Ski Resorts are ‘Canaries in the Coal Mine’ Says Tesla Motors VP

More than 18,000 people recently attended the 2016 SIA Snow Show in Denver, Colorado, showcasing nearly 1,000 brands with snowsports products.

At the annual snow sports industry breakfast, Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of Tesla Motors spoke about energy storage technology and moving toward a carbon-free future saying, the snow sports industry is like the canary in the coal mine when it comes to global warming. 

“It’s here the effects are felt first, and in a strategically impactful way,” O’Connell said in a press release. “It’s also an industry that attracts first movers and early adopters, so it’s great to share with a group like this that climate change is not an unapproachable issue, that there are economically viable solutions that are available now.”

Ski resorts have already been at the forefront of moving toward carbon neutral operations. According to the National Geographic Society, at least 22 US ski resorts in seven states use wind power to supply 100 percent of their electricity use.

Last year, New York made three of its state operated ski resorts operate fully on solar panel technology to power chairlifts and snowmaking machines. The move is said to save the resorts $14 million combined over 25 years.

When the snow doesn’t fall, resorts rely on energy-heavy snow making machines, making the need for a low and stable price especially important. 

In 2014, Berkshire East ski resort in Massachusetts went carbon free with a combined 500 kW solar farm and a 900 kW wind turbine. According to the park’s owner Jon Shaefer, the largest non-labor expense is energy.

Photo credit: Dreamstime