Nature can bear the stress that winter sports impose, provided that skiing and snowboarding are done in a regulated way. When you ski or snowboard away from the marked routes and slopes, however, it can cause problems. What are we doing, and what can you do to minimize the impact of skiing and snowboarding?
Aware of our position as a role model enterprise in our region, we are also trying to lead by example by pro-tecting the beautiful environment that surrounds us. Only a sustainable approach to the way we work within our ecosystem can guarantee long-term prosperity for the people in the region, since our landscape is our most valuable asset.
We are mindfully ensuring that we carry out any necessary encroachments as gently as possible, and that we keep our impact on the environment to a minimum.
As a family-run business in the third generation of management, the subject of sustainability does not just mean a great deal to us here at Shuttleberg, you could say it is almost part of our DNA. In order for a company to survive over generations and to create a stable and lasting added value for everyone, sustainable management is a basic prerequisite. Sustainability, for us, has always meant increasing the prosperity and quality of life for society as a whole whilst interfering with nature as little as possible. In other words, we endeavour to do business professionally and not to bite the hand that feeds us - traditionally small-scale farms practicing mostly organic farming.
We want to show that winter and mountain sports at Shuttleberg are actually sustainable. This is why we have started the Good Travel seal and Green Destination certification process. We are the first winter sport company in the world, that actually managed to get this certification, especially for medium and small businesses. The Green Destination Foundation has awarded the Good Travel Seal and confirmed with best marks that we take the various different realms of sustainability seriously and implement them to the best of our ability here on Shuttleberg.
We finished the certification with 3 from 3 stars and we got 94 points of 100 points.
The certification covers many parts of sustainability. You can find our most important implementations on the various subject areas here:
We only use air, water and pressure for snowmaking.
More than 70% of the water is drawn from our 3 snow storage facilities. These reservoirs are filled exclusively with melt water in order to protect the natural water balance. The remaining 30% are taken directly from the brooks at Shuttleberg in accordance with strict hydro-ecological requirements. Due to the elevated position of our storage ponds (e.g. Himmelleitboden at 1,800m above sea level), most of the slopes below 1,600m can be covered with artificial snow by using only the pressure resulting from the height difference. This saves energy. Through the most efficient use possible and an ideal ratio of air, water, pressure and temperature, water and energy are also saved during production directly at the snow machines (snow cannons and snow lances). In order to achieve an ideal water temperature, we use atmospheric cooling systems with very little energy consumption and without cooling units (no artificial coolants).
For the daily preparation of our slopes and special slopes, we still need diesel-powered snow groomers. We participate in the development and testing of hybrid machines. These have up to 20% less diesel consumption. With the current technology, the best way to optimize fuel consumption is through an ecological and economical driving style in the ideal speed range and through an appropriate grooming plan.
Due to the climate crisis and the excessive global consumption of fossil fuels, the focus in terms of sustainability has shifted increasingly towards ecological aspects and climate protection. Years ago, we started to reduce our CO2 emissions and have focussed on renewable energy supplies.
At Shuttleberg we get 100% green electricity from the Salzburg AG.
We even produce our own solar-powered electricity with a 35 kilowatt-peak photovoltaic unit in Kleinarl and a 200 kilowatt-peak photovoltaic unit at our affiliated company in Radstadt. The surplus is fed into the power grid. E-bikes and e-mobiles can be charged with this home made electricity.
Among other plans, we would like to provide as many guests as possible with opportunities to charge their E-cars with green electricity. Furthermore, we are planning to set up further photovoltaic systems with up to 1,300 kilowatt-peak. In terms of CO2 equivalent, the average amount of electricity produced by such a unit offsets the current annual diesel consumption of our entire snowcat fleet.
Our main goal is to operate our winter sports area in a climate-positive manner in the future. Therefore, we are harnessing the power of the sun, as well as wind, and are currently assessing locations for the construction of 2-3 medium-sized wind turbines within our existing areas and facilities. This way, if permitted by policy and environmental conservation, we could generate more electricity than we consume in total, thus operating our winter sports area in a climate-positive way. Currently, there is a wind measurement mast with a height of 30 meters at the Mooskopf summit, which we will use to collect wind data until the autumn of 2024 to determine if installing a wind turbine at this location makes sense.
Many things are needed to operate a ski resort. It is important to us that our products and necessary services come from nearby companies, as far as possible.
With our offer, we make an important contribution to society in order to ski and snowboard in the mountains. Especially through our offers for children and youngsters (family run, various snow parks) and the discounts for different age and occupational groups, we give the opportunity and incentives for as many winter sports enthusiasts as possible to practice this sport with us at Shuttleberg. Exercise in the fresh air keeps you fit and healthy. Contact with nature strengthens ecological awareness. Playful offers and events for children and young people offer incentives to practice the sport on a regular basis. They are with friends in nature, in the fresh air and can surpass themselves with sporting challenges.
With the two buildings Sun House and Chill House, we offer break opportunities for families (Sun House) and young people (Chill House), which are adapted to the needs of the respective groups. The buildings are large and bright and there is no compulsion to consume. You can eat and drink your own food and drinks. All guests with food intolerances or special needs, or those who value taking their own healthy snack with them, can enjoy the dish in a beautiful, bright, cozy and clean place. Or guests can simply relax on the couches, loungers, benches, in the children's cinema (Sun House) or on the terrace. The Chill House also has a skate ramp and a boulder wall.
We fully stand for "Freestyle for Life". We not only support the local ski clubs, mountain rescue or the clown doctors with our clown party. We are also on the board of the WSF (World Snowboard Foundation). There we support freestyle snowboarding and independent events.
Different events are organized monthly, which are freely accessible to all interested parties. For example, the Salzburg Clown Doctors and the SAAC are supported in the avalanche course and there are many events for children and young people such as the Local Kids Camp or various competitions in the Absolut Park. All events are always for women and men and, depending on the event, are aimed at different age groups and interests.
35 year-round employees are employed at Shuttleberg. They also live in the local area. A further 80 seasonal employees are required for seasonal operation in winter. Most of the seasonal workers come directly from the region. We also have international employees from around 15 nations. We provide our employees with high-quality employee accommodation.
Particularly important to us are the social aspects of sustainability, such as the treatment of our employees as well as establishing equal opportunities. Our managers and the majority of our employees have been part of our team for many years, and together, we continue to develop our products.
To ensure good communication among all employees, we regularly offer English and German courses as required. For us, the commitment of international employees is a contribution to international understanding.
We are a family company in the 2nd and 3rd generation. The owner families are local and actively manage the company. The corporate family works with us and is within reach for all employees. An open culture is lived in which the focus is on people.
In winter, most of the employees work 8 hours a day. In the summer, at the request of the employees, the working week was divided into 4 days with 10 hours of working time each. The employees have three days off per week on which they can relax. An additional break of 15 minutes a day is paid by the company.
In winter, most of the workforce has regular working hours from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break (lift / cash desk / garage).
The slope service has day shifts and night shifts at a maximum of 1:00 a.m. (except in extreme weather situations).
When making snow, the shift changes regularly from 12:00 to 00:00 and vice versa.
The precise division of work in both summer and winter can avoid additional stress. Technical problems, complaints or injuries to guests can cause stress. Regular training and advanced training enables employees to resolve and manage these situations well.
Before the start of the season, there are regular internal training courses, which are divided into small groups depending on the area of work. General information on the operation, as well as new findings or changes (e.g. ecological measures - saving electricity, saving paper, saving fuel, etc., social aspects - dealing with colleagues, complaint management with guests, etc., and focusing on systemic content such as mission, Vision, goals, values, ...). There is also a concept paper on keeping body, mind and soul healthy.
For all cable car employees, especially new employees, two training courses are held per season. The operations manager checks the knowledge once per season. In addition, for every new employee a experienced, long-term employee is provided as a sponsor. An onboarding guide is used to support managers and sponsors in dealing with new employees.
All employees: every 3 to 5 years (depending on age) for a routine check-up by the train doctor: in (medical examination).
Raising awareness for nutrition through the healthy meal
In summer, a healthy meal is organized for all employees once a month. The meal consists of regional organic products and is prepared with little meat and sugar. The size / quantity of the meal as large as necessary so that it is sufficient for a whole working day in the field.
Every annual employee has their own company electric bike, which is primarily intended for the way to work and short distances while working on the mountain, but can also be used privately by the employees.
The use of the lifts is free for employees and one accompanying person in summer and winter. Exercise in winter sports (skiing, snoboarding, ski touring, snowshoeing on the Shuttleberg) in the fresh air and in nature is a valuable contribution to the promotion of their health for employees and guests.
The water used for snowmaking is at least bathing water quality, which is 100% guaranteed by UV and filter systems. There is no contamination of the water during the snow-making process.
More than 70% of the water for snowmaking is obtained from the snow reservoirs (water ponds on the Shuttleberg - Himmelleitboden reservoir, Winklalm 1 and 2, Frauenalm). Our storage ponds are filled exclusively with melt water in order to protect the natural water balance. The remaining 30% are taken directly from the brooks at Shuttleberg in accordance with strict hydro-ecological requirements. The snow is fed back into the natural water cycle.
We want to avoid the use of bottled water in plastic bottles at Shuttleberg. With our water dispensers in the Sun House and Chill House, and with the water bottles for our employees, all guests and staff have the chance to drink clean drinking water directly from the area.
Melt water from the immediate vicinity is used for snowmaking. The company buildings are connected to the municipal sewage system - the sewage is disposed of in accordance with the law. Modern and regularly serviced oil separators ensure that no oil gets into the environment from the garages and filling stations. When working in the field, oil sumps are used and oil binding agents are carried for safety.
We use biodegradable cleaning agents and hand care products.
The construction of all operationally necessary systems (cable cars, slopes, snowmaking, snow storage, pumping systems, path network, etc.) is checked in Salzburg by ARGE Ski. The interests and demands of the various specialist areas of water protection, nature conservation, spatial planning and geology are weighed up and approved accordingly. All of the above-mentioned systems can only be built after appropriate advice and coordination and after approval under nature conservation law. For this permit, it is usually necessary to present inventories and expert opinions on the plant and animal species occurring in order to protect these habitats as best as possible. Often monitoring work and strict requirements for construction (consideration of habitats, breeding seasons, migrations, etc.) and maintenance have to be followed. In addition, compensatory measures or substitute measures are specified depending on the size and type of the project.
The cable car systems are built in such a way that they blend in as well as possible with the landscape and do not catch the eye from a great distance. The pillars of the cable car systems are colored green in order to have little influence on the landscape. We have been using larch cladding made from regional wood for the cladding of the cable car stations since 2017.
The construction of the bottom station Lumberjack Shuttle resulted in a flat roof area that was greened according to the location and which today represents a valuable dry biotope.
The slope guidance system was converted to larch trunks in 2017, which indicate the directions with dibon-on-wooden boards. These signposts integrate perfectly into the landscape from the rear view and, thanks to their subtle design, do not interfere with the front view either.
For our children's product “Family Run” there are “stations” on the blue “Family Run” slope, which are identified by one of the mascots. These stations are also made of wood as far as possible.
Burton the Stash Park is a natural, all-wood snow park. Like the entire park, the obstacles are perfectly integrated into nature. Due to its location on a northern slope, this special snow park does not need any technical snowmaking and is not groomed with piste equipment. The obstacles were handcrafted from wood.
Several signposted hiking and biking trails run along Shuttleberg, guaranteeing a local experience of nature.
The company is part of the "Respect Your Limits" campaign. The guests are sensitized to the respectful handling of the habitat of the wild animals and plants in and around the Shuttleberg. Guests are requested and informed to stay on the marked slopes and freeride routes so as not to disturb or startle the wild animals.
The ski slopes are used as alpine pastures in summer and thus represent an important part of maintaining traditional cattle farming in the Alps. We attach great importance to sustainable agriculture - 50 percent are organic farmers. The slightly overgrown, steeper embankments are not grazed as much by the animals as the flat areas and overgrown. With our help, these areas are cleaned regularly and the alpine pastures remain largely open. In this way, the unique flora of the alpine meadows can be preserved and the livelihood of the local farmers is secured for the summer.
Educational work on coherences in nature as well as maintaining and improving the environment by taking preventative measures are of equal importance for us. We have already been able to initiate a couple of sustainable offsetting measures over the past few years: