Boreal Mountain Resort Aims to ‘Play Forever’ with Environmental Initiative

With the final days of summer winding down, Boreal Mountain Resort and Woodward Tahoe opened its doors with $10 passes on Saturday, Sept. 17, for one final summer festival as the resort hosted its third annual Community Day event.

Hundreds of youngsters jammed into The Bunker at Woodward Tahoe to show off their skills in parkour, BMX, skateboarding, and more; while outside, others hopped onto Castle Peak chairlift to take advantage of the resort’s new mountain bike park, The Slabs.

While an explosion of action sports was taking place below, the centerpiece of this year’s festival was on the roof of The Bunker — the first phase of a project that will see the resort become the California ski industry’s largest onsite solar installation.

The project is part of POWDR Corp.’s — owner and operator of Boreal Mountain Resort and Woodward Tahoe — Play Forever, long-term initiative for sustainability at the resort on Donner Summit.

“We intend to play forever at POWDR, at Boreal, at Soda Springs, at Woodward Tahoe,” said Laura Schaffer, director of sustainability for POWDR, during the solar project’s dedication ceremony. “That means we have a responsibility to keep these places that we love around … for POWDR this commitment has been a huge part of our DNA from the beginning. Over the course of 10 years, we’ve reduced our overall carbon footprint by 49 percent. But that means the toughest 51 percent is yet to come.”

The project at Boreal is scheduled to be finished at the beginning of the 2017-18 winter season, according to a statement from POWDR, and is projected to generate more than 325,000 kWh of electricity annually, while offsetting more than 250 tons of carbon emissions.

Boreal also joins three other POWDR resorts that are installing their own solar projects — Kilington Ski Resort in Vermont, Pico Mountain Ski Area in Vermont, and Sun Country Tours in Bend, Oregon.

“Between those four different areas, we’ll be bringing on nearly 4 million kilowatt hours of clean energy in the coming the year,” Schaffer said. “For reference … the average household uses about 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.”

At this point, there are 26 solar panels on the roof of The Bunker, with a total of 715 set to be installed by the end of the project.

“We’ve got 689 to go,” said Amy Ohran, general manager of Boreal Mountain Resort, during an address to the crowd. “This is going to be the largest solar installation in all of the California ski industry right here at Boreal Mountain Resort. What the equivalent of this power is … Woodward Tahoe will be more than 100 percent (generating) its own solar power.”

John Cumming, CEO of POWDR Corp., was also on hand during the dedication and highlighted the importance of reducing carbon emissions, while also encouraging the next generation to remain active in action sports.

“We think we’ve got a position as a private company where we can do things like build Woodward Tahoe, so we can all appreciate it and introduce it to our kids and share it for generations,” Cumming said. “But when it snows and how much it snows is a big factor. We decided to try and figure out a way to tax ourselves — our own company — to (reduce) our carbon footprint.”

The day’s festivities also included information booths and informative displays from Boarding for Breast Cancer, The High Five Foundation, Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, GoPro, and more, with prizes and raffles being given away throughout the day. The Red Bull Air Force was also on hand with a pair of skydivers performing for the crowd.

Boreal Mountain Resort concluded last year’s ski and snowboard season with an open run from the top of the mountain to the bottom for the final day of riding on July 1 — the latest in resort history skiers and snowboarders have been able to ride down from the resort’s summit. Tickets for the 2017-18 ski and snowboard season are on sale now; while The Bunker at Woodward Tahoe will remain open year-round.

Boreal Mountain Resort Aims to ‘Play Forever’ with Environmental Initiative, by Justin Scacco, Sierra Sun, September 20, 2017.

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