STOKE Certification adopted at Diamond Peak

Madison Schultz, Associate Editor

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Diamond Peak Ski Resort is known as the “locals mountain” for many North Lake Tahoe residents and Sierra Nevada College students. From indescribable views of the lake from the top of a run, to having the local mountain personality that riders desire, Diamond Peak is a resort that captivates the spirit of snow sports.
Since winter 2015-2016, Diamond Peak has also stood out in comparison to other resorts around Lake Tahoe on the environmental front, recognized as the only ski resort in the Tahoe area to have adopted the STOKE certification.
According to STOKE’s website, STOKE Certified—the Sustainable Tourism and Outdoors Kit for Evaluation—is the world’s first sustainability certification body with standards built specifically for surf and ski tourism operators. This certification specifies sustainable business practices that will better tourism operations and also focus on business’ impact on the environment and future.
The STOKE certification program officially launched in 2013. Founded by Carl Kish and Dr. Jess Pointing, the duo came up with building sustainability plans for surf tourism businesses.
“After helping these businesses build sustainability management plans and tourism experiences, we quickly learned that there were little to no sustainability tools or certifications that addressed the nuances of surf tourism, the fragile coastal ecosystems, and culturally rich communities that made these destinations special,” Kish said. “During this time, I saw a lot of parallels and potential for impact in ski tourism, alpine environments, and mountain communities—an area that I’m especially passionate about growing up riding in Lake Tahoe.”
Shortly after the founding of the company, Diamond Peak became involved with STOKE, and is known as one of STOKE Snow’s five pioneer members upon joining in 2015.
Some of STOKE’s mission statements include developing approaches towards sustainability, environmental responsibility, customer loyalty, and staff retention—all of which Diamond Peak has been consistently working towards implementing and achieving through short and long-term goals.
“The STOKE certified framework has been a useful tool in measuring these core values in a way that helps us benchmark against other resorts in the industry,” Paul Raymore, Marketing Manager at Diamond Peak, said.
Diamond Peak has been since been working on integrating these standards into its business model. In the 2017/2018 winter season, the resort added in several new terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy. However, unlike many other mountains in the area, the resort recycled old trail maps from previous years to aid in building boxes for the terrain features. This and other changes have resulted in the avoidance of 446 metric tons of CO2, according to Diamond Peak’s website.
Another program that has been created at the ski resort in support of STOKE Snow’s sustainable initiatives has been a local watershed restoration project. By integrating the sale of reusable water bottles/pouches and “Drink Tahoe Tap” water refill stations, disposable water bottle sales at the resort have reduced by 34%, according to Diamond Peak Resort’s website.
Aside from these, many other programs have been integrated into the ski resort’s sustainability plan, such as supporting a new staff retention award program, free shuttles to the resort for riders to utilize, guided mountain tours around Diamond Peak property for local wildlife and plant education, new high-efficiency snow guns, and children’s ski school programs teaching students about natural shrubs in the area.
Though STOKE as a company has correlating values with Diamond Peak, there are standards that resorts must meet in order to acquire the STOKE Snow certification. Some of the criteria that must be met includes renewable energy and emissions reductions, snowmaking, grooming, parks, backcountry access with training/safety, slope maintenance and erosion control, environmental and cultural interpretation, watershed management and biodiversity conservation, waste diversion and responsible purchasing, community support, employee training, and employee housing.
Amongst many current programs supporting sustainable business operations, Diamond Peak has many plans for the mountain’s future longevity.
“The STOKE certification should continue to act as a motivating factor to continually improve our operations with an eye toward sustainability and efficiency,” Raymore said. “Our ultimate goal is to be great stewards of this resort for the residents of Incline Village and Crystal Bay—our owners—first and foremost, as well as for the greater community of skiers and riders who call this mountain home. The goals that STOKE has for the resort align with the goals we have for ourselves, which is one of the reasons we chose STOKE Certified in the first place.”
According to Diamond Peak’s website, when the STOKE certification became involved at the resort, it provided the mountain with the tools and knowledge that are necessary to fulfill a more sustainable future.
“When they [Diamond Peak] became STOKE Certified, this achievement was a testament to their team’s dedication to implementing best practices in responsible snowmaking, environmental and cultural heritage interpretation, waste diversion and energy efficiency, and community development,” Kish said. “Diamond Peak recognizes there is no finish line when it comes to sustainability, but they are in a race to improve their practices in all areas of mountain operations as they set out to become an industry leader.”
For more information on Diamond Peak Resort’s STOKE Snow Certification, visit the following websites: www.stokecertified.com/members/diamond-peak/
www.diamondpeak.com/news/details/stoke-certification-for-sustainability

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