Schweitzer, in an effort to jump ahead of the curve, is turning over a green leaf. They've hired an environmental coordinator, signed the National Ski Area Association's Sustainable Slopes Initiative, purchased wind energy to operate several chairlifts, enlisted an environmental committee to work on improvements resort wide, and implemented a contest to see how much energy the resort could save last summer.

"It's important that we in the ski industry recognize the importance of supporting the environment that supports us," said Schweitzer President and CEO Tom Chasse. Schweitzer committed to improving their environmental performance in all aspects of their operations by signing the Sustainable Slopes Initiative.

One step in that direction was to purchase 1000 mwh (Megawatt Hours) of  "Green Tags." These tags bought energy from regional wind energy producers through a partnership with Northern Lights, Inc. After an assessment of past energy use, it was determined that the wind energy credits could be used to completely power Schweitzer's Basin Express Quad, Great Escape Quad, and Lakeview Triple chairlifts for the entire 2008-09 winter season.

"Not only is Schweitzer able to reduce our energy consumption by buying the green tags, but also we reduced our energy consumption in August and September by 27 percent through a resort wide energy challenge," said Kerri Kuntz, environmental coordinator. "It's really cool to see people from every department on the mountain come together as an environmental committee and come up with great ideas to implement resort wide."

Other ideas include improving recycling, reducing energy use, providing transportation options, and increasing guest awareness of ways they can contribute.