As skiers and snowboarders we care about protecting the mountains – after all, that’s where all the fun is! Finding ways to reduce the impact of our winter pursuits is an important part of taking action to tackle climate change and there are plenty of innovative companies, resorts and brands trying to help as well.
To kick off the start of winter we’ve gathered some of the latest news about sustainability across the snowsports industry with the help of Savoie Mont Blanc, the premier ski destination that covers two-thirds of the French Alps and is home to some of the most iconic resorts in Europe.
Where to go?
Interested in visiting a resort that is working on sustainable projects? Several charities and companies now recognise resorts that make progress with sustainability through an award system.
- Flocon Vert – created by Mountain Riders, a French charity that works with communities across the Alps to organise mountain cleaning operations and sustainable tourism, the “Green Snowflake” is awarded to resorts taking action to improve sustainability – current holders include Chamonix-Mont-Blanc and Châtel.
- Green Globe – taking into account 300 criteria, Green Globe has been providing sustainability certification for over twenty years amd this year awarded certification to Tignes–Val d’Isere and the Grand Massif.
- Station Verte – a long-running scheme for resorts in France, Station Verte acts as a stamp of approval for resorts repecting the environment by offering authentic experiences that fit with local communities. Resorts recognised by the resort include Albiez-Montrond, Courchevel, Peisey Vallandry, Samoens, Thollon-les-Mémises and Valloire.
How to get there?
Travel to a ski resort can be a large part of the carbon footprint of your holiday so many people are now considering alternatives to flying like taking the train. Resorts are also introducing new options for getting around at resort that can help cut emissions.
From a new 100% electric Funicular at Bourg-Saint-Maurice dropping visitors at the mountain station of Arc 1600, to a new shuttle network at Valmorel with more accessible service hours to encourage more people to forego cars, the approaches at different resorts are varied.
Most revolutionary is the brand new self-driving electric shuttle bus being introduced in Val Thorens in December 2019. With the town car-free during the week the new high-tech shuttle will be the swiftest and most eco-friendly way to get around when your legs are tired from a day on the slopes!
It’s not just travel to resorts or through the town, even ski lifts can be powered by more eco-friendly sources. Les Sybelles is one resort that will now only use green energy for its snow-making and for the lifts – certified 100% renewable electricity from local hydroelectricity centres.
What to buy?
Over the last few years snowsports brands have introduced exciting new styles for those looking to purchase with purpose. One new brand on the scene, Untrakt, uses recycled fabrics that are also recyclable, meaning that their garments won’t end up in landfill at the end of their usable life.
Other brands also use recycled content to reduce the impact of their apparel, or work with fabrics certified by organisations like Bluesign®, a standard for environmentally friendly and safe production. For Pyua, sustainability is the first guideline considered when designing new gear for the mountains. The company has pioneered new fabrics to deliver performance and durability while being true to their core value of a conscious responsibility for the environment.
Out in the mountains we are seeing more local businesses working together to reduce emissions and waste while creating a more sustainable approach for the ski industry. One Tree at a Time is a collective of businesses based in the French Alps and beyond who co-operate on sustainability pledges, tree planting campaigns and events.
Across the world there are also local chapters of Protect Our Winters, a non-profit organisation founded by pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones to inspire and equip communities to take positive action to address the climate crisis.
Sustainability at SportPursuit
The natural playgrounds we know and love are under threat, from mountains to oceans and everywhere else; the question is, what can we do about it?
We’ve been learning from organisations like Protect Our Winters how we can take action as individuals, or even push for bigger change from companies and financial institutions. After considering our options as a business, one way we have decided to make a difference is by supporting the planting of trees. We’re starting by planting two trees every time you refer a friend to SportPursuit!
Stay up to date with our progress on sustainability at SportPursuit.
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