Exclusive ski resort The Yellowstone Club has begun transforming wastewater into snow. The Montana resort requires members to be at least multi-millionaires and has listed several prominent figures among them including Bill Gates and Justin Timberlake.

Using wastewater to make snow is not a new technique, but it will be new to The Yellowstone Club this year. The practice is widely used at ski locations in Australia, where resorts have won eco awards for choosing the method. Over a dozen ski areas in the United States are known to augment their snowfall with wastewater. However, there has been significant pushback to transforming wastewater into snow in the US. 

There was a twenty-year battle over the use of wastewater to make snow in Arizona that turned many US ski resorts against the practice. Environmentalists and Indigenous people in Arizona strongly opposed using wastewater to make snow at the Arizona Snowbowl, a resort in Flagstaff. Environmentalists argued that adding extra snow to already fragile environments could have negative effects. Indigenous groups objected to snow made from purified water that had once carried human excreta being dropped on mountain peaks sacred to their culture. After several years of lawsuits and court cases, the Arizona Snowbowl won the right to use the snow made from wastewater. 

After the landmark court decision, more ski areas in the United States were open to the idea of transforming wastewater into snow. Those in favor of this method argue that the purified water used to make the snow is actually cleaner than water from lakes or rivers. Using a recycled water source to make snow is seen by some as more environmentally friendly than creating snow from natural water sources.

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The Yellowstone Club is reportedly excited by the doors opened by the decision to use the wastewater-turned-snow this winter. The resort was able to open up more terrain and make more snow than would have been possible otherwise. The Yellowstone Club has been working toward employing wastewater snowmaking since 2011 but recently obtained the permits to expand the project from the US government’s environmental departments. In accordance with the permits, the resort has posted signs warning skiers not to eat the snow.

The Yellowstone Club is connected to Montana’s famed Big Sky ski area, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. The area of the two resorts combined is larger than the biggest public ski area on the continent. However, attendees of Big Sky are not permitted to ski on The Yellowstone Club’s slopes. The highly exclusive ski club spans 15,200 acres of private slopes and includes a spa and wellness center, fine-dining restaurants, and an extensive golf course for visitors in the summer months.

Yellowstone is part of the Discovery Land Company’s twenty-four exclusive, members-only international communities. The company owns beautiful properties with unique experiences available around the US and in other countries like Scotland, Portugal, Mexico, and more. Discover Land Company promises modern luxury in spectacular settings for visitors and residents. Their communities are known for being private and family-friendly.