Going green means lots of fluffy, white snow for Vermont ski resorts. More and more Green Mountain State ski resorts are turning to energy-efficient, environmentally friendly snowmaking methods, saving about $9 million and decreasing carbon emissions by 80 million pounds per year.
Recently, Mount Snow and Bolton Valley resorts started making snow with new, energy-efficient snowmakers and retired the old diesel-powered snowmakers. Now, the resorts burn less fuel and produce a smaller carbon footprint. Previously, for example, Bolton Valley’s diesel snowmakers would burn 25,000 gallons of fuel during a season.
Mount Snow relies entirely on energy-efficient snowmakers, which operate on as little as one-hundredth of the compressed air of the previous, less-efficient models. This year, Mount Snow was able to open its season earlier than ever because of the energy-efficient snowmakers.
In addition to reducing fuel consumption, the high-efficiency electric compressors will likely enable the resorts to extend the ski season and will be less costly to maintain and operate.
Efficiency Vermont, the state’s energy efficiency utility, has been promoting state ski areas to utilize energy-efficient snowmaking practices. An official at Efficiency Vermont estimates the new snowmakers operate for about 10 cents an hour, whereas the old makers cost about $10 per hour to run.
Other northeast ski resorts are following Vermont’s lead. Cannon Mountain Ski Area in New Hampshire upgraded snowmaking machines and reduced energy consumption by 30 percent. And New York state-owned ski resorts, Belleayre Ski Resort, Gore Mountain and Whiteface Mountain, have pledged to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.