Ski Green in Oregon

Going green, Green Travel — By Stephanie on January 1, 2011 at 6:21 am
MT%20BACHELOR 1 Ski Green in Oregon

Ski Green at Mt. Bachelor, Oregon (image from thejakartapost.com)

I love this time of year!  Snow falls regularly at my home in Bend, Oregon and Central Oregon is inundated with visitors from all over the world who come to enjoy the amazing skiing at Mt. Bachelor.

For environmentally-conscious travelers, looking for eco-friendly ski resorts is as important as finding great terrain.  Fortunately, its easy to ski green in Oregon.  Both Mt. Bachelor (25 minutes west of Bend) and Mt. Hood Meadows (about 1 hour east of Portland, Oregon) have implemented environmental programs to minimize the carbon footprint of their operations.

At Mt. Bachelor, the resort has cut its energy usage, while increasing recycling programs.  According to Tom Lomax, director of mountain operations, reducing the carbon footprint of the ski resort will help keep winters white:

“Electricity to run the lifts is easily the largest part of our carbon footprint.  By far the biggest impact in carbon reduction comes from wind power offsets we purchase. … If we use 10,000 kilowatts from the grid, we purchase the equivalent kilowatts in wind power to be fed back into the grid.”

Regular shuttles to and from Mt. Bachelor, helps visitors and employees get to the slopes in green carpool style.  In fact, use of the shuttles helps to keep about 1.7 million vehicles off the roads!

The shuttles, snowplows and grooming equipment all run on biodiesel, which further cuts greenhouse gas emissions of the ski resort’s operations.

At Mt. Hood Meadows, sustainability is practically the resort’s middle name.  The ski resort has minimized its use of electricity and fuel, worked on transportation issues and created sustainable ski slopes.  Of course, it recycles too!  Like Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows offsets its energy use with purchases of renewable energy credits.  It also conserves power by shutting down lifts on low ridership days (usually mid-week).

large MeadowsRandyBoverman Ski Green in Oregon

Mt. Hood Meadows skiing is clean and green

Not only does Mt. Hood Meadows work to minimize its own environmental impact, but it offers options to visitors to do the same.  You can choose a $2 SkiGreen option to be added to the purchase of a lift ticket.  The money is used to purchase 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of wind energy, which offsets the equivalent of driving 150 miles in carbon emissions.

You can also choose to take the shuttle bus to the mountain, rather than drive yourself.  Mt. Hood Meadows offers incentives like discounts on lift tickets, rentals and even dining fare for doing so.

Its a cinch to ski green in Oregon when the resorts work so hard to educate visitors about minimizing CO2 emissions.  Both Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood Meadows have adopted no idling programs to cut down on non-essential vehicle idling.  There is no penalty for doing so, but when guests are aware of the potential impacts of running their car or bus when its not necessary, they often choose to turn off the vehicles.

I am thrilled that both Mt. Bachelor and Mt. Hood Meadows are doing their part to keep Oregon ski resorts green!  Its the perfect time to come and visit us here – skiing lasts through April and often into May!

For more information about the eco-friendly ski resorts in Oregon, check out these links:

Mt. Bachelor

Mt. Hood Meadows

Ski Area Citizens Coalition

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