How to Be an Eco-Friendly Skier or SnowboarderAs an environmentally conscious organisation, we try our best to look after the environment. Here's a few ways you can too!

Katie Blundell


2 months ago in News

How To Be An Eco-Friendly Snowboarder

Skiers and snowboarders are fortunate enough to enjoy mother nature’s playground in a unique way. It’s only right that we find ways to preserve her beauty and look after the environment for future generations. Ticket To Ride do what they can to help, and here’s how you can too!

For me, winter seasons have been yo-yo-ing from seasons where there is SO much snow that we can barely get out of the house and the mountains have to shut as there’s “too much snow” (not often you hear mountain lovers say that!) Then there are also seasons where it’s like being in Barbados and it’s more about tanning and pool parties. It’s actually pretty scary that it can fluctuate so much!

The eco-friendly movement has really been taking off and I think it’s really good how something so important has become so trendy. Most of us are pretty good when home at “doing our bit” (recycling, diet, reusable coffee cups, carpooling, own shopping bags), but what can skiers and snowboarders do to lessen their carbon footprint? How can we become eco-friendly skiers/ snowboarders? 

Here are some ways us to “go green” when we hit the slopes:

 

Pick a green resort:

Ski resorts, in general, are big carbon emission generators so you can help by choosing a resort that is making an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s ironic as many people go to a ski resort to feel closer to nature, but really these huge purpose-built resorts create a lot of energy. Sometimes picking a more traditional ski resort that is more sensitive to the environment is a greener option. For example, Kaprun in Austria is a beautiful alpine resort developed slowly and gently over time. The Kitzteinhorn lift uses renewable energy, including solar power, to operate its lifts. Trees have also been planted using eco-friendly techniques and there is a sewage pipe system to prevent pollution of the glacier and the mountain. The resort of Villars in Switzerland is now using low-energy snowmaking systems and also using solar panels on their public buildings. Vail Resorts in America (which includes 11 resorts) have an aim that they want to have zero new emissions, zero waster landfill and zero net operating impact to forest and habitats by 2030. Meribel buys in renewable energy for all of its on-mountain operations.  Most ski resorts are now at least doing something to help, so pick one that you feel strongly about their values.

 

Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Look into your accommodation before you book and check their policies on water/ waste and energy management. Or accommodation that has an awareness of sustainability, recycling and per sourcing etc. A building with solar panels on is a good shout for energy efficiency. 

At the Ticket To Ride Mountain Lodge and Chalets, we use as much fair trade, local and free-range stuff as possible and all the waste is composted and recycled. There are lots of eco-friendly hotels/ lodges in the mountains, you’ll be able to find most of them online and read up on them.

Travel 

You can do your bit by travelling to and around the mountain responsibly. Perhaps choose a resort closer to you to reduce your time and emissions by travelling a long time to get to it. Think about HOW you will travel to the mountain? Ticket To Ride try to organise shared transfers wherever possible for guests arrivals. 

Definitely where possible carpool with others, it saves fuel and the environment. When you are in the resort think about how you will get around? Walking is the best choice but not always possible if you’re staying far away from the ski lifts. Use the mountain buses to get around rather than a car. In some resorts, there are also “snow trains” you can use to get to the lift. In many resorts, cars are even banned now and believe it or not, horses and carriages are used! Amazing for the climate and get some pretty decent picturesque photos for Instagram!  Zermatt in Switzerland is a famous resort for this.

Choose Eco-Friendly Clothing And Equipment

When stocking up on your snowboarding/ ski gear, think about buying items from companies that have a green ethos behind them. Clothing wise, Picture Organic Clothing and Apparel are 100% based on this value. Everything from how their outerwear is made, to where its made, what its made of and how its packed is considerate to the environment. They even recycle all of their off-cuts and scraps of material to use as liners to their jackets etc. Nice also as you always get a unique design. All their items are high quality meaning that you only have to buy once. Snowboard wise, a lot of companies are changing the way they produce their snowboards to be safer to the world around us. For example, Mervin made snowboards (Lib Tech, Roxy, GNU) makes sure that all the ink used in the print process are water-based and non-toxic and epoxy resins are low VOC and everything is recycled. Capita Snowboards actually has a factory in Austria that generates zero CO2 emissions and is 100% fed on solar and hydropower. Planks are also taking their eco-friendly status seriously.

Consider Alternatives To Skiing/ Snowboarding

We know you LOVE skiing and snowboarding. However, sometimes it’s good to consider alternatives. Sometimes it nice to do something different anyway, mix things up! For example, a day of cross country skiing means no need to use lifts which uses less energy. Or how about a day split boarding for more of an adrenaline rush? Still, no need for chair lifts as you walk up the mountain yourself! You can actually do this over the whole mountain and then stay in a mountain refuge overnight (100% better for the environment than a hotel!). There’s always Urban/ Street riding???! Finding manmade obstacles in the urban environment and snowboarding on them instead?! No need to use any lifts or energy (apart from yours!).

Recycle equipment

Once you are finished with your ski/ snowboard equipment, sell it on! When you are buying snowboard equipment, buy second hand. Or if something is broken, fix it. Simple things, but really help! You can get really decent gear second hand, then it also saves some money for the important things…..like croissants! 

Servicing Equipment

You will definitely at some point need to service (wax and edge and general MOT) your snowboard equipment. When doing this, use wax that is made in an environmentally friendly way and is safe for the slopes when it rubs onto the snow. An example of a company that does this really well is Beaver Wax. It’s created in Ontario in Canada in a local candle factory. It’s an innovative product that is only produced in small amounts to ensure that the right amount of environmentally friendly additives is consistent and sustainable. 

Be Considerate Of Mother Nature

Just think about your day more…..plan a route around the mountain that will involve the least lifts (better for maximizing riding time too!). Pack a lunch to avoid busy, carbon-emitting mountain restaurants. Use water refill stations and recycling bins on and around the mountain. Don’t litter, if you can’t find a bin just carry it with you until you can. Pack lightly, every kilo counts when you’re travelling. Smoking/ Vaping isn’t the best, but if you do it, you can get these little pots that slip into your pocket to put your cigarette butts in so you don’t need to chuck them on the slopes. In fact, some resorts are even “smoke-free” now like Whistler in Canada. 

What Do Ticket To Ride Do To Help?

Ticket To Ride makes every effort to help the planet. We are conscious of water use, only changing towels on request, we encourage shared transfers up to the resort, we don’t use single-use plastic bottles for shampoo/soaps/ toiletries etc-instead use a big bottle to refill the little ones, we use refillable water bottles, and we work hard with our landlords to ensure that they have efficient energy systems. 

If everyone does even just a tiny little bit, hopefully skiing and snowboarding will be around for years to come and our children, and children’s children (and children’s children’s children) can enjoy the amazing sport and lifestyle just like we have.