OSU-Cascades engineering students create Nordic track lights

Said to be first portable track lights in NW

Engineering students create Nordic track lights

BEND, Ore. - Students in OSU-Cascade's energy systems engineering program are finishing their capstone project, and it's said to be the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

The project is a Nordic ski trail lighting system, which they demonstrated Friday evening at Meissner Sno-Park.

There are systems like them in Europe, but most of them are permanently set into the ground.

The Forest Service has some restrictions that would not allow a permanent setup on a course -- these lights account for that by being portable.

The students working on the project said they believe it has several practical uses.

"I would imagine a system like this would be very useful for the community, getting high school racers out here after school, potentially hosting night races, as an organization," engineering student Derek Hobden said. "If (Virginia Meissner Sno-Park) adopted this type of system, they'd have that option."

Nordic skiers coming through the lighted strip Friday night said they liked the idea of being able to ski at night.

In terms of light pollution, the students designed the lights with dimmers and positioned them so most of the light goes straight down.

The panels are solar-powered, so they leave no carbon footprint.

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