Resorts begin making greener snow

| Print |  Email
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Skilift.jpg

The snow in Oregon is getting greener. Across the state, more ski areas are joining an industrywide push to run their operations using renewable energy. But Oregon resorts have gone even further, giving customers the option to buy green energy along with their lift tickets.

In 2003, Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort president Dave Riley partnered with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) to purchase enough renewable energy to power one chairlift. Three seasons later, five Oregon resorts and a total of 20 in the region now run some of their operations on renewable energy.

“The program doubled from last season to this season,” said Patrick Nye, director of sales for BEF. “That’s what Mt. Hood Meadows has helped to influence.”

Mt. Bachelor, Cooper Spur Mountain Resort, Timberline Lodge and Mt. Ashland, a nonprofit resort, also purchase green power. This season, Mt. Ashland became the first resort in the Pacific Northwest to power all of its operations with renewable energy.

But doing the right thing comes at a price. According to Nye, it costs a ski resort about 10% more to buy green energy. Mt. Hood Meadows shells out about $6,000 extra a year to run two lifts. When Mt. Ashland made the jump, the resort paid for the difference between regular and green energy up front: $18,240 to cover the next three years. It was a big chunk of change for the small resort, which gets between 85,000 and 100,000 skier/boarder visits a year, compared to about 590,000 at Mt. Bachelor and about 500,000 at Mt. Hood Meadows.

The ski area has challenged visitors to pay back the resort for that investment through donations and “green” ticket upgrades.

Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows, Cooper Spur and Ski Anthony Lakes have a slightly different program, in which customers can buy Green Tags and Mini-Green Tags. Green Tags are a way of putting more renewable energy into the grid and offsetting the customers’ own greenhouse emissions from driving to and from the mountain.

One $20 Green Tag represents 1,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy going into the grid — enough to offset the emissions from about 10 average trips to and from the mountain. A Mini-Green Tag runs $2 and represents 100 kilowatt-hours. The money goes to the BEF, not to the ski area. So far, few ski areas outside Oregon offer Green Tags or a similar option.

“Oregon is leading by example,” says Geraldine Link, director of public policy for the National Ski Areas Association. “I’m trying to get other resorts to do what Oregon is doing.”

— Melissa Bearns



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Business School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Training, from the mundane to the sublime, bolsters companies and workers in an uncertain world.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Staffing Challenge

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Greg Lambert, president of Mid Oregon Personnel Services.


Read more...

Getting What You Pay For

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Chris Maples, president of the Oregon Institute of Technology.


Read more...

Unshakable

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Ben Kaiser holds his ground.


Read more...

10 Innovators in Rural Health

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS