10 May 2020 from Danielle in General

We spend a lot of time sorting through prices, package deals, types of terrain, beginner vs. expert-friendly, snow conditions and the like. But how much thought do you put into whether your ski resort of choice is environmentally friendly? With the looming threat of climate change causing brown hills in the near future, it’s more important than ever to make sure our choices reflect our passion for the snow. It would pretty ironic to think that we are contributing to poor snow conditions and shorter ski seasons! Luckily, if you give sustainability just a little thought while planning your holiday, you can make a big difference to your carbon footprint.

Choose your ski resort carefully: avoid snow cannons

Snow cannons are frequently one of the first things we check for when planning a ski holiday, especially at low-elevation ski areas or in the shoulder seasons. Obviously, reliable snow is a huge plus! But artificial snow, which seems like such a good invention at first, is actually a double-edged sword. Scientists argue that snow cannons are actually terrible for the environment as they use huge amounts of water and energy, in addition to messing with the natural geography of the surrounding environment. If you want to be eco-friendly, it’s best to avoid ski resorts that rely on artificial snow. Choose high-elevation ski areas if you’re worried about the snow cover.

Snow cannons
Snow cannons are harmful to the environment

Environmental awards, quality seals and green initiatives

When it comes to sustainability, many ski resorts are stepping up to the plate and doing their best to fight climate change with a variety of green initiatives. Similarly, there is no shortage of environmental groups looking to help pair environmentally aware skiers and snowboarders with environmentally responsible ski resorts. Check out organisations like Alpine Pearls which help you find environmentally friendlier ski resorts – resorts which use less snow cannons, or have implemented other green projects like solar panels, etc.

Sustainable materials and zero waste

There are loads of up-and-coming companies that produce everything from ski jackets and clothing to actual skis, snowboards and related equipment sourced from eco-friendly materials. It’s also worth trying to use products like eco-friendly sunscreen, ski wax, etc. whenever possible to avoid dumping toxins into our gorgeous mountains. And, of course, don’t be one of those people who throws rubbish off the chairlifts. As stated in one of my favourite ski resorts: Snow melts, trash doesn’t!

Save on your energy bills at home

It’s not only about what you do on your ski holiday, but also about the preparations you take before leaving home. A ski or snowboard holiday is usually at least a weekend long and more often than not, it’s a whole week. Did you remember to turn down the heating before you left the house? This not only saves you money on your energy bill, but it also helps avoid burning energy for no reason. If you don’t have much food in your fridge and freezer, you can also empty these and unplug them during your trip to save on electricity. And, of course, turn all the lights off before you leave.

Ouibus Lyon Airport to Alpe d'Huez
Ouibus goes from Lyon Airport to Alpe d'Huez

Sustainable transport

The most environmentally friendly option for getting to the Alps is going by train, and this is easier than it sounds. The journey takes about 10 hours and you get settle down in comfort and skip the checked-luggage fees. If you do take a plane to get to your winter sports destination, you can choose between renting a car or taking a bus or train to the ski resort. While renting a car might seem like the easiest option, plenty of places offer excellent, affordable shuttles from the airport directly to the ski resort. 

It’s really inspiring to see how many ways there are to cut down on our environmental footprints while skiing or snowboarding. Let’s keep those mountains white!

Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!