This winter, perhaps more than any other, it’s essential that we pack our sustainability principles alongside our ski socks for our annual jaunt to the snow; leaving them at home is no longer an option. By the very nature of their operation, ski resorts are incredibly energy intensive places, yet there’s so much you can do to lower your impact on the natural resources of our valley during your holiday.
Fortunately, here in Morzine, Les Gets and Avoriaz, we have the experts at Montagne Verte to guide us. Montagne Verte are a non-profit association funded by the local community with a mission to develop sustainable solutions for our resorts and villages. We asked them for practical ways that you can help to reduce the environmental impact of your stay in our valley this winter.
1. Change how you travel
Between 55% and 75% of the carbon emissions associated with a ski holiday come from travelling to the mountains by plane. Taking the train is the biggest single impact holiday makers can have on the environmental impact of their trip and you’ll discover some really useful resources to compare travel methods on the Montagne Verte website.
To tackle this hugely important opportunity, we launched our AlpinExpress project to incentivise train travel. Skiers using the fast and easy train route to the mountains benefit from a host of money saving discounts from local businesses, which will hopefully offset any increased travel costs associated with taking shaping the plane for the train.
2. Change how you shop
Do you really need that new kit? Probably not. Buying new ski kit each year is a huge part of the problem. By its very nature, ski outerwear is designed to be tough and durable and therefore perfectly repairable and easy to re-waterproof.
Your other option is to rent your ski clothing, which is especially handy for families with small children. Ecoski have a large selection of pre-owned kit available to buy online in additional to a rental service and they also provide a repair service too. Crevasse Clothing also provide an excellent rental service, delevering your pre-booked equipment to your holiday accommodation in time for your arrival.
For all those last minute extras and lost items during your holiday, the Montagne Verte shop on the rue du Bourg in Morzine is an excellent place to stock-up on second hand ski clothing and accessories.
If, at the end of the day, you really do need to buy new ski kit, we’ve assembled a guide to the best sustainable brands and you’ll find it on our website.
3. Change how you stay
Would you leave your heating on at home while you’re out for the day, returning to open all the windows because every room feels like a sauna? Unlikely! Ask your chalet host or accommodation manager to demonstrate how the heating system works during check in. Additionally, did you know that reducing the temperature of your heating by just 1 degree will reduce the energy consumption by 7%?
Hot tubs are a tricky issue, we know so many of you love them during your winter holiday. Full disclosure… heating water to 37.5 degrees outdoors during the winter season is a hugely energy intensive operation. Ask your accommodation operator to reduce the temperature to 25 degrees for the week (rather than turn it off entirely) and opt out of using it altogether; you never know, they might even give you a discount!
Finally, please turn off the lights and close the windows when you head out for the day.
4. Change how you get rid of your rubbish
Anything that isn’t placed in one of the plentiful recycling bins in our resorts and villages ends up in the incinerator down the road in Thonon les Bains. When the temperature drops during the winter season, they add petrol – yes petrol – to the incinerator to help burn the waste. Recycling as much as you possibly can will have a big impact on the energy required to deal with your holiday waste.
5. A few more ideas…
Bring reusable bags with you from home. Then, when you pop to the shops, you won’t need to buy a new set of bags, just for your holiday!
Buying from local shops and visiting the weekly fresh produce market in each resort is a great way to conserve the food miles associated with holiday resorts.
Download a copy of the local bus timetable, or pick up a copy in resort and use the public transport system as much as possible.
It sounds obvious, but we shouldn’t be leaving any litter on the mountain.
Respecting the biodiversity of the ski area and the fragility of our playground will preserve the nature we all love for future generations.
Learn more about the work of Montagne Verte and make a donation to help their important work by visiting montagnevertemorzine.com
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