It might be hard to think about winter sports now, as temperatures soar into the 90’s and 100’s around the U.S., but that is exactly what New York governor Andrew Cuomo is doing.  Earlier this week, he announced that three state operated ski resorts in New York are going solar. 

Bellayre, Gore, and Whiteface Mountains in Lake Placid were used in the 1980 Olympic Games. They are jointly maintained by the state of New York and the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA).

Whiteface DSCN0768 Bernhard RohrbacherWhile some would say that the only energy required for a good day on the slopes is produced by the skiers themselves, it actually takes a little more than that to keep things going. Namely, ski lifts and snow machines. That is what the new program will target.

“By using renewable energy to power major operations at these world-class ski resorts, we are building upon this administration’s commitment to expand this state’s use of renewal energy, strengthen this important, job-creating economic sector, and reduce New York’s carbon footprint,” Governor Cuomo said. “This exciting news is just one more reason to visit one of New York’s premier ski resorts this winter.”

The state and ORDA have entered into a 25-year power purchase agreement with Borrego Solar. This is the latest development in Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision’s NY-Sun Initiative.

This is not the first step New York and ORDA have taken to reduce the environmental impact of the popular ski destinations. For example, over the last two seasons Gore has operated more lifts for more days than ever before, while using less energy than in past.

Bellayre 0402NYSki-6 Christain HorcelThis is an impressive feat considering that Gore Mountain is home to the largest lift infrastructure in the state. Going solar is expected to reduce Gore’s energy bill by over $213,000 during the first year alone. Borrego’s projections indicate that the three ski resorts could save as much $14-million over the 25-year period, utilizing more than 10 megawatts of solar power.

This announcement not only spotlights New York’s energy initiative, it also shines a light on what other ski resorts have been doing to go green. Maine’s Mount Abram Ski Resort gets 70 percent of its power from solar. Berkshire East Ski Resort in Vermont provides 100 percent of its energy on site from solar panels and a wind turbine. And that’s just what’s going on in the U.S. All around the world, resorts from Austria to Australia are reducing their carbon footprints as well.

So keep this in mind as you plan your next ski trip. It might be the greenest vacation you take this year.