California ski resorts embrace renewable energy and hope skiers will love it

In the peaks near Lake Tahoe, the Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows ski resorts are hoping to draw skiers and snowboarders with some upgrades that have nothing to do with snow.

 In 2017, Boreal Mountain California installed 715 solar panels on the roof of the Woodward Tahoe action sports facility, resulting in a 235 kilowatt-hour solar photovoltaic system that will produce 325,000 kilowatt-hours annually. (Powdr Corp.)

In 2017, Boreal Mountain California installed 715 solar panels on the roof of the Woodward Tahoe action sports facility, resulting in a 235 kilowatt-hour solar photovoltaic system that will produce 325,000 kilowatt-hours annually. (Powdr Corp.)

The two resorts, owned by the same Colorado parent company, plan to become the country's first resorts to operate entirely on renewable energy by December. Squaw Valley also plans to build a mountain-side structure that will contain batteries to store some of that energy.

"Squaw Valley is usually at the forefront of all of these issues," said Michael Reitzell, president of the California Ski Industry Assn., a trade group that represents the state's ski resorts.

Other California ski operations also are becoming more environmentally friendly.

Last year, another Tahoe-area resort, Boreal Mountain, installed 715 solar panels on the roof of its indoor sports facility on the base of the resort's mountain. About two miles away, the Soda Springs ski resort began using 100% recycled water in 2015 for all of its snow-making efforts.

Vail Resorts — the Colorado company that owns 11 ski resorts, including Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California — has vowed to eliminate all emissions and waste sent to landfills for the entire company by 2030.

"We believe climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing every country, every business and every person on our planet, and we all have a shared responsibility to address it," said Beth Ganz, Vail Resorts' vice president of public affairs and sustainability.

Ski resort operators say there is a sound business reason behind such efforts. Not only do the resorts expect to save money over the long run by turning to renewable energy and cutting waste, but they also hope to appeal to skiers — particularly millennials — who put a premium on environmentally friendly travel destinations.

"They are going to support brands that they see a piece of themselves in," said Laura Schaffer, a spokeswoman for Powdr, the Utah parent company of the Boreal and Soda... Read the rest of the story on the LATimes.com HERE