SAM Magazine—Incline Village, Nev., June 4, 2018—The community-owned Diamond Peak Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe was recently recognized as being STOKE Certified for its sustainability efforts. The resort joins Oregon’s Mt. Ashland Ski Area as the only two ski areas in the nation to achieve the recognition.
STOKE (Sustainable Tourism Operator's Kit for Evaluation) is the world's first sustainability certification body with standards built specifically for surf and ski tourism operators. Its mission is to assist resorts in developing systematic approaches to sustainability, environmental responsibility, customer loyalty, and staff retention. Diamond Peak was an early adopter of the STOKE snow certification program during the 2015-16 season and has been following its "Roadmap Report" to achieve the best practices in snowmaking, interpretation, waste diversion, and community development.
"This certification is something we've worked very hard to achieve over the past three seasons, and it reflects our commitment to sustainability and transparency in our operations,” said Paul Raymore, Diamond Peak marketing manager.
Diamond Peak’s sustainability measures this past season included an interpretive guided tour for skiers and riders on the historic Incline Flume Trail that intersects the ski area. Participants learned about the mountain's cultural heritage, ecosystem functions of the Tahoe Basin, and the ski resort's sustainability initiatives. Joseph Hill, sustainability coordinator for Diamond Peak and the Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID), who created the ski resort's interpretation plan, guides the mountain tours.
"The STOKE process has proven invaluable to the success of sustainability on the mountain and in Incline Village and we look forward to working closely with STOKE to keep improving by sourcing 100 percent renewable energy and progressing towards zero waste," said Hill.
The new interpretation program also includes a series of signs on trashcans, lift towers, and chair-backs designed to inspire guests to participate in everyday initiatives that Keep Tahoe Blue. Diamond Peak also commissioned a local illustrator to create a children's coloring book featuring flora and fauna native to the resort for the Children's Ski Center. It also revived the Sierra Scouts lesson program, where instructors teach school group ski classes about topics that correspond to locations on the mountain with interpretive signs about the environment. Students earn a badge for completing the program.
In addition, the resort has installed more hydration stations and is selling custom reusable water pouches in order to reduce the number of single-use water bottles sold and used at the resort, which led to 34 percent less water bottle sales this past season—a total of 2,409 fewer bottles compared to the 2016-17 season.
Diamond Peak has invested millions into watershed restoration efforts and the addition of 28 high-efficiency snow guns and towers over the last three years, according to the resort. The use of PistenBully's SnowSat snow depth monitoring technology has helped inform snowmaking decisions.
Diamond Peak GM Mike Bandelin said, “STOKE provided us a roadmap to make short- and long-term strategic changes for achieving a more sustainable future. I'm extremely proud of everyone here for making this achievement possible.”