Shames Mountain near Terrace looks for greener solution

Heat recovery system to lower ski mountain's carbon emissions

My Mountain Co-op, which runs the Shames Mountain ski hill, is planning to install a heat recovery system next year to reduce operating costs and cut carbon emissions.

Shames general manager Christian Théberge says the object is to harness the heat produced by the diesel generator which runs the mountain’s chair lift and provides power at other locations and then use it in a boiler system to heat the main ski lodge.

“We are hoping to reduce our diesel consumption by 20 per cent,” said Théberge of the plan.

Shames is off the electricity power grid, making it dependent upon diesel.

Half the cost of the project is being provided by a $15,000 grant this year by the city-owned Terrace Community Forest enterprise.

Théberge says the original project cost estimate was $15,000 total, but the equipment costs are double what they originally thought, so they are looking for another donation to cover the other $15,000 of the project.

The idea was inspired by Carl Loroth, a co-op member, who has worked at remote camps where heat recovery systems are used.

And as activity continues on Shames leading to a Dec. 12 opening, volunteers have been busy refurbishing the chair lift’s chairs and making renovations to the lodge’s kitchen.

Refurbishing the 189 chair lift seats had to be done this year as the seats are 25 years old.

“These cushions have been held together with tape and staples and love for the last few years so it was time to do a real overhaul,” said Théberge.

The co-op was able to reduce the $30,000 cost to $5,000 by getting materials at cost with volunteers doing all the labour.

The kitchen floor space has been expanded and a triple sink added to comply with the health code. A second till has also been added.

“The expansion will allow for increased food production which will bring down wait times, and [the second till] will speed up the lineup,” said Théberge.

“We are into drywall and painting, more final steps [of the project].”