As stewards of the pristine northwoods of northeastern Minnesota, a green approach is at the forefront of operational decisions and practices at Giants Ridge. We are committed to protecting the air, land, and water that surrounds the resort. The golf courses at Giants Ridge operate under a stringent "Integrated Golf Course Management Plan" which was designed to eliminate the impact of the golf courses on the surrounding ecosystems. The Mountain at Giants Ridge operates under a "Sustainable Slopes Program" and focuses on continuously reducing energy consumption within its snowmaking and grooming efforts.
- In 2009 an upgrade to our snowmaking system was completed. Snowmaking is the largest energy consumption usage for any ski operation. The upgrade resulted in huge energy consumption, not to mention energy cost savings.
- Timers were installed on all exterior lighting including mountain and cross country lights, parking lots, golf car staging areas, and holiday lighting. Motion sensors are used for most interior lights.
- 75% of interior lights were converted to fluorescent bulbs which saves energy and increases bulb life.
- Water sticks for snowmaking have replaced many of the traditional snowguns. This has resulted in a 50% decrease in energy consumption during the snowmaking months.
- All computers and monitors are turned off whenever not in use for longer periods. Power Management is set on each computer to go INTO standby mode after 30 minutes, switching the computer to a low-power state.
- Four restrooms on the golf courses are solar-powered
- Some of the power provided to Giants Ridge by Minnesota Power is generated FROM wind, gas and diesel stations on-site to meet MPCA guidelines.
- Most of our thermostats are programmable with the ability to set temperatures to reduce energy use during off-peak hours, or when areas are closed.
- Additional insulation was recently added to the roofs of some of our older buildings, reducing natural gas and energy usage rates.
- Each time an appliance such as a dishwasher or washing machine is replaced, it is replaced with an "Energy Star" rated model which reduces electrical usage.
- The electric golf cars are charged at off-peak hours.
- Water-savings toilets have been installed throughout.
- Recycled water is used to wash all golf course equipment.
AIR QUALITY CONTROL & DECREASING POLLUTION
- Each time an older model snow groomers is replaced, it is replaced with a Tier IV engine model designed to burn fuel cleaner with less pollution.
- Each time an older 2-stroke snowmobile is replaced, it is replaced with a 4-stroke engine model, reducing gas consumption and air pollution.
- Electric golf cars (as opposed to gas) are used on both courses eliminating all fuel usage for golf cars.
- All vehicles receive routine maintenance to ensure maximum gas mileage and efficiency, including tire pressure, engine tuning, and regularly scheduled maintenance procedures as suggested by the manufacturer.
- Funnels are always used when filling gasoline INTO equipment in ORDER to prevent overfilling gas tanks.
- We prohibit all sources of indoor pollution, including burning incense, burning candles, fuel-burning furnaces, fuel-burning stoves, fuel-burning grills, fuel-burning space heaters, cigarette smoking, fireplaces, fuel-burning water heaters, fuel-burning dryers, and fuel-burning portable generators.
- Our food and beverage operations buy from local food vendors, therefore reducing the number of "food miles" that food must travel FROM farm to plate.
RECYCLING Materials recycled at Giants Ridge include:
- Kitchen grease
- Toner cartridges
- Equipment/vehicular grease &oil
- Fluorescent tubes
- Tires (tire replacement program)
- Parts washing solvent
- Scrap metal
- Giants Ridge uses all eco-friendly cleaning products.
- No herbicides are used on the alpine mountain and Snomax (used for snowmaking) is eco-friendly.
- Organic fertilizers are used on our golf courses, and very minimal use of pesticides is practiced in our course maintenance. In fact in 2008, we reduced the use of pesticides by 50% and instead increased foliar fertilizer applications and reduced granular applications.
- All copy paper at Giants Ridge is made FROM 30% post consumer waste.
- Bamboo golf tees are used instead of regular wood tees. Bamboo tees are the most environmentally sound tee on the market today. Bamboo is a renewable natural product that replenishes in 1-5 years.
- Our food and beverage operations utilize products FROM these eco-friendly vendors: Pepsi (uses recycled bottles); Twin Ports Papers (recycled restaurant paper products); Starbucks Coffee (a leader in becoming an eco-friendly company, it uses a new VIVANNO cold cup and supports organizations such as Conservation International and the Earthwatch Institute)
- We use fingerprint-automated time clocks and electric timecard processing, eliminating all paper timecards.
LAND DEVELOPMENT & REAL ESTATE All lodging and private developers implement green qualities INTO their projects including:
- conservation design
- open spaces
- vegetative buffers
- preservation of wetlands and floodplains
- no wetland impacts
- preservation of mature pines and steep slopes
- harmonious lot and road designs
- storm water run-off systems are designed to be absorbed on-site through natural areas, natural wetlands, and rain gardens
- building methods include green building materials, reduced construction waste, reduced energy and water use, protecting occupant health, and architectural style and colors that blend in with the natural environment
- comprehensive landscape and natural vegetation enhancement plan
- any disturbed sites are seeded, and trees planted, to prevent future erosion, impede run-off, and visually enhance the property
PRINTED COLLATERAL, DATABASE MANAGEMENT & DIRECT MAIL PRACTICES
- All brochures, postcards, and promotional materials are printed on paper that is a minimum of 10% post consumer waste and printed with soy-based or other agra-based inks.
- The Giants Ridge database is managed with a green approach with ongoing list maintenance with National Change of Address (NCOA) every 85 days which updates our DATA with forwarding addresses. DATA Point Validation (DPV) is utilized to confirm that every address on our mail lists is valid. We merge mailing lists and run de-duping processes to eliminate duplications so that we deliver just one piece of mail per household. We also run Do Not Mail requests and suppress those names FROM each and every list. We collect and store relevant, actionable information about our customers in addition to just name and address. By understanding our customers and prospects, we are able to segment lists so that we are sending messages that are relevant to them. Messages that are not relevant are junk and junk is useless and wasteful.
- We encourage e-mail communications and make it easy for individuals to sign up for our electronic communications; we don't abuse this seemingly inexpensive channel and take just as much care in managing these contacts as we do our postal mail.
- We use Federal Express exclusively for all outgoing shipments and express shipping. Fed Ex operates on the largest fleets of commercial hybrid vehicles in North America, with more than 170 hybrid-electric trucks.
ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS & MEASURES
Both golf courses are Audubon Society members and part of the Audubon's Cooperative Sanctuary Program, which includes community outreach efforts by helping local Boy Scouts and other youth assemble and place bird-nesting boxes on eh golf course property.
The Legend golf course was awarded an Environmental Steward award by the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America in 2001.