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SAM Magazine-Thompsonville, Mich., Aug. 21, 2006-Crystal Mountain became the first Michigan ski area to commit to renewable wind energy today. The resort will purchase enough renewable energy certificates from Boulder, Colo.-based Renewable Choice Energy to power its Crystal Clipper high-speed quad entirely with wind power this season. Crystal owners Jim and Chris MacInnes declared their long-term goal is to power the entire resort with renewable energy.

The initial step will prevent 174,000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution from entering the atmosphere each year-an amount of pollution equivalent to driving a car 189,956 miles. This is also the anti-pollution equivalent of planting 23 acres of trees.

Crystal is the latest of a fast-growing number of areas to buy into renewable energy. Crested Butte, Okemo, and Mt. Sunapee joined the movement last week, purchasing energy certificates to offset 100 percent of the resorts' energy use. Earlier this summer, Vail Resorts launched a similar program for its resort, retail, and headquarters operations. At the Midwest Ski Areas Association meeting last week, NSAA president Michael Berry estimated that 30 percent of all areas buy some wind power.

As with several other areas, Crystal is encouraging employees and guests to purchase wind power as well. The area is offering a free one-day lift ticket, valid throughout the 2006-07 season, to anyone who purchases a year's worth of wind power for their home through Renewable Choice Energy.