Sustainability is trending, and not just for clothes and food. The winter sports industry has heard the call and has responded, working to protect the terrain and climate for years to come. For Woodward Park City (WWPC), maintaining an ecological balance isn’t just a craze, it’s a commitment. From environment to community, WWPC is leading the charge on what it means to leave a legacy in the great outdoors through their sustainability campaign, Play Forever. “Play Forever is a core principle that informs our long-term vision,” says Meisha Ross, Interim Marketing Director for Woodward Park City, who goes on to mention the campaign was formalized in 2017 as part of POWDR’s (Woodward’s parent company) “enduring business philosophy and environmental strategy launched in 2006.”
We caught up with Ross who answered a few of our burning questions as to how WWPC is acting out its mission to Play Forever.
Woodward Park City
Can you expand on the Play Forever Campaign?
Play Forever is WWPC’s responsibility commitment to protect the environment and support our community. Our Play Forever commitment is led by an internal committee with representation from many departments. Each team member’s experiences and passions come into play with our Play Forever goals.
I see Woodward takes donation requests from the Play Forever Campaign. Can you share which non-profits WWPC is currently supporting?
As part of Play Forever, WWPC supports three causes – local relief, participation, and environment. We are proud to support our local community and currently host programs with YSA Get Out and Play, Chill Skate Program, and will partner with Ski Utah introducing skiing and snowboarding to Utah 4th graders this winter. Additional organizations are evaluated monthly, and past organizations included Utah Clean Energy, Wasatch Adaptive Sports, and the PCCF Community Respond Fund.
When it comes to recycling, what is WWPC’s role?
On the waste front, since day one WWPC has done everything possible to recycle building materials. We repurposed the original yurts from Gorgoza Tubing Park and turned our excavated materials into bike trails. WWPC has a food pulper on-site for food waste and works with Wild Harvest Farms for composting. Eventually, we will be able to purchase produce from Wild Harvest that was grown with the soil our compost contributed to.
To keep waste levels low, we have committed to drastically limiting single-use items and do not offer straws, plastic bags, or Styrofoam.
The WWPC kitchen was built with dishwashing capabilities that allow the resort to offer no single-use plastics in the F&B operation.
Tell us about WWPC’s solar and living roof. How does that support WWPC’s Play Forever mission?
WWPC’s roof is covered in a 213 kW solar PV system that produces up to 300,000 kilowatt hours per year of clean energy, which covers about 30% of the full operation’s electricity needs, and nearly 100% of the Action Sports Hub’s needs. WWPC and POWDR are working toward carbon neutrality and continue to seek options locally that will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint.
The area of the roof not covered by solar panels is a living roof, which improves stormwater runoff, conserves energy, and sequesters carbon. We have also committed to work with an energy monitoring system to get real-time data on our energy usage so we can find efficiencies quickly and act on them to reduce our energy needs.
What can guests do to continue to support WWPC’s mission of sustainability?
We’ve integrated the Play Forever messages into digital displays for guests, a pledge for employees to commit to doing their part, Play Forever Fridays in which we highlight a local non-profit organization, and empowering guests and employees to be responsible in their actions. Caring for the environment is not optional here. If you are a WWPC employee, it’s a part of your job, and if you are a guest we make it possible for you to engage too.
We enable and encourage employees and guests to use alternative transportation. We have 15 EV charging stations in prime spots in the parking area, bike racks, and we worked with the local Park City bus service to extend the bus line so WWPC is a stop on the transit system.
What other future improvements to WWPC’s sustainability do you expect in the future?
Play Forever is integrated into our strategic planning process so we use our commitment as a guide for our annual roadmap development that encompasses energy, waste, and land projects, supporting local relief, participation, and the environment.