If you want your holiday to be nature friendly, there is a way to do it. Of course, ski resorts rely on the environment as the main draw for visitors. Protecting the environment, including the flora and fauna in the area, is essential for a sustainable future.
Booking with environmentally friendly tour operators such as Alpine Elements is a great start to your eco ski holiday. However, there is more you can do to protect the environment and make European ski breaks a sustainable holiday type in the future.
How you can reduce your carbon footprint
You don’t have to sell your car and never set foot on a plane again to reduce your carbon footprint. It might help, but it is pretty impractical these days with such a busy lifestyle. There are small things you can do to make changes and be mindful of your surroundings. If you want to change the impact your travels have on the environment, look at these things you can do yourself to reduce your carbon footprint.
Think about your transport
When booking your trip, think about how you will travel to your destination. Air travel damages our environment. By driving or even better, taking the train, you minimize your carbon footprint as opposed to flying. Your holiday starts with the beginning of your journey. Driving or taking the train can be a fun way to see other places on the way to your destination and is a great way to see surrounding areas as you get to your resort. If you do need to fly due to time or cost, think about offsetting the carbon footprint of your flight.
Recycle as much as you can when in resort
If you care about the environment, you probably already recycle at home. It is easier than you think, even when you are on holiday. Many environment conscious resorts offer in-house recycling. They can be very accommodating to visitors with an environmentally-friendly mindset. Some very green resorts make recycling a requirement to help keep their resort as eco-friendly, clean and enjoyable as possible.
Dispose of your rubbish correctly
That which cannot be recycled must be disposed of appropriately. You must think about the environment and keeping both inside and outside the resort rubbish-free. Cigarette ends are a particular problem as people often discard them in the mountainside without a second thought. Thinking about how your presence impacts the environment. When you follow the rule of leaving the place better than you found it, you are on the right track.
Walk or use public transport at your destination
If you can, leave your car behind when you are in the resort. If you stay in a central location, you can always walk to where you need to get to. For places further away try to take local transport such as shuttle buses which many ski resorts provide for free. Or you could take advantage of other modes of transport such as renting a bike. It’s great for your health as well as the environment.
Offset your carbon footprint
Carbon offsetting is an internationally recognized way to take responsibility for carbon emissions that are unavoidable. You essentially pay for the equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere. Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but the companies who provide these services also improve biodiversity, food security and health and well-being in developing countries.
Choose the right tour operator
In the Alps, you should look for tour operators with an AITO recognized environmental policy. These companies adhere to strict guidelines to reduce their impact on the environment.
Which are the greenest alpine ski resorts?
Here are a few of the most notable resorts in the Alps to ski green. These are known for their sustainable energy efforts and environmentally friendly policies.
- Chamonix, France – This resort has its own climate and energy action plan. They have been awarded the Flocon Vert or the green snowflake. This is an award to raise awareness for more sustainable resorts.
- Saas Fee, Switzerland – Famous for being car-free, Saas Fee has been awarded ‘Energy Town’ status. They are working their way toward being carbon neutral.
- Kaprun, Austria -With no purpose-built slopes, the biggest energy uses here are the operating of lifts and gondolas. The resort uses renewable energy to operate all systems, including solar power.
How ski resorts are reducing their carbon footprint
When you plan a ski holiday on the Alps, look for an eco-friendly ski resort where they care about their carbon footprint. These resorts actively reduce their impact on the local environment. Here are a few things resorts are doing to protect and preserve the environment.
Encourage visitors to eat local
Instead of all-inclusive stays, resorts who are looking after their environment encourage visitors to eat and drink in local restaurants and bars. By spending time and money in local establishments, tourists help the local economy and sustaining efforts for resorts to become and stay more environmentally friendly.
Offer/promote eco-friendly ski gear
Some companies and brands are adopting an eco-responsible attitude to their production methods and reducing their CO2 emissions. This includes the replacement of toxic substances like fiberglass with bamboo. There is also a recycling scheme for old skis and snowboards. Using eco-friendly board and ski wax is also a way to prevent damage to the local environment.
Use green power
The Alps are getting better at using green power to fuel the growing resorts. Many want to have as little impact on the local environment as possible. These renewable energy sources include:
- Solar panels
- Hydro-electric plants
- Wind turbines
- Bio-diesel run machinery
Governments are offering incentives to companies who use or set up green power for their resorts. This can be a real boost as some start-ups can be expensive. Putting these methods in place are just a few ways these resorts are turning up the green power and reducing their carbon footprint.
Have a reduced traffic policy
Some ski resorts such as Zermatt have banned cars altogether. Instead, they provide an efficient train service up to the resort and electric taxis to transport you around the town. Morzine has created no traffic zones. Meribel and La Plagne provide free shuttle services between ski areas encouraging people to leave their cars behind.
Car-free resorts are popular with visitors, especially families. Not only is it better for the environment and reducing air pollution, it offers a safer environment for kids and the overall atmosphere of the resort.
Make a positive change
Sustainable travel will make a big difference. How you take your holidays has an impact on the environment. As you can see, although climate change is a real risk to our planet, there are many things you and the wider community can do to help reduce adding to the problem.
Things are changing all the time. Companies continue to come up with innovative ideas for us to be more environmentally mindful. So, you can still enjoy your ski holiday, safe in the knowledge that you are travelling environmentally friendly and reducing your carbon footprint.