19 August 2018 from Danielle in 'Ski areas'' | 0 Comments

World

© Rosanne H. Pitcher, courtesty of Wolf Creek Ski Area

For all we complain about those energy-guzzling Americans, we have to take our hats off to Wolf Creek ski resort in Colorado, USA. As of this latest ski season, they have become the first ski resort in the world to run entirely on solar power. The family-owned operation has long been passionate about sustainability and had been offsetting 100% of its emissions since 2006 by purchasing wind power from a local cooperative. The switch to solar power has gone smoothly thus far, thanks in part to Colorado’s 300 annual days of sunshine. Here’s to hoping this green development inspires more ski resorts in North America and the Alps to think along the same lines!

Penitente Solar Project provides enough renewable energy to power ski area

The project, called the Penitente Solar Project, saw construction of a 10-hectare solar farm located in the San Luis Valley, some 80 kilometres from Wolf Creek ski resort. While the ski resort is famous for its powder – the annual snowfall is about 10 metres – the solar farm’s sunny, dry location is ideal for harnessing solar energy. All the resort’s operations now run on renewable energy, from lifts to electricity in buildings.

Ski hills face a green future...

Being eco-friendly in ski resorts is a no-brainer, since we all depend on Mother Nature to keep our ski areas beautiful. Several well-known European ski resorts have already turned to snow farming in a desperate attempt to keep sufficient snowfall for ski season opening. If climate change continues at the pace it’s going, we’ll shortly be seeing drastically shorter ski seasons and brown slopes. Aside from using solar power, Wolf Creek puts the emphasis on sustainability with water-free toilets and snowcats that run off biodegradable grapeseed oil. Lots of ideas for other ski resorts to start thinking about! If you want to do your part, check out our tips for an eco-friendly ski holiday >

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Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!

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