The ski resort industry is coming on board with the green movement, slowly but surely. The amazing, dirty little secret of ski resorts is they have caused more pollution than most industries. Ski resorts have chair lifts that run on diesel power, snow cats/groomers that also run on diesel and snow makers that spew major amounts of fluorocarbons into the air.
The ski resort industry has finally realized it is in their best interest to convert all possible aspects of their operations to environmentally friendly equipment. Some ski resorts have focused on their chair lift systems first. Some ski resorts are converting the chair lifts to wind power, while others are using biodiesel to keep their sky blue.
The Rocky Mountains is an area that takes the term going green seriously. Ski resorts like Park City, Alta and Sundance in Utah and Aspen and Breckenridge in Colorado, are among the leaders in the world when it comes to new and innovative ideas to create a positive impact on the environment.
The National Ski Area Association creates an environmental charter.
In the year 2000 the National Ski Area Association, a collection of 90% of all ski resort operators, created a charter with the goal of creating sustainable or green ski resorts. In 2008 the ski resort operators updated their charter.
The charter is extremely detailed and it lists several firsts that were a direct result of the ski resort operators desire to be green and sustainable. Among the achievements listed, Jiminy Peak, in Massachusetts, became the first ski resort to install a wind turbine that powers half of the resort by itself.
Aspen is one major United States resort city already focused on environment.
Aspen, Colorado has been focused on green energy and sustainable practices for over five years now and continues to lead the way in the ski resort industry. Among green projects Aspen has implemented, the resorts snow cats have all been converted to biodiesel, and its “Cirque” lift operates entirely on wind power (prior to the conversion they were diesel operated) and its highland patrol headquarters is completely maintained by a solar power system.
Aspen was also the first ski resort to join the Chicago Climate Exchange policy, binding itself to reducing carbon dioxide emissions . It was also the first ski resort to offset 100 per cent of its electricity use by purchasing renewable energy certificates from wind farms . The certificates provide funding for wind farms.
East Coast ski resorts also using innovation to go green.
One of the premier ski resorts on the East Coast is Mount Snow in Vermont. New York City residents top choice for a weekend getaway, Mount Snow has made major strides to create a sustainable environment. Mount Snow utilizes every possible alternative to diesel power including running the transport vehicles, called “Moovers,” on 100% vegetable oil. Mount Snow even manages to re-use its cooking grease to heat the ski resort operations building.
Mount Snow’s efforts to be the greenest ski resort range from innovations such as a heat exchanger to electric snow makers instead of diesel powered snow makers. A heat exchanger is a air-to-water heat exchanger that extracts heat from compressed air used in snow making, and pre-heats the water for the oil-fired boilers in Mount Snow’s Main Base Lodge. Mount Snow says on it’s website that the process provides 15-20% of the heat for the Main Base Lodge.
Ski resort owners could see revenue fall by 50% if global warming did continue.
Ski resort owners are businessman and we driven to take action after learning that by 2050 more than 50% of their revenue would be gone due to lack of snow. Whether anyone believes in global warming or not the fact remains it is smart and economically sound for the future to not rely on oil and diesel for our energy. Ski resort owners have now addressed a major flaw in how they conduct their business and are on the right track to being 100% green before they suffer economic hardship.