food courts and banquet operations.   Trash containers have been removed, and in their place, Copper employees sort the waste into commercially compostable materials and recyclables, in an effort to have zero waste.
  • In a major renovation and expansion its snowmaking system, Copper installed high efficiency tower snowguns on the runs in the Timberline Express pod.

2011/2012

  • Copper installed two 1.2kW wind turbines patrol headquarters, which generate an average of 1,000 kWh of cleen, renewable energy annually.
  • The new Union Creek lift was installed with Doppelmayr Energy Management System to control lift station lighting, heating systems utilizing efficient component heat blankets, and energy consumption monitoring.
  • Copper replaced all of the aged windows (excluding the first floor) of its EDGE building, which is one of the largest buildings the resort owns.
  • For the construction of the USSA Speed Venue, Copper installed a high efficiency and weather automated snowmaking system.  The system uses much less energy and water than traditional snowmaking systems.

2012/2013

  • Copper joined the “NSAA Climate Challenge’ which is engaging ski areas across the country to take action and fight climate change.
  • A solar-thermal heating system was installed at Solitude Station.  The system ‘pre-heats’ the water supply before it reaches the traditional hot water  tanks, and is expected to generate heat for approximately 90% of Solitude’s summer hot water needs and 40% of the winter hot water needs.
  • Copper formed a ‘Green Team’ which is focused on ensuring consistency of environmental practices and prioritizing future initiatives.

2013/2014 (and beyond)

  • Copper is beginning a quest to become bottle free.  It has installed highly efficient bottle re-filling stations around the resort and is making a variety of reusable water bottles available for purchase.
  • Copper will be adopting a ‘No Idling’ policy designed to educate and encourage both guests and employees about the benefits of turning off cars and other machinery while idling.
  • Copper is conducting a feasibility study on a potential to install a hydroelectric turbine, which could use snowmaking infrastructure to generate renewable electricity.


Copper is making snow, along with Mother Nature's help!
Copper will open for the season on Friday, November 7th!