6 tips for a sustainable skiing holiday
1 KNOWING THE RIGHT LOCATION
Of course, places such as Sochi and the Pyrenees are exciting destinations, but the Alps are practically on your doorstep and you save on creating a large ecological footprint by avoiding such a long flight. Here, too, ski resorts come in all shapes and sizes. If you wish to take on the slopes whilst also doing your bit for the environment, you can check out the Alpine Pearls website, for example. A collection of regions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, which all share a strong focus on environmentally friendly tourism, have joined forces. Their website is your port of call for further information.
2 KNOWING YOUR SNOW
The use of snow cannons certainly doesn’t indicate environmentally friendly winter tourism. Cannons used in the Alps consume the same amount of electricity over the course of one season as a small town does in one year. And this doesn't even take into account the quantity of water required. It’s therefore best only going onto slopes where there is enough natural fresh snow. The same applies to the timing of your skiing holiday, which you’re better off planning around Christmas and New Year – preferably not during the Easter period. It’s also worth considering that the ground at the bottom of the slopes and by the lifts cannot recover properly during the short summer months if it is still being used until spring.
3 CHOOSING THE RIGHT ACCOMMODATION
Staying in organic hotels or eco-friendly guest houses is always a good option for a skiing holiday. When on the search for the right place to stay, you can look out for official seals such as the German Viabono certificate, the Swiss "ibex fairstay" seal or the Austrian eco-label. What's more, you really can start your skiing holiday with a clear conscience if you take the time to consider the most convenient way to travel to your destination by means of public transport.
4 PARAMOUNT: RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT
It goes without saying that your enjoyment of the sport comes first – and you can do this in harmony with the environment without any problems if you stick to the simple rule of avoiding off-piste skiing. Quite frankly, this would be an unnecessary invasion of the sensitive ecosystem of the Alps anyway. Skiing away from the well-prepared slopes also leads to a high risk of wild animals becoming startled. This can sometimes even be life-threatening due to their low winter energy reserves if your intrusion causes their escape reflex to set in. By the way, off-piste skiing is also a risk to yourself. After all, gorges, crevasses and avalanches may be just around the corner at any time.
5 APRÈS-SKI IN THE VALLEY, NOT IN THE MOUNTAINS
For many skiers and snowboarders, the highlight of the holiday is the après-ski party. It is indeed a wonderful feeling to end the day with a nice, warm drink. You’re best enjoying this down in the valley rather than in one of the mountain log cabins. After all, everything you consume there had to be brought up in the first place – and inevitably, the rubbish has to be brought down again afterwards. Staying down in the valley is always the most favourable option in terms of saving resources – your hot drink is guaranteed to taste just as good there anyway.
6 EQUIPMENT THAT FULFILS ECO-STANDARDS
Last but not least, you can also think sustainably when it comes to selecting your equipment. This starts with coming to terms with the fact that you probably don’t need a new outfit every season. It's a better idea to rely on high-quality and durable apparel, which may even have the bonus of being sustainably produced. In terms of skis, snowboards, helmets etc., you will find rental companies in every ski resort that can provide you with excellently maintained equipment – this is also advantageous to you as you will be able to travel with much lighter luggage. Another tip for good measure: if you use wax for your skis, you can opt for petroleum-free products or organic wax.
As you can see, there are many excellent and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional winter tourism nowadays. What’s more, you can have a blast of a time on your skiing adventure with the added bonus of a guilty-free conscience. Enjoy!