This is really green, I mean white, I mean green! A few weeks ago I wrote about a Squaw Valley first, the world's first ski-in/ski-out Starbucks. Now there's another first in the world of skiing. It's not Squaw Valley this time but the tiny town of Tenna, Switzerland, just a stone's throw from the famous resorts of St. Moritz and Davos. Tenna covers just 4.4 miles, has a population (as of 31 December 2010) of 110, has an unemployment rate of 0%, and is so small it has just one shop, one school and one T-bar ski lift. Remember those? I'm not even sure if they're still around but I remember when I was first leaning to ski how the biggest challenge was sticking that moving bar with the dish on the end between your legs and trying to stay upright while it dragged you up the hill. It was a big improvement over the rope tow, though. That was a cruel joke for anyone just trying to get to the top of the bunny hill.
A headline recently caught my eye, "Tiny Swiss town builds the world's first solar-powered ski lift" by Michael Frank. How could you not want to read about that? It seems the only ski lift in the whole valley was badly in need of repair. The town had a choice to make, let it go or spend the money to update it. Locals felt that it was important enough to the town that they not only raised enough money to update it but they took the project to a new level. They built the world's first solar-powered ski lift. That's one way to get your tiny town on the map! It turns out that this is more than just a gimmick, it's a smart investment. The lift generates 90,000 kw hours a year. That's 3 times the electricity needed to run the lift, and the extra power gets pumped back into the grid which generates income for the town and goes towards paying the residents back. The entire project cost $1.5 million, a considerable amount for a small town, but repairing the existing lift would have been expensive, too, and the sky is already naturally unobstructed above a ski lift allowing full exposure to the sun. The lift transports 800 skiers an hour up the hill, saving not only money in the process but adding less carbon to the atmosphere. The lift has 82 solar panels that rotate to follow the sun and they can be tilled up and down in a storm so the snow slides right off. While this is a modest project compared to the larger ski areas like Squaw Valley, with their huge Quad chairs, it's an idea who's time has come and could work just as well on a larger scale. My only question is who will have the second in the world solar powered ski lift?
There's a big weekend coming up at Squaw Valley, SnowBash! Here are the details, along with another event at Northstar.
Friday, March 30, 2012 to Sunday, April 1, 2012
Join us in the first ever SnowBash at Squaw! This 3 day party is jam packed with amazing conditions, live music and pure fun. Catch the live concert down to the KT Base Bar where we'll be having a pig roast accompanied with plenty of sun and cold beverages. L.A.vation- The World's Greatest Tribute to U2 will be playing for free from 1-3:45pm.
DJ Magic Matt from San Francisco's Wild 94.9 Morning Show
2:30-4:30pm KT Base Bar
7-10pm Plaza Bar
L.A.vation- The World's Greatest Tribute to U2 | FREE
1-3:45pm KT Base Bar
Snowshoe Social & Race Series - Northstar
Apr 1, 2012 (Sun) 7:30 register; 11:30 race
Join us for the 2011.12 Northstar California Snowshoe Social & Race Series taking place April 1 and April 7 (Tahoe Rim Tour & Race). The March and April races will feature a 5k, 10k and kid's races Check-In/Registration will take place from 7:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. and the race will begin at 11:30 a.m.
The weather for the weekend and upcoming week looks wet and unsettled. A cold storm moving down the coast will send some snow our way. More impulses are due next week with rising snow levels keeping our Marvelous Modified March Miracle going. It's been a strange winter! Keep up to date with all that's happening at Olympic Village Inn and Olympic Valley on our Facebook page. Have a great week!