Green Ski Resorts: Good or Bad.

Touch the Green.

pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: keep your pants on in Wales.

The idea of green ski resorts is, historically, a sign that the snow is going and the pistes are starting to resemble the alpine meadows and pastures much loved by summer visitors. No more; it now seems that huge numbers of ski resorts, in all corners of the world, are acutely aware of what climate change could do to their business model and are putting in extreme efforts to save the planet from itself and us.

Ski Resort infrastructure can be quite energy intense. Power supply to gondolas and ski lifts to transport everyone up the mountain. Heating systems to keep guests toastie warm when outside temperatures drop way below freezing. Snow making facilities which involve pumping thousands of litres of water into the air above pistes. And that’s before we start to consider the planes, trains and automobiles that guests use to get to resort, the food miles travelled by anything eaten in a ski resort and the hot water guests use for showering, bathing and, increasingly popular, hot tubs and spas.

From installing solar farms to banning the car, from electric ski buses to supa-dupa insulation and bio-fuel heating system, everything eco- and green is being considered by top ski resorts in the world in an attempt to go carbon neutral. Where previously ski resorts competed to be the biggest or the highest or have the most pistes or the best apres ski, they now compete to be the greenest. Those in the running for this accolade include:

Ski Resorts with ECO Credentials.

Vail Resorts.

The massive ski operator which owns ski resorts including Vail in Colorado; Lake Tahoe, California; Perisher in Australia; and Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, has a mission to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Zermatt.

Has been car free for some time and is working on lowing its CO2 emissions, hence reducing the impact of new piste construction.

Chamonix.

The year round resort at the foot of Mont Blanc has had a sustainability plan in place since 2010 which has protecting the mountain for future enjoyment at its heart. It has been awarded a Flocon Vert for its efforts.

Villars.

This low altitude ski resort, which potentially has much more to lose than higher resorts as a result of climate change, has solar panels on public buildings, hybrid buses and low energy snow-making.

Saas Fee.

All electricity used in Sass Fee is hydro. The resort is pioneering the way for ecological alpine tourism and carbon neutrality.

pop trivia: lyric is from ‘Tom Jones’. ‘The Green, Green Grass of Home’ was written by Curly Putman in 1965 and has been covered by virtually every crooner in the business since then
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