fter its much-heralded abbreviated season in February 2020, Bluebird Backcountry is back for the 2020/21 ski season. The ski area with no lifts is already pushing the boundaries that define traditional ski areas, and now, they’ve added energy to the list of things they’re doing differently. Bluebird has partnered with Elevated Independent Energy, a Denver-based renewable energy contractor, to provide off-grid, renewable energy at its base area. Elevated has provided a mobile solar unit, SPOT (Solar Powered Off-grid Trailer), to produce and store Bluebird’s energy for the season.
“Bluebird strives to be a Leave No Trace ski area,” says co-founder Erik Lambert, noting that Bluebird’s presence at its former Peak Ranch location was undetectable once the snow melted after the 2020 season. That goal, he says, fits in perfectly with Elevated’s mission; owner Kyle Judson agrees.
“The goal for our company is to help Coloradans produce and consume as much distributed, sustainable energy as possible,” he explains. With the right system and expectations in place, the sun can do just that; it’s local and the source is infinite. “I believe Bluebird offers the same to skiers and splitboarders. By using their own power to skin uphill, it makes the turns downhill that much more enjoyable.”
During the 2020/21 season, Bluebird will run all of its electrical needs through SPOT, which means patrons can warm their feet with the base area heater, and enjoy their hot food and drinks with zero guilt—and zero carbon.
About Elevated Independent Energy: In May of 2018, Elevated Independent Energy was born with a simple mission, "To design and build the highest quality renewable energy solutions; empowering all of Colorado's communities to gain energy independence.” Elevated holds a synergistic view of their personal and professional pursuits. The work they do at the office, or in the field, directly affects their ability to recreate in, and enjoy the great outdoors.
Bluebird Backcountry is a human-powered backcountry ski area halfway between Steamboat Springs and Kremmling, Colorado. It’s operated by dedicated backcountry skiers and snowboarders with the aim to reduce barriers to entry, improve gaps in current education formats, and create a soulful gathering place for the backcountry skiing community. Bluebird Backcountry has been working on the backcountry-lite ski area concept since 2017. After raising more than $100,000 through Kickstarter—430% of its goal—in January 2020, Bluebird’s in-bounds backcountry concept became a reality, opening for a 14-day test season in February and March 2020. By expanding its terrain, education, and service offerings this year, Bluebird Backcountry aims to build on its leadership role in the backcountry space.