As part of our commitment to a sustainable future, we now have a unique academic offering for schools and groups called the Berkshire East Wind and Solar Tour that can be tailored for your school or organization’s needs. It can also be integrated with one or more of our outdoor adventures.
In 2012, Berkshire East Mountain Resort became the first ski area in the world to power 100% of its operation with onsite renewable energy. Our energy comes from the wind and the sun. We’ve invested into a sustainable future by installing a 900 kW wind turbine and a 500 kW solar field.
This allows Berkshire East Mountain Resort to provide amazing recreational opportunities for our customers while leaving the smallest possible carbon footprint. On an annual basis, we continue to produce and sell more electricity than we consume.
The Berkshire East Wind and Solar Tour begins with an orientation in the Berkshire East Ski Area’s Base Lodge. There, students and faculty will meet with their guide to discuss the days itinerary and then participate in a brief audio-visual presentation introducing the elements of the wind turbine, solar field mechanics, the electric grid, the future of storage and the current usage.
The Wind Generation Tour
Students, faculty and other groups will board the chairlift for the 1,000 vertical foot ride to the summit of the Berkshire East Ski Area overlooking the Deerfield River Valley. Participants will take a short hike to the 900 kW PowerWind 56 turbine. The PowerWind 56 is a variable-speed, pitch controlled wind turbine, certified in accordance with IEC wind class requirements. With a diameter of 56 meters, the PowerWind 56 has a modular drive train and a cooling system that students will be able to inspect.
The Solar Field Tour
Participants will then take a 1/2 mile hike to the solar field. Here, they will inspect the 500 kW solar field that supplements the energy generated by the PowerWind 56. Together, these two systems provide more energy than the area actually consumes on net basis.
Lunch can be provided to all participants in a separate dining area at the base lodge. Schools and groups may elect to bring their own lunch.
The Storage Presentation.
After lunch, all participants will gather for an audio-visual presentation about how the generated energy is transmitted into the electric grid and how a small portion is currently stored via the Bear Swamp Generating Station that pumps nearly 1.7 billion gallons of water at an elevation nearly 800 vertical feet above the Deerfield River. We will also discuss the future of Berkshire East Mountain Resort’s initiative to store electricity on-site via a large scale battery installation.
Usages of the Renewable Energy
Students and faculty will get a first-hand experience of how the energy is being used for recreational purposes by taking a ride on the Thunderbolt, North America’s longest Mountain Coaster. Depending upon the time of year and request, the program may also offer a Zip Line Tour or Rafting trip or a tour of our new Aerial Park for your group..
Discussion and Possible Writing Sample
All students and faculty will meet for a final discussion and a brief writing sample. If required, copies of this writing sample will be given to the faculty.
The Berkshire East Wind and Solar Tour is a great opportunity for your group to be aware of the current technologies that are now being used to provide the renewable energy that will be necessary for the future of mankind. They will also experience the joy of participating in a recreational activities that have been made possible because of this technology.
The Berkshire East Wind and Solar Tour is available by reservation only and can be packaged as part of any of our adventure activities…Please call (413) 339-6617 ext. 330 or e-mail Group Sales at groupsales
Please view this brief video as Berkshire East Wind and Solar Tour Director, Bill Farrell describes our 500 kW Solar Field.
Please view this brief video as Owner/Manager Jonathan Schaefer describes our Renewable Energy Operations and Future.