Monday, May 14, 2007

Wind-powered ski area earns award

Portland Press Herald
Thursday, May 3, 2007


Shawnee Peak Ski Area has been recognized for its heroics.
The Bridgton-based business recently received a Red Cross Real Hero award for environmental service and outreach.

"We got the award for purchasing 100 percent wind power last year," said owner Chet Homer. The entire ski area is now powered by wind, he said.

The awards are given to individuals or groups who have acted as heroes in the service of others. The awards were formally presented on April 12.

"I was flattered," Homer said of receiving the award. "It's part of our long-term plan to make the business more environmentally or energy efficient," he said.
Shawnee Peak switched to wind power in September, Homer said. The decision was inspired by his and his staff's "concern about oil dependency," he said.

"Since I'm the sole owner, I didn't have to go to a committee to make the decision," he said, which made transition to wind power quick and easy.

"Ski resorts enjoy the outdoors," Homer said. "It behooves us all to try and be at the forefront of the opportunity to encourage renewable energy sources."

Essentially, the ski area runs on wind power that is generated in other parts of the country. "There are no savings," Homer said. "You end up paying 5 to 10 percent more, but you're supporting alternative energy."

The response has been "outstanding," said Homer. One weekend this winter at Shawnee Peak, Homer met a family from Connecticut and asked if they had a home nearby. They responded, as Homer recalled, "No, we came skiing because we saw you were an area that was 100 percent wind powered and we wanted to drive up and check you out and support your decision."

The decision to go with wind power has spread beyond the mountain. Homer now powers his own home with wind energy. "Several of our employees do the same thing," he said. "We're very proud of the fact that we did that."

Looking ahead, Homer said he'd like to make his business even more energy efficient. "I think energy efficiency and a lack of a dependence on oil is always on the forefront of our decision-making," he said. "Energy is a big part of our operating costs -- we're always looking for ways to reduce energy."

For Homer, the investment is not just in renewable resources, but in future generations of skiers. "I want people to still be skiing and experiencing the outside and knowing that there's a difference between winter and summer," he said.

News Assistant Isaac Kestenbaum can be contacted at 791-6308 or at:

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