Ski Resorts go Green

Ski resorts going green – to stay white

High on climate change’s hit-list, more and more ski resorts are going to great lengths to reduce their CO2 footprints and keep winters white.

This season, California ski resort Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will reach the goal of using 100 percent renewable electricity – putting it 27 years ahead of the state’s official deadline. The resort had already been chipping away at its carbon footprint for a few years, with innovative initiatives like POW Parking – a partnership with Protect Our Winters that reserved the resort’s best parking spots for carpoolers of three or more passengers, free of charge.

This latest accomplishment was achieved by purchasing Green Tariffs from a solar generation plant in Nevada, which resulted in building out new solar capacity. In taking this step, the resort will reduce its total carbon footprint by nearly half, and thanks to its size it will take a leading role in accelerating the transition to renewables in the region. Squaw Valley will also employ a nearby Tesla battery facility to back-up their renewable supply, lowering the risk of using fossil-fuel-based energy from the grid during periods of high use, blackouts, and during the night when the solar plant is not generating.

This is just the latest development in a trend that is seeing more and more ski resorts amping up their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The smaller resort Wolf Creek Ski Area, located in Colorado, became the first fully solar-powered ski resort in the US earlier this year, and the big resorts are also setting the bar high. Aspen Skiing Company, for example, has reached 24 million kilowatt hours from its own renewable energy utilities and Vail Resorts has pledged to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Photo: Grant Gunderson

Jonathan Fraenkel-Eidse
jonathan.eidse@norragency.com