The Nordic Group Solar Trail Lighting Project has illuminated 6.2 kilometers (3.84 miles) of Bogus Basin's Nordic Center cross-country trails with solar-powered lights.  The project provides a visible application of renewable energy and provides night time nordic activities to the growing Boise metropolitan area. The system is the longest renewably list ski trail in North America.

In 2004, The Nordic Group worked with Boise State University's College of Engineering to design a durable  alternative energy lighting system for nordic trails. The Nordic Group installed a prototype system of lights and collectors on 300 meters of Red Tail Trail in late 2004. During summer 2005 the Project's second and largest phase was built, covering 5 kilometers. This effort involved over 150 volunteers, and a licensed electrician over 5 months. For the final phase, in 2007 the Nordic Group has installed 30 additional light poles and 3 more photovoltaic collectors. The full system has a 1675 watt capacity, lighting the Red Tail, Sappers Return and Nordic Highway Trails for night skiing and snowshoeing.

The system has 10 sections, each powered by a photovoltaic panel, controller and battery bank providing low voltage power to groups of 8 to 13 light poles.  The poles each hold four or eight durable light fixtures containing LED lights. Interpretive signs and public outreach help explain the solar application and efficiency of the system.

 While Bogus Basin pioneered night skiing over four decades ago on its downhill runs, until 2005, nordic skiers could not practice their sport after the early sunset in winter unless they were willing to brave the dark with headlamps. According to Jeff Fereday, Nordic Group President, "The solar lighting provides working people with a great way to stay fit on winter evenings and allows the junior racing team to finish their practices safely."

Many partners assisted in 2005, including in-kind donors Idaho Power, Nelson Construction, SolarCascade, Bogus Basin and Landmark Impressions.  Generous grants came from Edwards Mother Earth Foundation, Idaho Women's Charitable Foundation, Recreational Equipment Inc., Key Bank and the BBLSEF.  The Nordic Group also raised major funds from individuals and through its annual Banff Mountain Film Festival, which takes place each February at the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise.

REI_url_logo_rule_1K.gifSpecial thanks goes to grantors who helped fund our final lighting phase in 2007: REI and Edwards Mother Earth Foundation. 56 Individual Donors provided over $6,400 to the Project, also. Generous in-kind support again has come from Bogus Basin Mountain Operations and SolarCascade.

For more information on the system contact Nordic Center Director Peg Havlovick at 208-332-5190 or by email at peg@bogusbasin.org.