Are you planning to hit the slopes this winter?
Is a 2021/2022 winter skiing holiday on the horizon? Travel restrictions are easing. Finally, we can see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. It’s time to escape our homes and reconnect with the outdoors. Whether you are riding the powder off-piste or admiring the views with a cold beer on a bluebird day, hitting the slopes is one of the best ways we can connect with nature. But have you ever asked yourself, is my ski trip sustainable?
The popularity of winter sports is soaring, which means more air miles, equipment, clothing, spa hotels, heavy machinery, ski lifts, mountain snacks in single-use plastic… I could keep going but I think you get the idea. Sustainability might not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to booking your yearly ski trip. However, skiers are already witnessing the negative effects of climate change on our slopes with rising temperatures and inconsistent snowpacks.
Ecotourism is more important than ever right now. You might be thinking, “What is ecotourism?” It’s all about travelling responsibly to natural areas and conserving the environment whilst doing so. It might be the last colour you want to see on the slopes but we’ve put together some easy to follow tips to make your 2021 ski trip as green as possible.
How to get to the ski resort: Sustainable travel
Let’s start at the beginning. How do you plan on travelling to your ski resort? Are you one of the lucky people who has access to skiing in their home country? If this is the case, make the most of it! Ski locally and you will avoid almost all travel time, reduce costs and you won’t have to worry about any potential mandatory quarantine.
If you want to hop on a plane, you are already causing the planet’s carbon emissions to skyrocket before you even arrive. According to research by Best Foot Forward, the average one-way flight to a ski resort creates around 122kg of CO2 per person. However, a train journey emits 90% less (12kg of CO2 per person).
Do you like skiing in Austria? The Alpen Express takes you directly to 20 Austrian winter sports locations! They even plan to offer a ski boot fitting service on the train. So yes, you can be an efficient eco-skier before you even hit the slopes! Worried about the cost? Not only will a train journey help you save on your carbon emissions, it will also cost you the same as a flight, if not less, to help care for our planet.
Struggling to plan a skiing vacation by train? Check out Snowcarbon! They can help you easily plan your train journey to your favourite ski resorts.
Choose a sustainable ski resort
Ski resorts across the world are making huge efforts towards ‘going green’. Sustainable innovation is continuing to find creative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of skiing – from heating up hotels with the waste energy from ski lifts to building charging points for electric cars.
How do we decide which destinations are at the top of the environmentally friendly ski-resort list? Do you want to know which resorts use eco-friendly products or solar-power?
Here at Ratoong, we do all we can to make you take sustainable choices. We ask you through our unique rating system to rate some important parameters contributing to lower carbon emission. We know it isn’t scientific but it will give you an idea of what other users impressions are of the sustainability of each ski resort.
Where can we find the sustainable ski-resort warriors?
Look no further! We’ve put together a list of some of the world’s best Eco-Ski Resorts!
- Avoriaz, France: Runs on renewable energy and the only car-free resort in France! They also won the award for ‘The Most Innovative Resort for Sustainable Development’ in 2014.
- La Plagne & Les Arcs, France: The kings of renewable energy! Wind power, hydroelectricity, solar power… you name it! The ski lifts have all been powered by 100% renewable energy since 2012.
- Ruka, Finland: Impressively, Ruka is a carbon neutral ski resort! They also host the World Bio-economy Forum, a global platform for circular bio-economy.
- Andermatt, Switzerland: No access to protected wildlife and forest areas, 100% renewable energy source for electrical power supply, partner of POW Protect our Winters, free mountain water from fountains and regional ingredients used in restaurants.
- Laax, Switzerland: They promote the use of local produce, renewable energy and have an extensive recycling programme. No wonder they have the aim of being the world’s 1st self-sufficient ski resort!
- Pejo3000 / Val di Sole, Italy: First ski-resort to ban all single-use plastic!
- Jackson hole: According to Green Destinations, Jackson Hole is one of the most sustainable ski resorts in the world.
- Aspen: Runs completely on renewable energy and holds the Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence.
- Whistler: Impressively aims to be 100% emission and waste free! Several time winner of Canada’s greenest Employer Award.
These are only a few of the many ski resorts currently putting in huge efforts to be as green as possible! Remember to do your research when deciding on your destination for your winter skiing holiday 2021 / 2022.
Support sustainable brands
Now that you’ve chosen your sustainable travel option and eco-resort, it’s time to think about the ski gear!
Your winter skiing holiday is approaching, where do you buy ski gear? Or should I say eco-ski gear?
Hit the slopes in both sustainable and stylish ski and snowboard wear. Some of our top picks for great eco-friendly companies are Picture Organic, Patagonia, Pure Brandz, The North Face and Helly Hansen. These brands are all taking different approaches and strategies to transform their business and become more sustainable. They are mountains above others in the ski industry when it comes to sustainable innovation and design.
The Australian based ski brand offers 100 percent recyclable products and avoids using environmentally harmful chemicals. Do you want a warm and waterproof ski jacket? You’re in luck! Pure Brandz ski jackets are crafted with SympaTex, an innovative fabric designed to keep you warm on those cold, wet days on the mountain. Is your ski gear worn out? Pure Brandz offers a unique buyback system that allows you to hand in your old ski jacket for a discount on your next purchase or a charity donation.
We’ve all heard of this one. The retail giant Patagonia is the leader in environmental activism. Their high-quality gear is made to last and avoid the dreaded landfill. They have a never-ending list of eco-initiatives, such as their Worn Wear Campaign. Small holes in your favourite ski wear? Not to worry! If you have some Tenacious Tape, a needle and thread or you know your way around a sewing machine, Patagonia offer repair videos to guide you through the process. Maybe you will be lucky enough to cross paths with Patagonia on their European Worn Wear tour across Austria, Germany, Italy, France or Switzerland. Ride up to the wooden retro trailer to get your torn jackets or burst zippers repaired for free.
It all started with three French skiers and a passion for sustainability. The company has grown rapidly since starting in 2008 but makes sure to grow sustainably, using a carbon calculator to keep track of their carbon footprint. Do you want a sustainable ski helmet? Picture offer a unique helmet made from 100% recycled and organic materials. When it comes to their skiing jackets, you will find organic cotton and left-over scraps of material lining the inside of jacket. No waste!
Rent equipment (especially for the kids)
When it comes to equipment, renting is a good way to lower the carbon footprint of your ski kit. Skiing for kids can be pricy, renting is not only sustainable but also more budget friendly in the long run! So, say goodbye to forking out for new ski’s as the kids grow.
Do you already own your own ski gear? Remember to take care of your ski gear after the season and it will last for years to come!
Last but not least, be a responsible on the slopes!
- Respect the environment
- Don’t drop your litter: you’d be shocked at the number of plastic bottles, empty beer cans and single-use packaging left over when all the snow melts!
- Bring a collapsible water bottle (very handy)
- Bring snacks in reusable packaging
Do you feel inspired and ready to plan your next eco-ski trip? Let us know in the comments or on our social media!
Love always, Laura
The Ratoong Team.