Our friend Jamie Schectman, CEO of the Mountain Riders Alliance (MRA), has been causing a green stir in the ski industry for a few years now. He wants to create sustainable, community owned, green ski resorts that cater to both backcountry and recreational skiers. No one has ever tried anything like it and it sounds like a great plan, but there are some major challenges.
Jamie’s main challenge is to first create a successful green energy ski resort. He’ll have to create a model that others can follow. His first full-scale model will be Manitoba Mountain Ski Resort in Alaska. Manitoba is slated to be green and simple with 2 big rope tows that’ll take you to classic Alaska terrain. Battling the red tape, wading through the permitting process, and gathering the funding are his current obstacles. We’re confident that he’ll succeed and that his Manitoba Mountain will be a strong model for other mountain communities to follow.
“The current paradigm of corporations and their focus on box amenities, real estate, and theme park attractions will be replaced with ski areas that get back to focusing on what is important, providing uphill transportation and on-snow recreation.” – Jamie Schectman, MRA CEO
Jamie’s overall message won’t just be for small, backcountry-centric resorts. Mega resorts can follow suit, too. The technology is there for major ski resorts to start truly considering using solar, wind, micro-hydro, geothermal and/or biomass energies to fuel their resort’s energy needs.
The future of Jamie’s MRA is going to be a fascinating one as we watch wether or not ski resorts are willing to change and even more importantly: wether skiers and riders are willing to change.
Would you be more likely to visit a major resort that used green energy over one that didn’t?
Jamie recently wrote an article for Outside Magazine about his mission and his forecast:
“I envision many ski areas that are owned by their customers and the surrounding community. Much like the 50-mile diet and local co-ops, the concept of people pooling their assets together for a common good will be prevalent. What will precipitate that change? Many mom and pop ski areas being squeezed out. In the ‘80s, there were 800 ski areas in North America. As communities are facing closing ski areas, like June Mountain in California, Magic Mountain in Vermognt, some mountains went local. Communities want to maintain ski areas. The current ownership structure is not working.” – Jamie Schectman, MRA CEO
Read More: Outside Magazine