2019 was the year of all things green here in Morzine, Les Gets & Avoriaz.
We got ourselves a passionate new environmentally focused community organisation in the form of Montagne Verte Morzine and a raft of new sustainability measures were introduced by operators across the valley. It often felt like we were reporting on new eco initiatives every week! The future looked bright. The future looked green.
Then up pops COVID-19 to challenge the efforts, investments and energies of those at the forefront of this massive change. They’d certainly be forgiven for downing their eco tools in the face of such huge obstacles. I mean, would you continue in your quest to make your business entirely carbon neutral if there was a real chance that said business would go out of business?
Fortunately, for us all, and for the skiers of the future, the answer was yes. Confinement 1.0 followed by a calmer summer season yielded an explosion of sustainability projects and we’re delighted to showcase them on the pages that follow.
The power of the sun
For the very first time in the Haute Savoie, ski lifts will be powered by solar energy. 41m2 of photovoltaic panels have been installed at the Proclou arrival station in Avoriaz. They’re expected to produce 9000kWh per year, all of which will be dedicated to the operation of the ski lift, reducing its regular energy consumption. We’d love to see more of these panels popping up across the Portes du Soleil!
Locafaune – A flora anf Fauna observatory
A further initiative in Avoriaz sees the careful management of biodiversity in the resort. Its aim is to list and monitor plant and animal species, identify sensitive areas within the ski domain and establish action plans to protect the natural environment. Of course the marmot, the chamois, the eagle and the ibex are all synonymous with the mountains and this project aims to protect them for the future.
Citzen of Winter pledge
The entire objective here is to make your own winter holiday more sustainable, so it’s no surprise that Citizen of Winter have joined forces with our own Montagne Verte Morzine. In taking the pledge you’ll discover how to spend time in the mountains with minimal impact, discover organisations that are transforming the winter sports industry and bring sustainable practices into your own life. You’ll choose eight or more objectives for the coming year such as “I will travel to my next snow sports adventure by train” (see page 134 for details), “I will repair my outerwear instead of buying new” or (our favourite), “I will book my holiday with providers who have an environmental policy”.
Sign the pledge at citizenofwinter.com
A more sustainable coffee
What do you get if you combine a love of the mountains with a love for great coffee? The Montagne Verte Morzine takeaway beverage cup by Satellite Coffee and Real Snowboaridng, of course. Funded by both businesses, these cups are available to buy for €15 at Satellite Coffee on the rue du Bourg in Morzine and the full amount is donated to Montagne Verte. They come pre-loaded with one free coffee and you’ll receive a 20c discount each time you use it. At the same time, Satellite Coffee started charging an extra 20c for a paper takeaway cup, donating this to Montagne Verte too. Approximately €1000 in total has been raised from both initiatives so far. Buy yours over the counter this winter.
A sustainable spa
They were the first hotel in our valley to install electric charging points for EVs, they’ve removed all the minibar fridges from their bedrooms and it’s no surprise that Le Dahu continues its eco drive by focusing on their spa this winter. They’ve partnered with Avril, a professional bio product range that includes a wide selection of organic and mineral ecological skincare products. “The Avril range is respectful of our brand values,” Assistant Manager Sophie Heu explains. “We’re delighted to introduce the products to our spa guests this winter.”
Discover more at dahu.com
Green spirit in Avoriaz
The signs of climate change are increasingly obvious in the mountains and with this in mind, Avoriaz lift operator SERMA have introduced a number of developments into their everyday operations. In order to preserve water and reduce the need to manufacture artificial snow, SERMA go to great lengths to protect the natural snow in Avoriaz. Grassed ski slopes for example, are better able to retain natural snow, whilst wooden snow barriers have been installed to help retain snow on the piste in windy conditions. Both of these measures minimise the need to produce new snow and subsequently reduce the resort’s water consumption.
Discover more at avoriaz.com
Les Gets launched its own rigorous water management programme a few years back and the work continues this winter season. Summer earthworks have taken place in various places to make the slopes more gradual and therefore more likely to retain natural snow. The overall mission is to reduce the work of snow groomers and the reliance of artificial snow production. Many areas have also been re-grassed to prevent soil erosion and to better fix the snowpack to the mountain.
Discover more at lesgets.com
Rent don’t buy
Renting rather than buying your ski clothing is one of the simplest things you can do to minimise the impact of your ski holiday on the environment that you love so much. Save money (and baggage allowance) by renting your outerwear in resort. Intersport Morzine offer a rental service for all kinds of handy kit, as do Crevasse Clothing, who encourage you to order online before your trip so they can delivery your kit directly to your accommodation in time for your arrival.
Our local lift operators including Morzine’s Pleney lift company are replacing their fleet of piste bashers with a more environmentally friendly alternative. The new machines run on non-toxic, biodegradable fuel, as opposed to the winter diesel used by traditional piste bashers. But perhaps more impressive is the introduction of Snowsat, a piloting software that brings technology to the art of piste bashing. A GPS installed on each groomer allows its operator to precisely measure the depth of snow on a piste, helping them to redistribute and disperse existing snow, rather than making new stuff.
Le route Terroir
Our local council, Communauté de Communes du Haut Chablais (let’s call it CCHC for short!) published a dedicated and extensive new map showcasing the local growers and makers of our valley, in addition to a click and collect service which saves you from visiting them individually while you’re doing your weekly shop. From locally-reared meats and cheeses to honey makers, fresh fish, milk and more, you really don’t need to stray far from home to fill your basket and save food miles.
Discover more at cc-hautchablais.fr/la-route-terroir-et-savoir-faire