This is a review of a case study of the Blue Mountain Resort. Barbara Green is the CEO of Blue Mountain Resort. She inherited a ski area that was well known for its physical advantages. Miss Green knew of its assets, but she was also aware that it lacked amenities. She had an opportunity to turn things around, so she decided to change the organization’s culture for it to grow. After she took over, the ski area was quite successful in satisfying its skiers, but she realized the income statement, and the balance sheet did not match its success. Being an experienced CEO, she knew how to evaluate the areas of the business which needed attention.
She was able to review her departments, and she came up with an accounting system that enabled her to see the expenses. The energy was the second largest expense after payroll. The perception of power is that it is the cost of doing business and not a value that can be controlled strategically as part of a business plan. Miss Green believed that this initial expense needed to be strategically managed and so she sought out the energy engineers’ environmental management system (EMS) at EMS Environmental, Inc. in Bethlehem, PA. EMS approach was not just about collecting data, but they sought to understand the impact of energy use in business but particularly Blue Mountain’s business.
EMS has an adequate engineering depth for the evaluation of the operations of the Blue Mountain Resort. They can determine how the activities can be made more energy efficient and still maintain performance and quality of the primary business operations. The EMS was able to assess the power quantifying the overall use of energy in the property. The EMS was able to put together a short-term and long-term overall strategy for savings in all departments in the business. This strategy involved slope lights, lighting and controls, building envelope efficiency and snowmaking. Energy efficiency incentives were also presented by the EMS from the local electric utility and any other opportunities for funds that would be brought by making energy efficient investments.
What was most essential to the strategy was snowmaking. Blue Mountain, like most Pennsylvanian ski areas, is known to expend 75% of its cost of energy on snowmaking. However, a lot of energy can be saved in snowmaking. By improving the snowmaking efficiency, there will be a significant improvement to the ski area’s potential to open quickly and deliver a quality experience for the guests. Green and EMS both recognized that energy used in snowmaking could not be saved without the involvement of a snowmaker. EMS introduced the concept of “expensive snow” to assist snowmakers to make more informed decisions about snowmaking. The EMS compared costs of the many snow guns available at Blue Mountain and the most effective snow gun that was seen to generate a lot of snow was the go-to gun.
In the Blue Mountain Company, the EMS focused majorly on the opportunities for automation. In Blue Mountain, there had already been established necessity of having fixed snow guns and hydrants at closely spaced intervals that did not require repositioning in every snowmaking effort. This meant that they would be simple to connect and adjust. However, with the automation of the snow gun, these two steps faced elimination. More fundamentally, the snow guns would be able to improve themselves according to changes in the weather and would not require any additional labor to service each snow gun which would result in production and quality losses. In conclusion, for Blue Mountain’s energy strategy, snowmaking has just been one of the methods implemented. Since EMS partnered with Blue Mountain, energy efficiency has been made a part of the resort’s future successful strategy.