Environmental Initiatives

Understanding that the mountain environment is a recreational area’s number one asset, Crystal Mountain is committed to a strong environmental ethic and stringent stewardship of the land.

Crystal Mountain Refill Station PosterDrink Fresh Mountain Water Without The Waste

Crystal Mountain Resort is now banning the sale of all single-use plastic bottles. As a result we are hoping to save single-use plastic water bottles from ending up in landfills each year. We encourage you to carry a reusable water bottle with you that can be refilled for free at any of the refill stations around the mountain with fresh mountain water sourced straight from the mountain.

Why Crystal Mountain Is Making This Change:

  • Over 17 million gallons of oil are used every year to produces America’s consumption of single-use plastic water bottles.
  • Over 190,000 homes could be powered with the power wasted to produce plastic water bottles.
  • Roughly 38 billion plastic water bottles are wasted each year, not making it to recycling centers. That’s about 4 out of every 5 plastic bottles ending up in landfills and our oceans.
  • If you drink 64 ounces of water per day in bottled water, 1,382 standard size plastic bottles would be wasted every year.

Where You Can Purchase Reusable Water Bottles:

  • Right Angle Sports Shop
  • Cascade Grill
  • Bullwheel Restaurant and Bar
  • The Summit House
  • Campbell Basin Lodge

Refill Station Locations:

  • Summit House
  • Campbell basin
  • 2 stations in the Day Lodge in the base area

Pisten Bully Cat under the Mt. Rainier Gondola.PistenBully 600 E+ Diesel-Electric Groomers

Crystal Mountain was the first ski area in North America to take delivery of not one but two 600E+ diesel/electric snow groomers. The PistenBully 600E+ is powdered by a diesel electric drive that boasts significantly lower ecological impacts than standard snow cats. The 600E+ uses a diesel engine to drive two electric generators, which in turn, power electric motors that turn the tracks and snow tiller that provides a high quality groom for skiers and snowboarders. Over all the technology reduces CO₂  green house gas and NOX emissions by 20%. When traveling down hill the engine idles and the electric energy created from the braking effect of the electric motors is used to power the snow tiller. The machine operates at lower RPMs and is therefore significantly quieter than standard groomers.

Environmental Conservation at Crystal Mountain

Understanding that the mountain environment is a recreational area’s number one asset, Crystal Mountain is committed to a strong environmental ethic and stringent stewardship of the land. Since purchasing Crystal Mountain in 1997, Boyne USA has enhanced the hand-in-hand relationship with the Forest Service that has transpired over the last decade in taking steps to diminishing the impact on this recreational area. The 4,448 acres of National Forest Land included in the resort’s permit is under constant environmental management and observation. In partnership with the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest and Mount Rainier National Parks, Crystal Mountain is moving toward an ever-growing level of stewardship that will protect and enhance these valuable and sensitive public lands for generations to enjoy.

The programs described below give more information on specific environmental efforts being implemented by Crystal Mountain.

Water Quality, New Wastewater Treatment Plant

The all new state of the art wastewater treatment plant was completed summer of 2013. This facility replaces a 1965 treatment plant. The treated water is discharged to drainfields. Water quality is increased to meet standards set for today and into the future. At a cost of $2.5 million, Crystal is making a major investment in the best infrastructure.

IMG_2802Sustainable Slopes, the Environmental Charter for Ski Areas

Crystal Mountain is a proud supporter of this charter. The National Ski Area Association, together with its member ski areas and partnering organizations, has created an operations and outreach program. This Charter reaffirms the commitment ski areas have in improving environmental performance in all aspects of operations and managing their specific resorts, making possible their continued enjoyment by future generations. Recreational areas have been able to provide enjoyment to millions of guests each year on a very small portion of public land, especially in the Northwest. This very efficient and closely managed utilization of resources limited total impact on mountain ecosystems.

Food and Beverage Materials

  • Green recycled garbage can liners
  • Recyclable plastic cups
  • Recyclable plant starch based knives and forks
  • Recyclable, where applicable, plates and bowls (Cascade Grill) & to go boxes (Bullwheel and Summit House) are made from Sugar Cane products and/or renewable resources. All dishes at Bullwheel, Summit House and Campbell Basin are washable and reusable
  • Ecotainer cups for fountain drinks
  • Ecotainer cups for hot drinks (coffee, cocoa etc.)
  • Have eliminated plastic bottled product from on hill facilities to cut down on waste as well as fuel to transport product up and waste down
  • All cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum is recycled through Murrays Disposal.
  • Cooking oil is saved and recycled by General Bio Diesel of Seattle.
    NEW– Starting winter 12/13, breakfast at the Cascade Grill will be served on non-disposable plates accompanied by non-disposable flatware. This will significantly cut down on disposable waste
    Reusable water bottle filling stations can be found in the Day Lodge and at Campbell Basin lodge

Stream Protection

Crystal Mountain fully implemented a liquid deicing program for the Crystal Mountain Boulevard. By applying deicing liquid (calcium chloride) and use of a salt brine sand usage on the boulevard and parking lots was reduced to less that 20 yards from a potential 7,000 yards. This environmentally sensitive program dramatically curtailed the effects on stream sedimentation. The reduction of snow and ice buildup on the boulevard had also drastically reduced the amount of vehicle accidents

Sensitive Wetland Restoration

When upgrading the old Green Valley chairlift to a high speed Doppelmayr Quad, the base area terminal was relocated out of a marshy area to a less sensitive, drier area.

Fish Habitat Protection

Crystal Mountain strives to preserve fish habitat through management of the Silver Creek watershed and maintenance of the sewage treatment facility. Staff members work on a year-round basis to ensure the proper amount and conditions of water quality that runs through the permit area is up to Washington State standards. In 1997 Crystal Mountain received the Silver Eagle Award for excellence in Fish and Wildlife Habitat Protection.


All departments at Crystal Mountain participate in the collection and processing of cardboard and other recyclable items which are transported to a Pierce County Recycling facility.

Vegetation Management Program

One of the program’s primary goals is to maintain the maximum forest cover that is compatible with safe skiing and snowboarding. Operating plans and training manuals emphasize the protection of trees from the possibility of mechanical damage by snow grooming equipment and other operating machinery.

When it is necessary for ground disruption such as re-contouring within the boundary permit area, Crystal Mountain crews immediately mulch and seed, with Forest Service approved sterile grass seed mixes to protect against short-term soil erosion. These efforts take place each year along with native seed collection and area management of roads and guidance of all erosion areas.

Over a period of a few years native grass seeds and plants will re-enter these sites. Transplanting of native plants is also done in specific areas of the mountain. A benefit of winter avalanche control, the majority of trees in the area which would normally be kept small or non-existent by normal snow slides are actually kept extremely healthy and assist the area in healthy vegetation well beyond average circumstances. The result of these efforts is an aesthetically appealing and ecologically positive series of managed plant communities.

Master Plan

After 7 years of studies, the Forest Service approved Crystal Mountain’s environmentally driven Master Development Plan in November 2004. This vision calls for improvements within the permit area over a ten-year period. Over 3.2 million dollars was spent on the combination of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and the Master Development plan. The DEIS, which studied impacts on everything from lichens to native animals will greatly enhance knowledge of environmental and educational practices which effect the area. This Environmental Impact Statement will ensure that all area improvements will also embrace state-of-the art environmental features and continued excellent environmental management of the permit recreational area.