Down slope winds usually crop up in late afternoon in the Carson Range of the Sierras. Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe just installed three wind spires to take advantage of those winds cruising down Slide Bowl.

Mt. Rose erected the wind spires last week to take advantage of winds along the eastern front of the Carson Range. The 33-foot-tall spires are expected to provide enough electricity to power the lights in Winters Creek Lodge for the winter.

The three wind spires were installed along the walkway between the parking lot and the north side of the lodge. The location picks up the afternoon down slope winds that start up every day around 3 or 4 p.m. The winds average about 14 mph, but the spires are designed to withstand gusts up to 160 mph.

The spires, however, are more than functional; they actually look arty. "What we like about these spires is that they look good," Murray Blaney, director of base operations, told OnTheSnow. "They look like sculptures and fit in with the lighting on the walkway."

Whether or not the resort opts to add more wind spires in the future remains to be seen. "We're very interested in seeing the performance of the units," said Blaney. "The proof is in the pudding. We'll look at the annual energy savings and are anxious to see what gets put back in to the grid on its down times."