Heavenly’s Environmental Initatives

When you live in one of the most beautiful places on earth (Lake Tahoe of course) it’s easy to feel a special connection to Earth Day. One look out the window at the lake, mountains and green forests is enough to motivate anyone to want to to their part to keep our surroundings in pristine condition.

Luckily at Heavenly, our entire staff love the outdoors, so doing our part to keep our environment healthy never feels like a job. We even have full time staff dedicated to focusing in on how we can improve our mountain and community.

We sat down with Frank Papandream Heavenly’s Environmental Manager, to learn more about what we currently are doing and what we plan to do to support mother nature in Lake Tahoe.

What does Heavenly do to contribute to maintaining a healthy environment around Lake Tahoe?

Heavenly implements a comprehensive Watershed Restoration Program. We also install & maintain BMPs (Best Management Practices) throughout the resort. As an effort to encourage guests to save on driving and gas, Heavenly partners with Community Transit Service (BlueGo) to run shuttles around town and between all of our base lodges during the ski season.

How does Heavenly contribute to a healthy Community?

Through the Vail Resorts Echo program we encourage environmental stewardship, community giving, and employee volunteering. For example, Heavenly is Co-Sponsoring the Earth Day event in South Lake Tahoe and is a sponsor of Bike to Work Week. We also partner with and financially support numerous environmental and non-profit groups, such as The Clean Tahoe Program, The Tahoe Rim Trail Association, and The Sugar Pine Foundation.  Last year, hundreds of Heavenly employees planted trees, built playgrounds, and restored trails as part of the Echo program.

What are some of Heavenly’s significant recent  “green”  accomplishments?

In August 2011, the Tamarack Lodge was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. This was the first LEED facility on LTBMU National Forest Lands.

What are some of the environmental challenges of operating a successful resort that is set in the sensitive Lake Tahoe basin?

One of the biggest challenges on our mountain is maintaining effective soil cover. The Mountain landscape is very harsh and is difficult to revegetate. Heavenly’s upper mountain ski slopes are naturally not covered in 100% vegetation.

What efforts does Heavenly make to reduce its environmental footprint?

We are always looking for ways to conserve resources and get involved in our community. In the last three years we have achieved a 10% energy reduction as a part of a Vail Resorts companywide campaign.  In addition, we have implemented ‘IdleWise’ which requires all vehicles to never idle for more than five minutes and a ‘paperless initiative’ which has reduced our use of paper by 50% over two years.

What can guests do to get involved in helping keep Heavenly and Lake Tahoe’s environment healthy?

Anyone is welcome to get involved in the Earth Day events happening in South Lake Tahoe. Come drop by the Heavenly booth during the South Tahoe Earth Day event at Bijou Park in South Lake Tahoe on Saturday April 28th from 10am-4pm. Check out www.southtahoeearthday.org to learn more about the event.

While at the mountain, guests can help out in big ways by always recycling, never dumping trash and generally by showing respect for the natural surroundings we’re so blessed to experience at Heavenly.

Have more questions for Frank about Heavenly’s environmental initatives? Leave a comment and we’ll track down the answer for you.

Happy early Earth Day everyone!



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