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The Big Picture: new initiative to reduce carbon footprint, promote sustainability

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PHOTO COURTESY OF JON RESNICK/BIG SKY RESORT

BIG SKY RESORT

BIG SKY RESORT — Big Sky Resort has announced a new sustainability initiative, The Big Picture, with a long-term goal to reach zero carbon emissions by 2030. This net zero goal is shared by all of the ski and golf resorts in the Boyne Resorts family.

The Big Picture prioritizes reducing carbon emissions to net zero through emission reductions and offsets, as well as a focus on reducing waste. This initiative also focuses on preserving the beauty and health of the ecosystems where the company operates.

This fall, Big Sky Resort hired a full-time sustainability specialist and signed on to the 2019 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Climate Challenge, a voluntary program dedicated to helping ski areas inventory, target and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Many of the resort’s efforts won’t be obvious to customers. Buying energy from renewable sources, choosing high-efficiency snowcats and lifts, reducing energy use with smart lighting and thermostats, and supporting mass transit and on-site housing are key components of the resort’s initiatives that happen in the background. Other efforts are visible, such as how the new Vista Hall—the resort’s largest restaurant venue—has minimized single-use plates, bowls and silverware and transitioned take-out containers to compostable materials. Recycling efforts, already in practice, will be increased, specifically by eliminating 99 percent of glass, which cannot be recycled in the state of Montana, and focusing on proper sorting of cans and other recyclable materials in place of unrecyclable plastics.

Additionally, a composting program in Vista Hall will pilot diverting food waste from landfills to a local composting facility in Bozeman. This winter, Big Sky expects to keep more than one ton of waste out of landfills, and plans to expand the effort to other food and beverage operations in the near future.

“While we plan to put significant focus in efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, waste reduction is also an important step to take responsibility for our environmental impact,” said Kryn Dykema, sustainability specialist, Big Sky Resort. “Rather than sending organic material to the landfill, composting created by this waste diversion program contributes to local agriculture with healthy soil.”

“Our goal is to continue innovating and reimagining our approach to a changing climate,” said Big Sky Resort General Manager Troy Nedved. “We are dedicated to balancing our environmental footprint, social responsibilities, and growth. We believe that by honestly and openly evaluating our impact, and working together with other stakeholders, we can make a positive difference.”

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