The ski resort company without a brochure

Words by Steve Threndyle

Remember the “paperless office?” Didn’t think so. Despite the enormous proliferation of computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones, the average North American still consumes a rather mind-boggling 500 plus pounds of paper annually. And while there have been advances made in recycling technology, there are still a lot of trees grown and harvested for pulp and paper, and not everything ends up in the blue box.

Trees are for Glades is a new environmental initiative being championed by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies. RCR has made a decision to not print their main brochure for the upcoming 2015/2016 ski season, and will plant a tree for every person who signs up to receive information about their favourite resorts via e-mail, instead.

Lindsay Minor is the Destination Sales Manager for Calgary-based RCR, Canada’s largest privately owned ski resort company. She says, “Our industry is so dependent on snowfall, storm systems and temperature, and we can see the negative impact that climate change is having on the ski industry in places like California. We wanted to do something that would lessen our environmental footprint.”

Brochures are what’s known in the marketing world as “collateral,” – glossy paper handouts that are distributed at ski shows, media events, and in ski shops not just in Canada but throughout North America and even in the UK. They tell the story of the resort – a few actions shots, a few photos set up in front of a roaring fire, and interior shots of palatial looking vacation homes – and provide a “call to action” so that potential guests can easily book their vacation. Traditionally, brochures have been an integral point of contact with consumers, especially at ski shows where literally thousands of them are passed out at each event.

Brochures cost quite a bit of money to produce, and most of them end up in either a landfill or recycling bin, anyway. Lindsay says, “All information like trail maps, vacation packages and town information can be easily found on our websites. Asking for e-mail signups instead can teach consumers to use more sustainable methods to gather information. We hope it sheds light on the amount of unnecessary paper that is consumed on a daily basis.”

Minor says the primary demographic for this new program are millennial skiers and riders; young men and women who are already tech savvy and who will be most affected by climate change in the future. “This is a generation that has grown up seeing first-hand the effects of changing weather patterns. We know that we need to do our part to protect what we love best – fresh mountain air and untracked powder.”

Funds that were earmarked for RCR’s brochure will now be donated to Trees for the Future, an international non-profit group that revitalizes impoverished African, Asian and Latin American communities through the planting of trees. Over 75,000 pieces of paper will be saved during this campaign, and RCR’s goal is to plant 10,000 trees. According to its website, Trees for the Future has assisted thousands of communities in planting millions of trees in 19 countries since its inception in 1989.

To sign up, log on to and register your email for newsletter sign-up; once you’ve signed up, RCR will purchase a tree to plant through Trees for the Future.

It’s a simple, easy solution that can do a lot of good. Minor says, “All it takes is one email address to plant a tree in a much-needed area on our planet. We need to start somewhere, and someone has to start offering creative solutions. We hope this program snowballs year after year and catches on throughout the ski resort industry.”

More information on Trees are for Glades can be found here:
Resorts of the Canadian Rockies Official Website.