words by Melissa Fields
Many of Utah’s 15 mountain resorts have mobilized to not only offset their individual impact on the earth but are engaging in projects and advocacy reaching well beyond their borders to hopefully spark change among those who want to keep winter white. Following is a rundown of some of the earth-first efforts being pursued by Woodward Park City.
For more than 50 years, Woodward Action Sports Hubs and Camps have provided a world-class experience for both youth and professional athletes, allowing them to soar higher, go faster and achieve more than they ever thought possible. In fact, athletes who have trained at one of Woodward’s 12 facilities nationwide have, to date, earned 14 Olympic medals and 125 pro contest medals. With the 2019 opening of the Woodward Park City Action Sports Hub, this inimitable brand added another aspect of excellence to its well-respected reputation: environmental responsibility.
Woodward Park City features a building design and operating system created to be shining examples of sustainable mountain recreation. Recycled and/or carbon neutral materials were used in constructing Woodward’s 66,000-square-foot indoor facility and the other buildings and features found throughout its 125-acre campus. On-site solar panels produce up to 300,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year or enough to cover nearly a third of Woodward’s electricity needs. The portion of the indoor facility’s roof not covered by solar panels is “living”—a layer of live plants and shrubs that improve stormwater runoff, conserve energy and sequester carbon.
Other ways Woodward has integrated sustainability within its infrastructure include an on-site pulper that prepares food waste for diversion to the Wasatch Resource Recovery organic digestor facility; a landscape design featuring bioswales for stream runoff protection; maintaining partnerships with Momentum Recycling, Republic and Recycle Utah to recycle almost all of its waste; restrooms outfitted with low-flow faucets and toilets; LED lighting throughout the facility; constructing and maintaining eight on-site affordable housing units, offered to Woodward employees first before they are opened to qualified applicants; and a snowmaking system made up completely of low-energy snow guns.
Forestry and land reclamation also plays a large role in Woodward’s sustainability efforts. “Each summer since breaking ground,” says Tom Butz, Woodward Park City director of mountain operations and facilities, “we have made improvements and reparations to the land on which we operate, like re-seeding and performing erosion control on disturbed areas, building a significant network of catch basins and installing culverts and rock lined channels to send water into these basins. We’ll also be performing forestry work this fall to support a healthy environment and reduce the risk of wildfire.”
Woodward Park City strives to encourage mindful behavior in its staff and guests as well. Ten electric vehicle charging stations occupy some of the most desirable spots in the hub’s parking lots and bike racks make non-vehicular access to Woodward even more convenient. Woodward was added to the city’s free, citywide public transit route from the first day it opened to the public. Park City Transit is now utilized widely by both visitors and employees. Woodward employees are also incentivized to carpool.
In 2020, Utah Business Magazine recognized Woodward Park City’s leadership sustainability with its Green Business Award. And, as part of the POWDR resort family, Woodward Park City has adopted Play Forever, a sustainability-and inclusivity-driven mindset aimed at protecting the environment through sustainability projects, community engagement and advocacy for a healthy planet.
For more on sustainability efforts at Woodward, visit woodwardparkcity.com.
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