Green ski holiday – how is that supposed to work?
For many of us, the snowy season implies winter sports. Looking from an ecological point of view, the world of skiing sports is not really green. For many years, whole mountain forests became a victim to the construction of lift sites, ski pistes or wellness resorts. Slowly but surely, tourism boards and the hotel industry have started to rethink their strategies in regards to environmental protection – for example more and more ground autonomous and therefore environmentally friendly chairlifts and even solar lifts, such as in Tenna in Switzerland, have been implemented. A great development! But what else can we personally do to make the skiing vacations more eco-friendly? Sustainability always demands your own initiative too: From arrival, over equipment to accommodation – a winter holiday can be organized more sustainable.
How to travel sustainably
Es ist kaum zu glauben: 70 bis 80 Prozent der CO2 Emissionen eines Ski-Resorts verursacht die individuelle Anreise mit dem Auto. Für den Weg zu den Wintersportorten gibt es verträgliche Alternativen. Die Fahrt mit Bahn und Bus dauert oft nicht viel länger und wer gar nicht verzichten kann oder möchte, könnte doch eine Fahrgemeinschaft bilden. Ein Abholservice zu Hütte oder Hotel lässt sich ebenfalls meist unkompliziert organisieren. Manche Tourismusgebiete punkten im Thema Nachhaltigkeit mit cleveren Ideen: Im österreichischen Werfenwang beispielsweise erhalten Urlauber, die bei Ankunft ihre Autoschlüssel an der Rezeption abgeben, einen Vorteilspass, mit dem sie gratis Skibusse und Pferdekutschen nutzen können.
Believe it or not: 70 to 80 per cent of a ski resort’s CO2 emissions is caused by individually driving to the slopes by car. For the journey to the winter sport locations there are more compatible alternatives – public transport is accessible and convenient. And for those, who cannot renounce: it is easy to build a carpool. Once arrived at the destination, a collective shuttle to and from the hotel is often provided or easy to organize. Some tourist regions came up with clever ideas, for example at the Austrian town Werfenwang: travelers, who leave their car keys at the reception, will receive a special voucher for free usage of the ski busses or the horse-drawn carriages.
How to ski sustainably
Endlich angekommen. Wer im Zug unterwegs war, hatte möglicherweise nicht die Nerven, die komplette Skiausrüstung zu transportieren. Nicht weiter schlimm, denn in den meisten Skigebieten kann professionelle Ausrüstung geliehen werden. Der Vorteil dabei: Das Equipment ist auf dem neuesten Stand und wird meist besser gepflegt als die Skier zu Hause. Vielfahrer, die auf eigene Ausstattung nicht verzichten möchten, sollten auf nachhaltige Produktion setzen, wie beispielsweise Atomic, Venture oder Stöckli. Profis wie Freerider Candide Thovex oder Eric Pollard schwören seit Neuestem auf Skier mit einem Kern aus der Naturfaser Flachs. Das Start-Up “Bcomp” aus Freiburg hat sie erfunden und zählt bereits rund 30 Skimarken zu ihren Kunden. Und auch Skier und Board mit umweltfreundlichem Wachs ohne Erdöl zu präparieren ist zumindest ein kleiner Beitrag für die Umwelt.
Finally arrived. But those, who arrived by train, possibly did not have the nerves to transport all the skiing equipment. Not a problem, as in most of the skiing regions, professional equipment can be rent. The advantage hereby: The equipment is up-tp-date and often times better cared for than the one at home. The more frequent skiers should pay attention to select a brand that supports sustainable production, such as Atomic, Venture or Stöckli. Lately, professionals such as the free riders Candide Thovex or Eric Pollard swear by skis with the core made of natural fibre flax. The Start-Up company “Bcomp” from Freiburg in Germany invented the skis and counts so far 30 ski brands to its clients. Furthermore, preparing your skis and boards with eco-friendly wax that does not contain mineral oil is a little contribution to the environment.
How to dress sustainably
Yes of course, also fashion and functional wise you would like to be on top of the Slope. Many outdoor materials contain toxins such as PFC. The chemicals have a stable bond between carbon and fluorine, which can only be disconnected using a lot of energy. Thus, the chemicals stay in the environment for a long time.
A fantastic alternative is skiing fashion made of recycled material, for example from brands such as Vaude or Zimtstern. Already since 1993, the label Patagonia produces fleece fabrics made of 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. How great is that? Also natural materials provide wonderful functional characteristics. Merino wool is very light, soft, breathable and stain resistant, and most importantly free of synthetics. Companies from New Zealand such as the label Icebreaker as well as the less well known brand Kaipara have known this for a while. The wool production fulfills the highest NZ standards in terms of environment and animal protection, as well as social responsibility. The material is converted in a small tailoring in Southern Germany. And from a style point of view, the hip clothes can definitely keep up.
How to live sustainably
To make the ski as environmental-friendly as possible, also hotels in ski destinations have been innovative.
A refugee for body and soul can be found at the HUBERTUS Alpin Lodge & Spa. On 1,044 meters height in the Allgäu Alps (also known as “Bavarian Siberia”), the temporary home enchants with luxurious ambience, modern nature architecture and alpine culinary. The hotel celebrates lived sustainability, authenticity and the love to the local region in all aspects. Come up into the mountains, come down at HUBERTUS Alpin Lodge & Spa.
After the ski fun at the Schnalstaler glacier, you are best accommodated at Josephus. Surrounded by the untouched nature of the Schnalstal, the lodge is paying attention to environmental protection and regionality. And that you can see! The rustic and at the same time modern design of the Josephus relies on natural materials such as recycled wood from the region or natural plaster. The lodge is climatefriendly powered by geothermal anergy and photovoltaic. Used are mostly regional products from producers that the host family knows personally.
One of the most renowned green hotels in Europe is the Gradonna. Situated in Kals at the Großglockner is the perfect adress for a green ski vacation. The focus of “Europe’s Leading Green Resort 2016” is the beauty of nature. After an active day on the ski slope, you are craving for some relaxation? No problem, because at Gradonna also wellness is possible eco-friendly: The natural pond is solar heated, while the outdoor pools and the warm water in the baths receive their temperature from heat recovery of the hotel owned wood chip plants.