Massachusetts Ski Resort Drops Off The Grid
Ski resorts around the country have been employing more eco-friendly, sustainable practices for some time now. And it's not surprising; the industry essentially relies on the environment, so it should be among the first to adopt cleaner practices.
Last month, Berkshire East Ski Resort in Massachusetts declared itself the first resort in the world to be completely self-sufficient in terms of energy. The resort will spin its lifts, light its lodges and power its snow guns by way of wind power. In fact, the wind turbine is expected to pump out even more than 100 percent of the resort's energy needs, which should let it sell the excess back into the grid.
One of the resort's owners Jon Shaefer put things into perspective: "[The wind generator] will eliminate over 1,400 tons of the greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere every year – that’s the equivalent of driving a car 2 million less miles or planting 85,000 trees annually."
The wind turbine cost about $3 million, $440,000 of which Berkshire acquired from federal and state grants. It towers 277 feet over the slopes and pumps out 2.2 million kWh per year.
Not only will the onsite wind generator make Berkshire East the cleanest ski resort going, it is expected to help sustain the business. One of the growingly-rare family-owned ski resorts, Berkshire East will use the wind generator as a way to keep operating costs under control and develop a sustainable business plan for the long term.
From my experience, the more resorts owned by families as opposed to money-hungry, soulless corporations, the better the sport is for everyone.