Mission-oriented innovation for resorts


Adventure travel is by definition a journey, but that doesn't mean it has to be a slog. In fact, the most exciting trips often combine radical experiences with the kinds of challenges that reveal new aspects of ourselves or the world around us. For mountain resorts, this means creating mission-oriented innovation—a way of thinking about how these resorts combine both long-term vision and short-term solutions in order to create truly compelling products and services for riders and the planet.

Electrification of mobility

The ski industry has been embracing new technologies since its inception. From the first chairlifts and snow grooming machines to today's digital lift systems and apps that help skiers find the perfect trail, skiing has always been at the forefront of innovation.

Now is the time to harness this pioneering spirit in order to tackle climate change head-on by electrifying the resort's transportation system.

There are several ways to go about this:

  • Cairngorm Mountain Resort has switched to using biofuels for its snow groomers and shuttle buses, following the example set by other resorts.
  • Electric trains have been used at ski resorts for decades. And more recently, electric cars have been integrated into the transportation systems at several European resorts. The largest of these is Val Thorens, where all vehicles in the resort are electric as of 2017.
  • Electric bikes (and scooters) are a great way for skiers and snowboarders to get around the resort. The bikes are easy to rent at most European ski resorts, and they can be used by anyone over the age of 12.

Energy storage

  • Batteries: While batteries are great for storing small amounts of energy (think your smart phone), they're not ideal for storing large amounts of energy. There's a limit to how much you can store in a single battery and how much space it takes up, which means you need lots of big batteries to store enough electricity to power your resort. Plus, when they run out of power, they can be expensive to recharge—so you'd have to build more infrastructure just so the resort could still be functional.
  • Pumped hydro: This is where water is pumped uphill when there’s plenty of energy and released again when there isn't as much available. It’s actually one of the oldest forms of energy storage out there but has yet to catch on as widely as other forms because it requires two reservoirs separated by a hill or mountain range so that water can move back down through turbines when needed (the only other option being gravity).
  • Compressed air: When compressed air expands rapidly (like when an explosion happens), all its potential energy becomes kinetic—and if we capture that kinetic energy with piston engines or heat exchangers that use ambient temperature difference between hot and cold air streams then we can use this kinetic force later

Decarbonisation of existing buildings

Decarbonisation refers to the reduction in the carbon footprint of a building. Carbon footprints are measured using a standardised method called the Global Protocol for Buildings and Construction (GPBC). The GPBC sets out four categories that make up your building’s carbon footprint:

  • Energy Use – This is how much energy you use to heat, cool and power your building
  • Transport Emissions – This includes vehicles driven by staff and visitors, as well as shipments to/from suppliers and manufacturing facilities
  • Waste Generation & Processing – This includes all solid waste produced by the project team during their activity on site (e.g. packaging materials), plus any other waste generated during construction activities (e.g., demolition debris) only if it’s collected from inside or outside the building itself
  • Co-Generation – This measures all electricity used for heating water on site; this metric is only applicable if there’s no separate heating supply pipe connected directly between an external source such as gas or coal fired boiler distillation unit with nothing separating it from where water enters into building

Maximise energy efficiency

  • Heat pumps: heat pump technology is one of the most energy-efficient methods of producing heat from a renewable resource. It does this by extracting low-grade heat from its surroundings and converting it into high-grade heat for use in heating systems, such as radiators or hot water, or for space heating.
  • Solar power: solar panels, also called photovoltaics (PVs), are an increasingly popular type of renewable energy system that generate electricity directly from sunlight. They can be used to provide electricity for homes and businesses, as well as power entire towns or cities through grid connections between multiple solar panels on rooftops or landfills near cities.
  • Hot water: a hot water tank stores heated water at high temperatures so you can use it without wasting fuel when you need hot water quickly; they’re also known as thermal store tanks because they hold warm but not boiling water over long periods without losing too much heat – unlike electric immersion heaters which become inefficient when they have to keep up with sudden demand spikes after being switched off for a while

Electrification architecture

Now that you've established your mission, it's time to think about how best to achieve it. The first step is to think about your architecture. Any good mountain resort has attractive architecture, but the most important part of a mountain resort's architecture may be its power generation systems. In this case, we recommend solar panels on roofs and facades.

Wind power park, hydropower and photovoltaics

  • Wind power: Wind power is not a new concept in the mountain resorts, but it has been proven to be a very efficient way of producing renewable energy. However, it requires massive amounts of land and resources are needed in order to produce wind turbines that can be used for generating electricity.
  • Hydropower: Although hydropower is an old technology with many advantages over other forms of renewable energy sources, it does require significant water resources and therefore cannot be used in every area. It also results in less CO2 emissions than other types of renewable energy sources such as wind turbines or solar panels that burn fossil fuels during production process (i.e., coal).
  • Photovoltaic systems: Solar panels use electromagnetic radiation from the sun's light rays to convert them into direct current electricity through semiconductors on top of each panel which then flows through cables running into batteries underneath each panel where they're stored until they're needed later on when demand exceeds what's being generated by micro-hydroelectric plants nearby (in some cases) or if people want their lights turned off so they're saving money by using less electricity overall."

Intelligent power supply (smart grid)

  • Intelligent power supply (smart grid)
SO, what is a smart grid?

A smart grid is an electrical network that uses digital technology to improve energy management, reliability and efficiency. By collecting information from sensors and control devices, the system can monitor conditions on the distribution side of the meter, allowing utilities to make more efficient use of existing infrastructure. A wide range of technologies are used in a smart grid – including automated meter reading (AMR), automated demand response (ADR), advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), distributed generation, distributed storage and microgrids.

Battery & hydrogen vehicles and charging infrastructure

The current trend is for battery-powered vehicles, which use lithium-ion batteries. They are more expensive than petrol and diesel vehicles, but less expensive than hybrid vehicles.

Battery-powered cars can travel up to 300 miles on a single charge, or they can be plugged into the electricity grid at home or work to recharge overnight.

Reservoirs, hydrogen and batteries

Hydrogen fuel cells are a great way to store and use energy. They can be used in a variety of applications, from powering your car to generating electricity for buildings.

The key difference between hydrogen fuel cells and batteries is that they use an electrochemical reaction to produce electricity. This means they're not as limited by the amount of charge they can hold, like batteries are. This makes them ideal for large-scale applications like large buildings where there may not be access to lots of power all at once—or even over time—but where you do want something reliable enough that won't run out too quickly or stop working altogether if the power goes out briefly (or if there's just some downtime).

Innovative designs for new buildings to use solar electricity

  • Use of solar panels on roofs and facades
  • Expansion of renewable energy production
  • Digital networking of producers, storage and consumers


In conclusion, mountain resorts must adopt a mission-oriented approach to their buildings and infrastructure that will help them become more sustainable. One that focusses on wildlife preservation, better water usage, green transportation options, renewable sources of energy and future plans that are low-carbon. By utilising a multi-pronged approach, they can reduce their emissions and impact on the climate crisis (and its effects on business) while reducing operating costs.