5 Unique Ways Ski Areas are Going Green

6 Jan 2011

Environment

Most of us agree — climate change is a paramount concern for skiers and snowboarders.

According to the alpine conservation society, CIPRA, “In 50 years all ski resorts below 4,000 feet won’t have a chance (due to climate change) and will be out of business.” It’s a no-brainer…without snow there is no gravitational slide on a white, slick surface. Without snow our culture is nothing.

With that fact settling in on the global conscience, we are seeing mountain resorts and communities starting to take a stand that there must be change. Here are five interesting, imaginative and effective ways that ski areas are working to combat the one thing that could kill our sport…

1. In northern Italy, in the province of Trento, officials have tucked one of the most endangered glaciers, the Presena, in for the night. An insulating blanket — 970,000 square feet (90,115 square meters) of dense 4mm insulation — covers the ice field. The material had been tested out previously in 2008 and discovered to have a success rate of 60% less ice melt loss in comparison to no covering at all.

2. In the Peruvian Andes, in attempts to slow down the melting of the Chalon Sombrero glacier, the locals have turned to painting the mountains to ward off glacial melt. According to the website, The Age, “Four workmen have been given the task of painting three peaks, starting with Peru’s Chalon Sombrero peak, 4700 metres above sea level…the painters, who have already completed two hectares of a planned 70, have been recruited from Licapa village, which depends on the run-off from the mountain for its water. The project is a low-technology remedy for global warming. The workers use an environmentally friendly mix of lime, industrial egg white and water, which is known to have been used since Peru’s colonial times. The whitewash is slopped out from jugs.”

3. The locals surrounding Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, have turned to covering its north facing shots with a giant reflective tarpaulin cover to shade it from the suns glare. According to Earth Times, “About 9,000 square metres of reflective foil is being spread on a ski-field on one side of the 2,962 metre-high Zugspitze in the northern Alps near Garmisch-Partenkirchen.”

4. Mt. Abram, Maine is on target to be the first net-negative ski area in North America. By creating more energy than it consumes, Mt. Abram is showing by their actions that they are leaders in the ski industry in combating climate change. By installing two acres of solar panels, this small ski area is going to lead by example on how to help the environment.

5. New Hampshire has implemented anti-idling initiatives. Over 15 snow play zones are promoting the thought. According to SkiNH, “One of the most effective ways for ski areas to help combat the rise in greenhouse gases is to reduce the amount of time stationary engines and vehicles idle by encouraging guests to participate in anti-idling initiatives.  So turn off your engine when you’re dropping off family, friends and equipment in the ski area drop zone! If you idle for more than 10 seconds, you’re wasting energy.”

Mountain Rider’s Alliance applauds those that take positive steps to combat climate change!

Related posts:

  1. The State of Climate Change and the Ski Industry in 10 Points of View
  2. MRA Partner “Protect Our Winters” Founder, Pro Snowboarder Jeremy Jones, Talking Green
  3. Making Sustainability Relevant by Phil Sarnoff
  4. Melting Memories; A Changing Face of a Beloved Sport by Meaghan McKasy
  5. Alison Gannett, Pro Skier and Mother Nature Advocate, Explains Climate Disruption and the World's Largest Natural Toilet Bowl
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