As you’re probably aware, the ski industry is very sensitive to climate change. From seasons that are very different from one year to the next to drastic temperature changes in a single day, operating a snow-dependent leisure service is increasingly difficult. It’s been a long time since we could count on natural snow to provide a ski area that meets the demands of our guests. Snowmaking systems are therefore used at full capacity from the very first cold windows in the fall. These cold periods are however shorter and less reliable at the start of each season.
Our teams are proactive and are constantly on the lookout for changes in weather. They prepare the equipment according to the forecasts to maximize efforts on the ground. To be best adapted to climate changes, we’re constantly studying new technologies and investing in more energy efficient infrastructure. Our new machines can operate at higher temperatures, using less water, and create perfectly crystallized snow no matter the temperature. The rain and wind are what most affect the skiing conditions, since they can create a compacted snow surface. It then lies on our excellent grooming team to compensate for what Mother Nature sends our way!
Along with temperature, snowmaking is also influenced by humidity levels: if the air is more humid, colder temperatures are needed to make snow. With our new guns, it takes temperatures of around -2C to operate when it is more humid. This is common at the start of the season, when Lake Tremblant is not yet frozen. Days reaching a threshold of 0 ° C average daily temperature are considered days with good snowmaking potential. However, snowmaking is only reasonable if it can compensate for the potential loss. In order to not make snow in vain, we have to assess whether the window of cold is not followed by too much rain, strong winds or much warmer temperatures.
All this technology comes at a significant financial and ecological cost. Today, a good percentage of expenses are dedicated to snowmaking; for energy, personnel, maintenance and upgrades. On the ecological side, we are lucky at Tremblant to have several natural accesses to water and an environment that is favorable to the cyclical renewal of water. It comes from Lac Tremblant and Rivière du Diable and naturally returns there when the snow melts. In addition, we operate on renewable energy using hydroelectricity.
However, even with technological advances in snowmaking tools, the loss of season forecasts could turn out to be very high if global emission rates do not decrease. This is why we, with the City of Mont-Tremblant, are working very hard at the local level with organizations like Protect Our Winters Canada (POW) to save our white winters. In 2020, Tremblant became the first Canadian resort to join the POW program. Since its creation in 2018, this growing movement has united businesses, professional athletes and outdoor enthusiasts advocating for global solutions to climate change.
According to Tremblant’s eco-responsible manager, Nathalie Dandoy: “Tremblant has already demonstrated proactivity in researching and implementing eco-responsible solutions to help future generations enjoy the same pleasures that we are entitled to today. But the experts are clear on the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and each of us has a responsibility to take action without delay. Every gesture counts and we encourage our guests, team members, suppliers, partners and community to demonstrate real commitment and to become actively involved so that the joys of winter last a very long time. ”
Tremblant has been taking concrete and positive environmental actions for over 20 years. We’ve deployed countless green initiatives, from waste management promoting recycling and composting, reducing light pollution to save energy, watering with untreated water, carpooling, zero paper best practices, offering free shuttles, electric off-road vehicles and carts, introducing solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, protecting the mountain’s ecosystems during development and snowmaking, implementing a green hotel program as well as steering promoters towards hosting and managing eco-friendly events.