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Ski resorts across Michigan embrace energy-saving practices

Crystal Mountain isn’t alone. Ski resorts throughout Michigan are implementing sustainable systems and practices. A sampling: 

Nubs Nob near Harbor Springs has equipped all snow guns with variable speed drive technology to ensure energy efficient snowmaking. Each gun is equipped with an air compressor that is specific to each gun and all guns are computer linked to one another. This is a patented technology that enables world class efficiency. The resort has also replaced all its indoor lighting with low power ballast fluorescents, LEDs or other energy-saving lighting. All buildings have programmable thermostats and the resorts toilets are low-flow. 

Boyne Resorts in the northern lower peninsula received Green Lodging Certification from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth. They have energy-saving CFL bulbs throughout the resort, reusable utensils in their cafeteria and low energy snow guns. They also have an energy management system which utilizes room key cards to track activity. When the card leaves the room, the heat is automatically turned down and any lights that may have been left on will turn off. 

At Shanty Creek Resorts near Bellaire, low energy snow guns have been installed. Shanty Creek doesn’t use harmful fertilizers and chemicals on their three 18-hole golf courses and has teamed with partners including the Three Lakes Association and the Audubon Society to embrace best practices in stormwater management and other water protection strategies. 

Mont Ripley near Hancock in the Upper Peninsula has begun converting its entire snow gun fleet to the more energy efficient Viking Snow Gun manufactured by SMI out of Midland, MI. They cost $7,800 versus $40,000 which a typical fan gun costs. They draw 6 amps of electricity in comparison to 45 amps for the snow guns of old. They emit 50 gallons of water per minute while the old guns emit 200 gallons per minute. 

Marquette Mountain in the U.P. is currently finishing its second year of data collection to understand the viability of installing wind power on the property to offset energy costs. Data collected by a wind power data collection installation will be sent to GE and Vestas in November for review. 

Caberfae Peaks has invested heavily in their snowmaking infrastructure by installing variable frequency drives for snow making pumps. They replaced over 20 snow guns with new low energy guns which have 7.5 HP drives verses 20 HP for the old less energy efficient guns.
-Kyle Rorah, MEC
RELATED TOPICS: energy efficiency
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