The Best Eco Friendly Ski Holidays
Ski holidays don’t have the greenest of reputations, but many resorts across the world are making efforts to be more eco-friendly and conscious of the environment.
We all love escaping the bustling cities for the serene mountains during the season that fuels our passions. Even though we feel closer to nature, ski resorts use a lot of energy all over the mountain and villages. To prevent climate change and preserve our mountains so that generations can ski for years to come, we need to act now. All over the world there are already signs of what global warming is doing to our ski areas, therefore over the past few years ski resorts have begun to combat this and starting to be more environmentally responsible.
As well as ski areas enforcing eco-friendly processes, there are many organisations getting involved with the fight against climate change. If you are interested in further information on this subject I recommend you take a look at the Protect Our Winters (POW) campaign which was started by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones. Here are 5 resorts that are changing the future of ski holidays:
Austria remains popular due to the lack of purpose built ski areas, and alternatively each beautiful alpine village has been carefully developed over time to benefit the environment.
One of the largest energy uses in a ski resort is operating gondolas and chair lifts. Kaprun has led the way by becoming the first in Austria to be ISO-certified and receives 5 star ratings across the board when it comes to green valuations. The Kitzsteinhorn lifts uses renewable energy to operate all systems, including solar power.
There is a comprehensive free bus network that operates across the resort and to Zell am See. Additional, trees are planted using eco-friendly techniques and there is a 11km sewage pipe system in place to prevent pollution on the mountain and glacier.
This maybe just a small Swiss village, but Anzère prides itself in doing its part to keep the alpine air clean by implementing Europe’s largest eco-friendly heating system. It is saving 1.5 million litres of oil a year and provides energy for 600 apartments, 2 hotels, a new outdoor pool and spa.
With only 50km of piste, Anzère will never rival its resort neighbours Verbier or Zermatt, but it is becoming more popular with the likes of families and ecologists, especially with the upgrades in lifts and its amenities.
Avoriaz won the Environmental Award for Ecological Developments at the recent World Snow Awards in London. Since opening in 1966 it is the only resort in France to be pedestrianised since its beginning. It is also the first ski resort to design holiday accommodation with features such as insulation, balconies with thermal break and roofs built to hold snow for further insulation.
Construction of a dual-energy central heating plant provides 11 holiday residences and the new Aquariaz water park, with heating and hot water. Plus snow production is sourced from the natural environment and the production is optimised to use as little water as possible.Additional there are actions in place to reduce, sort and process waste and special care to protect plants and wildlife.
2. Jackson Hole
In 2011 Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) won the Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence, which is one of the greatest honours in the world for green ski resorts. JHMR has a number of resort wide environment pledges to combat climate change, with hopes to reduce all carbon emissions, domestic water consumption and waste by 10% by 2015.
The resort has heavily invested in upgrading its facilities including converting energy resources so that now Jackson Hole is one of the only ski areas to be 100% wind powered. More efficient skimobiles have replaced the traditional models creating less pollution, plus JHMR features eco-friendly ski chalets that combine luxury with an environmentally friendly function.
1. Saas Fee
The ‘Pearl of the Alps’ is often regarded as one of the greenest resorts in the world as it is famous for being car-free. They are committed to being sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism.
Saas Fee has been awarded ‘Energy Town’ status with its leading example of how collective efforts of the community can both improve the quality of life and help protect the climate. With considerable investments in sustainability, the town aims to play a pioneering role in ecological alpine tourism and in the long term hopes to attain carbon neutrality.
With a large scale installation of particle filters in wood burning heating systems, Saas Fee is preventing the battle with soot particles and is well on the way to become the first fine dust-free community in the European Alps
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