Top Eco-Friendly Ski Resorts: Going Green to Stay White
These Eco-Resorts are Going Green to Stay White!
Hitting the slopes to ski or snowboard connects us to nature in such a powerful way. The feeling of traversing the expansive mountainous terrain is like no other. Breathing in the crisp air and reveling in the stunning landscapes - it’s one of the most unparalleled ways to experience the beauty of nature.
Such a connection puts us in a particularly poignant position to show just how much we appreciate it. We can give that love back by ensuring that our holidays are as kind to the planet as possible. Just a few simple changes can make a big difference!
Here are some of the eco-pressures that ski tourism poses to the environment:
Spike in popularity: Forces resorts to keep up with demand by expanding, increasing water reservoirs and snow cannons.
Artificial snowmaking: Snowfall starts later and stops earlier each season, snow cannons require a lot of water and energy to cater to the change.
Impact on wildlife: Some of the routines and habitats of wild animals are disrupted.
Transportation: The carbon footprint of hotels, snow cannons, and lifts all pale in comparison to the cars that get us there. Taking shared transportation like a train, bus, or plane is actually better for the planet than driving a car.
So, which resorts have pledged to tackle these issues?
Let’s take a look at four of the top eco-friendly ski resorts…
Why is Saas-Fee referred to as the ‘Pearl of the Alps’?
Saas-Fee has the freshest air in the Alps. It has been car-free since 1951, incredible! The peace and quiet from their holistic environmental efforts not only work to benefit the environment but improve the overall quality of life for its residents and guests.
It is regarded as one of the greenest resorts in the world. They continuously work to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact, and strive to reach carbon neutrality. They use 100% clean energy from local hydraulic power, provide zero-emission electric public transportation, and more!
They have long been pioneers ecological alpine tourism - Saas-Fee was the first resort in Switzerland to introduce fees for bin bags in 1994, which meant residents sorted rubbish exactly and lead to them producing less waste in general.
Marmotte Mountain Eco Lodge, France
Luxury meets sustainability. As its name suggests, the cabin has been built with green technology and is fully self-sufficient and able to completely power itself with its advanced renewable energy systems.
The luxury ski chalet sleeps up to 10 guests, and is located just 1km from Chamonix in the beautiful hamlet of les Nants. The chalet enjoys the most stunning views on offer within the Chamonix Valley.
In 2010 Chamonix launched its own pioneering climate and energy action plan, with an intention of cutting carbon emissions by 20% by 2020.
SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser Brixental, Austria
This resort takes their pledge to the environment seriously, from water and energy reduction to heat recovery. Every snow cannon and lance is fed by 15 reservoirs, all of which are filled naturally with snowmelt water. They use solar energy to power their lifts and any surplus is used to power the rest of the resort.
They use waste heat to warm the resort - by utilising their waste heat they save approximately 10,000 litres of heating oil, which in turn results in a saving of 32 tonnes of CO² emissions. They also offer charging stations for electric cars.
If you're looking for a larger resort, you're in luck - The SkiWelt is Austria's largest interconnected ski area. It has 90 Cable car lifts and Ski lifts!
Laax Resort, Switzerland
Laax produces 100% of its renewable electricity through hydroelectric and solar power plants. Photovoltaic systems at rail stations and the conversion from oil to pellet heating systems and heat pumps allow for further CO2 savings.
Their engine data systems help snow groomers to travel within the most efficient speed range to reduce fuel consumption. Even waste heat from the engines of the rail systems is used for the heating needs of surrounding buildings.
Laax also hosts a monthly ski clothes repairing session to promote the reusing of equipment, and has e-car charging stations available throughout the resort.
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