Whitewater Ski Resort: home of the best powder mountain in the Kootenay’s and now…a Sustainable Tourism certified member! Located in Nelson, British Columbia, Whitewater Ski Resort is world-renowned for their access to some of BC’s most epic winters (and their incredibly delicious glory bowls courtesy of Whitewater Cooks!). Recently, they joined the Sustainable Tourism family and are on a journey to make their business more sustainable. Read on to find out more about what they’ve been up to and how they’re protecting the beauty and wildness of the Kootenay region.
Tell us a bit about your business. What makes you different?
Whitewater is a community-focused ski resort in the southeast corner of British Columbia. We advocate real human connection, with no Wifi or cell service. And we encourage people to respect and appreciate the natural world: by educating guests on safe backcountry travel and by relying entirely on Mother Nature for our snowfall.
Why is sustainability important to you/your business?
The future of the ski industry is very dependent on a secure snowpack in mountainous areas. As the effects of a changing climate take hold, the quality of our winters cannot be guaranteed – producing a risk to our business. We’re doing our best to ensure that we are limiting our impacts on the environment, so as to increase our chances of skiing, long into the future.
Why did you join Sustainable Tourism?
We are members of the Canada West Ski Areas Association (CWSAA) and were pointed towards Sustainable Tourism as a way to begin improving our sustainability policies and practices.
What sustainability related projects, policies or initiatives do you most want travellers to know about?
In the 2018/19 season, we implemented High Occupancy Vehicle priority parking zones at the resort, in addition to our shuttle service. This program has successfully decreased our traffic congestion and one-rider vehicles that we see visiting. During our 2018 and 2019 upgrades, we implemented an eco friendly septic system, a low flow water system and LED lighting. For 2019/2020, we introduced a local ‘Kootenay cups‘ initiative to reduce coffee cup wastage, and we have been working closely with Protect Our Winters Canada during their first year of operating.
What are some goals and/or actions you plan to take in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business?
Our first priority since joining Sustainable Tourism was to get our employees engaged in our sustainability goals. So we created a staff sustainability committee which meets regularly to evaluate different departments and identify areas for improvement. Our next big projects include reviewing our waste management system and our purchasing policies.
We look forward to sharing in Whitewater’s sustainability success, as they work to protect the area they work (and play!) in. Learn more about Whitewater Ski Resort’s sustainability journey on their website here or check them out on Facebook here.