Everything at Monarch Mountain is done sustainably, to meet the needs of the present without compromising the future. It's one of the reasons we refer to Monarch as "unspoiled since 1939."
Depending on all natural snow
Our location on the Continental Divide ensures outstanding natural snowfall: 350 inches annually. Since we depend on natural snow and have no snowmaking operations, we save electricity and alleviate the need to pump and store water.
In this regard, the single most environmentally friendly practice Monarch Mountain employs is what we don't do: waste water and electricity to make something natural artificially. Snow making will be included in our Draft Master Development Plan, but, for now, we're proud to operate on all-natural snow.
We upgraded our antiquated lighting systems so that, at all levels, Monarch's lighting is capable of utilizing energy efficient bulbs. This has decreased the Mountains energy output at the Base Area by 30 percent.
For six months during the year, the entire lift operations and the majority of the Base Area buildings are shut down and all resources are consolidated into small administrative areas.
Gas-driven auxiliary engines are used to run the lifts during our summer-long process of repair and maintenance. Because of their smaller size and decreased start up demands, these engines consume less net energy than running the lifts via electricity.
Reducing consumption and recycling
Each season, we collect and recycle over two tons of cardboard.
Hydration Stations throughout the base area allow guests to refill water bottles. Our bottled water sales have decreased by 40 percent since their installation.
All paper products used in food and beverage are made of recycled and/or biodegradable materials.
All trash bags are made of recycled, biodegradable materials.
All kitchen oils are recycled into bio-diesel and used within the state.
All oils, anti-freeze and cleaner fluids used in vehicle operations are recycled.
Reducing fuel consumption
Throughout the winter, Monarch operates two buses to shuttle employees to and from the mountain, about 40 miles round trip. This allows about 48 people to leave their cars at home each day.
We subsidize a weekly shuttle from Salida for guests through the Salida Parks and Recreation Dept.
A substantial investment has been made in the upgrading of our Slope Grooming Snowcats enabling Monarch to use fewer numbers of snowcats to groom the same amount of terrain. Each of the newer snowcats uses less fuel per hour than their predecessors. In addition, route selection management has reduced the amount of time used by these machines. The cumulative result has been a significant decrease in fuel consumption.
Waste Water and Water Quality Control
Monarch Mountain operates its own Waste Water Treatment Plant and Sediment Basin. All discharges performed downstream meet the highest standards set by the State Regulatory Commissions. The Monarch Waste Treatment Plant processes all waste water and the sludge that is removed is actually turned into fertilizer. As the snow melts it brings small particles of soil down the mountain. This silt is collected in the sediment basin before the runoff is allowed downstream. The material that accumulates in the basin is removed and re-used. Monarch has incorporated low volume flush valves in the restroom facilities.
In accordance with State regulations, all water is tested daily and reported to the State to assure that the water quality meets or exceeds State standards. Monarch shuts down the waste water plant in the off-season conserving electrical use. This practice began in 2010.
Converting Fryer Oil into Biodiesel
Monarch Mountain’s Food and Beverage Department collaborates with ClearEcos, a company that converts fryer oil into biodiesel. According to ClearEcos’ recent documentation, Monarch Mountain has reduced 355.2 pounds of pollutants! Monarch’s Food and Beverage Department combined with other Colorado restaurants have saved over 12 million pounds of pollution.