A small but growing trend amongst snow resorts in North America is the development of renewable energy within the resort area. Given the high visual impact of existing infrastructure within resorts from chairlift and snow making infrastructure, there could be a strong argument for the inclusion of at least a few wind turbines in each Australian resort.

Image: Snowboard Green

One recent example of this trend overseas comes from Bolton Valley Resort, a locally owned and operated family ski and snowboard area, has constructed the first wind turbine at a Vermont ski area.

The following report comes from Snowboard Green: http://snowboardgreen.blogspot.com/2010/11/bolton-valley-resort-in-vt-utilizing.html

The turbine is located near the top of a Quad lift in an existing clearing adjacent to the ski patrol hut. It produces in excess of 300,000 kilowatts of power annually, the equivalent of electricity consumed by 40-to-45 Vermont households.

The turbine, a Northwind 100 manufactured by Northern Power Systems of Barre, VT measures 121 feet in height from the ground to the top of the tower. The distance from ground to the top of the blade is 156 feet. Each blade is coated with Teflon to protect against icing. It is the same process used on turbines in the Bering Sea. The turbine will not be obviously visible from beyond five miles away from the site.

The turbine will be set up to feed excess power that is not consumed by Bolton Valley into the grid through the Vermont net metering program. It is the first turbine at a Vermont ski area and just the second at a ski area in the United States.

Hopefully more ski resorts in the US and around the world will follow suit!

You can find the website for Bolton Valley here. http://www.boltonvalley.com/