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Posted by Victor Crew on

Copenhagen’s New Ski Resort is Also a Sustainable Heat and Power Plant?

All the right elements for a classic, European winter vacation—winter sports, sustainable practices, and Danish coziness—came together to create a fascinating new travel destination which opened to the public in early October.

Amager Bakke, or CopenHill, is the name of the new destination. Though you might be surprised to learn it is a heat and waste-to-energy power plant in Copenhagen. But it is also a man-made ski and snowboard slope.

The building itself burns waste instead of fossil fuels and is part of Copenhagen’s initiative to be the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. The plant works by burning waste and then using the heat for, well, heat–and also uses some of that energy to create electricity. These two resources support tens of thousands of homes in Copenhagen.

As for the ski area, it is 400 meters long and includes four slopes of varied skill level. There is also a freestyle park and slalom course. The slopes do not rely on either natural or man-made snow, thus promoting green tourism all year in Denmark.

The park also includes running trails, climbing walls, and a café.

Denmark winters are cold, but there are no mountains, so this facility adds some diversity to what the country has to offer tourists.

Posted by Jody Victor's Crew on

The Real St. Patrick’s Day

Today if one were to travel to Ireland in for Saint Patrick’s Day one would likely see a wide variation in how the Irish celebrate this holiday. For many, Saint Patrick’s Day has become ubiquitous with leprechauns, shamrocks, parades, and green beer. However, the origins of the holiday are much more somber.

Most history on St. Patrick agrees that he lived in Roman occupied Britain and died on March 17th around 493 A.D. As a young adult, it is said, he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland, but was able, after a number of years, able to return to his family. He also entered the church upon his return as the men of his family had for two generations. His connection to Ireland continued when he returned as a missionary.

The popular myth about St. Patrick is that he chased all the snakes out of Ireland. While this is unlikely by simple logic, science also provides us with the perspective that there have probably been no snakes in Ireland since before the Ice Age. The so-called snakes are more than likely a metaphor for pagans, many of whom worshiped snakes or serpent-like gods.

After Luke Wadding, Franciscan scholar, secured St. Patrick’s sainthood, March 17th became a religious feast day celebrating St. Patrick’s spreading of Christianity to Ireland. It was actually a fairly somber occasion that included a special mass and the pubs were in fact closed.

The modern St. Patrick’s Day probably evolved from the parade tradition in New York City that was begun in 1766 by Irish members of the British army. The Irish were often not welcome immigrants to the United States, with many Americans believe untrue and exaggerated stereo-types about them. The parade developed as a way for Irish-Americans to celebrate their heritage.

In fact, the modern celebration including all things green and shamrocks didn’t take hold in Ireland until the 1960’s. However, these days even the Irish government sees it as an opportunity for publicity.

Joe Victor