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Lift Manufacturer Installs Huge Solar Energy Array

Although new ski lifts are ever more energy efficient, with an increasing proportion running, at least partially, on renewable energy, often generating power through solar panels built in to their structures and increasingly exporting the heat generated by their motors to warm nearby buildings, there remains the question of the energy required for the new lifts’ production in the first place. Lift-manufacturer Garaventa, part of the Doppelmayr/Garaventa Group, the world's largest ropeway manufacturer, has had over 2,000 solar panels installed on its roof of its subsidiary at Goldau in Switzerland, creating an array that can meet more than a third of its annual energy requirements. The new facility of 2,122 panels covers an area of 5,400 square metres and has…

Snow-Forecast’s Rolling News on Ski Resorts Re-Opening (2020-21)

Last Updated 25 October 2021 at 6.40 GMT (Updates so far since commenced on 5 May 2020: 956) The web's most comprehensive guide of ski resorts opening around the world during the pandemic. An estimated 40+ Ski Areas Are Currently Open Worldwide in at least 9 Countries on 3 Continents including: Asia: China Europe: Austria, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland. North America: USA Browse by country: North America: Canada USA Europe: Andorra Austria Bulgaria Czech Republic Finland France Germany Italy Norway Poland Scotland Slovak Republic Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Asia: China Japan NEW: China’s Wanlong ski centre has opened for the 21-22 ski season which is due to see it host the snowboarding parallel slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics next February. (25 October)…

Scandinavia’s Largest Ski Areas Operator Steps Up Sustainability Initiatives

The SkiStar group which runs several of Norway and Sweden’s largest ski areas has stepped up in efforts to reduce the impact its operations have on climate change. One big change in Norway is that renewable diesel (HVO) is being introduced in all of the company’s piste grooming machines, which has already been introduced in Sweden. This will reduce emissions from the day-to-day running of these-machines and maintenance of the slopes by 45%. Thanks to SkiStar's new partnership agreement with Jämtkraft, all facilities in Sweden (which include Sälen, Vemdalen and Åre) and Norway (which include Hemsedal and Trysil) are operated with renewable energy from solar, wind and hydro power. In Norway the supply comes from Scandem AS which is a part…

Ski Resorts Threatened By Huge Ongoing Forest Fire Appear To Have Survived So Far

Three Californian ski resorts in the path of the devastating Caldor fire appear to have escaped major damage, according to reports so far, but firefighters have warned the battle is not over yet. The Caldor fire, which began in mid-August, had grown to more than 200,000 acres and it was reported to take two hours to drove from one end of it to the other by the time it reached Sierra-at-Tahoe ski area last Sunday evening. By midweek it was threatening the major resort-town of South Lake Tahoe, driven towards it on strong winds. The holiday town, population 22,000, is located on the California/Nevada border, and is located directly below Heavenly Mountain Resort. It quickly became difficult to breath there…

Ski Resort Under Evacuation Warning Due To Forest Fires

The latest North American resorts to be impacted by forest fires are located in the Lake Tahoe region of California. The Caldor Forest fire which erupted on 14th August had grown to engulf 50,000 acres within four days and had reached 100,000 acres at the start of this week and is now at 140,000 acres. The two ski areas closest to it are Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe (webcam image top). “Kirkwood Mountain Resort is under Evacuation Warning from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. We remain in constant communication and are offering our support to the local Fire Department, Cal Fire and United States Forest Service and updates will be provided as more information becomes available,” a statement from…

Norway’s SNØ Indoor Snow Centre Is More Than Carbon Neutral

Norway’s huge SNØ indoor snow centre which opened shortly before the pandemic has been highlighting the fact that despite the image of indoor snow centres needing to use a lot of energy to keep the snow in shape year-round, it is actually a so-called ‘plus building’ – generating more green energy than the power it needs to operate. The surplus energy that we produce goes to the local area, in the form of both district heating and district cooling. It issued this statement. “From a sustainability perspective we can state that we send out around 23% more energy for heating other buildings than we use for electricity from the grid. In addition, we dare to say that SNØ also has…

UN Forecasts Faster Melting Glaciers and Rising Snowlines

The first major report from The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of scientists convened by the United Nations (UN), for eight-years, paints an alarming picture for our  planet’s climate in the near future. The Sixth Assessment Report makes clear that mankind’s failure to address damage being caused to the planet means that global warming will now intensify for decades to come, even if countries still choose to avoid taking serious action. The scientists warm that only drastic action can still prevent some of the worst-case scenarios. Global warming of 1.5C is now considered a near certainty by 2050 but allowing a greater increase of up to 4C, permanently melting vast polar ice sheets as well as mountain…

NASA Photos Show Snow Loss in Californian Mountains

NASA has published images of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains taken 15 years apart to show the amount of snow cover disappearing. The space agency’s Nasa Earth division released the images taken in 2006 and in 2021 show dramatically less snow this year than 15 years ago.  Each image was taken around April 1st when the snowpack is usually at its maximum. In fact the region is famous for, typically, either getting huge snowfalls, or near drought conditions, depending largely on atmospheric conditions and sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. It was only a few winters ago that Californian ski areas covered in the images were posting record snowfall in January and February and several opened for skiing through to August.…

Only 5 Summer Glacier Ski Areas Open in Europe in August 2021

The number of summer ski areas open in Europe this August will hit a new low this month with three of the eight centres that had planned to be open announcing they have to close due to the snow cover melting from the glacial ice below, in several cases at record speed, the centres say. The number of summer ski areas open in Europe has been dropping for more than 25 years from a high of around 40 centres in the 1980s.  The length of summer ski season offered by the 20 or so centres that still open for periods has also been reducing. This August the Molltal glacier in Austria (Pictured above last month) is the latest to announce…

Snowbird Uses Cogenerators To Cut CO2 Emissions

Snowbird ski resort in Utah has invested in it’s own power system fuelled by natural gas to meet its energy needs. The new 5.3 megawatt cogeneration facility uses 62,000 less dekatherms of natural gas a year, equivalent to removing the carbon dioxide emissions produced from burning nearly 2,000 tonnes of coal. “The creation of Snowbird Power Systems means we have not only updated our stand-alone power grid, ensuring we can be self-reliant, but we have also reinforced Snowbird’s Play Forever corporate responsibility commitment to the environment by becoming more efficient,” states Snowbird President and General Manager Dave Fields. Snowbird’s new power system also recycles the heat produced through generating power with the heat used to warm water for the resort.…