Protecting our ecosystem

Sustaining our Environment at Giants Ridge

At Giants Ridge, we work tirelessly to reduce our footprint on our planet. Through the stringent environment protection practices we adhere to,we hope to preserve our pristine Northwoods Minnesota ecosystem so it can be enjoyed by families and outdoor recreationists for generations to come.


  • 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 reduction, 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.


  • 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 carts (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.


  • Water-saving toilets have been installed throughout.
  • Recycled water is used to wash all golf course equipment.


Materials recycled at Giants Ridge include:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Aluminum
  • Plastic
  • Electronics
  • Kitchen grease
  • Glass
  • Toner cartridges
  • Batteries
  • Equipment/vehicular grease & oil
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Tires (tire replacement program)
  • Parts washing solvent
  • Steel
  • Scrap metal
  • Reels
  • Knives


  • 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.


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

Wildlife is abundant in the Northwoods of Minnesota. In the summertime, golfers may see whitetail deer crossing the golf course or a bald eagle soaring overhead. Loons are present on the area lakes, and you may see an occasional fox or ruffed grouse at the edge of the tall grass peering at you. Don’t be surprised if you also see some of the following wildlife: wolf, pine martin, black bear, woodchuck, moose, porcupine, as well as many different types of birds.