Though the advent of winter signals the impending New Year’s celebration, they also signal the beginning of the season for two of the world’s favourite pastimes: Skiing and snowboarding.
Even though these activities urge people to spend more time close to Mother Nature, most skiing and snowboarding resorts don’t have the greenest of reputations. As eco-friendly skiing is all the rage at the moment, more and more resorts are challenging this perception and inching their way towards a more sustainable outlook to their activities.
Keeping in mind their so-far negative environmental impact, more resorts are now entrenching themselves in recycling both snow and their peripheral products. There is also a concerted effort now to reduce their carbon footprint by using more green energy, traffic reduction, sewage management and building and climate policy.
This focus on eco-friendly skiing and sustainable snowboarding stems from the growing impact of global warming, which is severely affecting the environment. As these activities are more snow and nature based, changing climate is simply no longer good for business anymore.
Before a list of the best destinations to enjoy your favourite winter sports without feeling too bad about hurting the environment in any way is presented, here is a list of practices to reduce environmental impact:
- Sourcing environment friendly equipment –
Even though it seems like a lot of effort to source sustainable snowboarding or eco-friendly skiing equipment, it is not as difficult as it seems. Most of the products use high end plastic or fiber glass, now-a-days companies are experimenting with alternative eco-friendly products like Bamboo and many other wood fibers. Even more snowboards are being made using this. Not only does this help reduce the prices of the products, they also help reduce the CO2 emissions which in-turn means that there will be more snow to enjoy.
- Eco-friendly skiing paraphernalia – Many products associated with these activities, like snowboard and ski wax are being made in a manner that their environmental impact can be closely monitored. Most of these products and usually made with little regard for their environmental impact, but as the focus is shifting to eco-friendly skiing and sustainable snowboarding, things are changing here too. Most of these products are now 100 percent eco-friendly and are mostly chemical free.
- Eco-friendly winter clothing –
Owing to the fact that the sustainable clothing industry has become a force to be reckoned with, the focus on eco-friendly skiing clothing has also gone up. Also, online couture shopping has seen a substantial rise in the last decade, so access to such clothing has become commonplace. Most of the sustainable snowboarding inner and outerwear is now made by hemp and PET bottles. These clothes are also incredibly fashionable so it never pricks the conscience why environmental impact was preferred over fashion.
- Eco-friendly accessories – With the shift to online shopping and online selling of products, the need to sell products in the vicinity to these winter resorts has dropped considerably. Thus more and more companies are now selling environment friendly products like sunscreen and hand-crafted bamboo ski poles. Also, there has been a rise in eco-friendly wool products being sold online by organizations that emphasize on their ethical and sustainable practices.
Now we are through with that, here is a list of the best destinations for eco-friendly skiing and sustainable snowboarding –
- Aspen, Colorado – The Aspen Skiing Company was the frontrunner in accepting and implementing policies to safeguard the environment and help reduce their carbon footprint. Not only did they focus on revamping their energy consumption model to go green with more focus on wind energy than solar energy, they also accepted the use of biodiesel in their snow grooming machines.
- Bolton Valley, Vermont – Though Vermont is synonymous for its wine and picturesque nature, the winter sports industry is also a major source of local income. To modernize themselves and to compete with the other winter sports destinations, they also shifted to wind power as an alternate source. This coupled with the fact that more and more local restaurants are focusing on locally grown or locally sourced food products, Vermont is slowly becoming the go-to place in the winters.
- Kaprun, Austria – One of the best places in the world for eco-friendly skiing and sustainable snowboarding is Kaprun in Austria. Most of the ski resorts in Austria are actually picturesque villages that have been modified to cater to winter sports. They were also one of the first countries in the world to embrace sustainable growth to reduce the environmental impact of winter sports on Mother Nature.
- Anzere, Switzerland – Even though it is just a small town in Switzerland, it was one of first places in the world that replaced burning oil with a more sustainable method of heat generation. With its fresh alpine air, over 600 apartments, multiple hotels and relaxation destinations, this small Swiss Village is the place to be if you are a die-hard winter sport aficionado.
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, USA – An international award winning resort, Jackson Hole or JHMR is the place to be because it has lesser cars and more people around who are just there to get their adrenaline pumping. It is also one of the places that have turned to a renewable energy generation, wind power. It has also vowed to cut down on its carbon footprint, waste and domestic water consumption.
Every once in while, we look forward to break away from our monotonous schedules in the cities and escape to a foreign land which usually has a serene environment and can help us get closer to Mother Nature.
But for this, we need to prevent climate change and preserve the places we so love for generations to come. Even though ski resorts have never been very environment friendly, the new focus on decreasing environmental impact to attract more people has become a staple.
So, it is time to embrace eco-friendly skiing and sustainable snowboarding, isn’t it?