Winter is just around the corner and we’re all dreaming of getting back on the slopes for a snowy holiday. Gazing upon those white peaks and valleys, and the reducing snow cover, it can be hard to quiet the worries about sustainability and whether climate change could take these experiences away from us in the future. But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some choices to make when planning a ski holiday that can do a lot to reduce environmental impact. We’ve gathered some easy swaps and top tips to make your ski season a bit greener.
1. Check your travel options!
It’s thought that more than half of the carbon emissions produced by ski resorts are caused by transport to and around them. So why not see if you can take a low-carbon route to the Alps and go by train instead of catching another high emission flight – one simple switch to make your whole trip a whole lot more sustainable. This winter Eurostar has teamed up with Travelski to offer direct trains to the Alps, so you can set off from St Pancras and arrive at the slopes via train stations Moûtiers and Bourg St Maurice that are just an hour’s drive from some of France’s top resorts like Les Arcs, La Plagne, or Les Menuires. You can even take your ski gear on board at no extra cost.
2. Choose sustainable ski gear
The fashion industry is known to have an enormous impact on the environment, and questionable labour practices, so when it comes to getting your gear ready it’s worth thinking carefully about what you buy (or don’t buy). Quite often the most sustainable outfit is the one that’s already in your wardrobe, and it can make a huge difference if people repair the things they’ve loved wearing instead of chucking them out in favour of something new. Rental is also a green choice and there’s usually tonnes of rental options in ski resorts. If you are in the market to buy some new gear for you or your children, there are some brands like Oosc or Patagonia that are thinking seriously about the future and producing sustainable new outerwear to last a lifetime.
3. Pick a green resort
If you’ve travelled by train, you’re already well on the way to slashing your ski holiday’s carbon footprint, but why stop there? There are ski resorts all over the world that are going above and beyond to shrink their emissions so why not aim to support them? Avoriaz, in the Portes du Soleil, was one of the first resorts in France to go completely car free, so not only can you cut down on another carbon emitting transport method, but you can also experience a magical alternative with horse-drawn carriages available in place of regular taxis. Other eco-friendly credentials include roofs designed to retain snow to provide buildings with natural insulation – although it’s also important to be conscious of the basics and not leave your heating or lights on when you’re out and about! Plus, keep an eye out for resorts that have earned a coveted Flocon Vert to indicate they are committed to sustainable development and responsible tourism.
4. Think food and drink
Being mindful about what you eat and drink on holiday might not sound like a sure-fire way to a fun time but changing what’s on our plates can really make a difference to the planet, with no need to compromise on flavour. By choosing to eat food that’s in season and produced locally you can once again lower your emissions while also getting to discover local specialities. Opting to go veggie is also one of the simplest switches you can make if you’re looking to lower your impact, so much so that family-run bespoke chalet provider, AliKats, in Morzine, France, are even offering incentives to guests who eat a plant-based diet for the week (and travel by train and opt-out of the hot tub). The company’s seasonal, locally sourced menu is top of the range when it comes to delicious meals that don’t harm the planet, with an on-site permaculture garden and hyper efficient food waste systems that allowed AliKats to achieve zero waste last year!