The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Ski Resorts

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The skier’s delight rarely falls in the realm of green renewable eco-friendly holidays, but many resorts are trying to change that image. Some resorts are increasing their recycling, while others are working to have a less strenuous impact on Mother Nature. This means eco-friendly, sustainable and an awareness of how to use natural resources efficiently and responsibly. One way of becoming eco aware is to manage the carbon footprint that we leave behind as individuals, companies and corporations. Ski resorts are not exempt from this responsibility to mother earth and all that she offers. Evaluating a resort’s responsibility to the environment looks at ISO14001 approval, recycling, green power usage, traffic reduction, sewage management, climate policy and green building policy.

Aspen, Colorado

Leave it to the hippies in Colorado to lead the ski and winter industry into the green revolution with their pioneering ideas. The Aspen Skiing Company was the one of the first to announce new policies to protect the climate and environment. They didn’t just take on the slopes but the whole winter tourism industry. They are using biodiesel fuel for snow grooming machines and are also using 100 percent wind power as a sustainable source of energy. This is the resort leading the way in sustainable skiing holidays.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

One of the last family owned resorts in the United States, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming is doing their part to become more eco-friendly and sustainable. After the 2006 resolution by the mayor, Jackson Hole has focused on reducing greenhouse gas emission and becoming more sustainable. The Chamber of Commerce and the businesses in Jackson Hole have partnered with the RRR Business Leaders Program to work towards a goal of a healthy, sustainable economic growth and development for the whole area. The citizens participate in the program through the Jackson community recycling, Sustain Jackson Hole, Teton Sustainability Project, the Uncommon Sense Program, and the Lower Valley Energy cooperative. They have invested in upgrading the facilities at the resort including converting energy resources to 100 percent renewable energy credits and recycling at least a third of all its trash. Jackson Hole is one of the only resorts in the world that is 100 percent wind powered. This takes the resort off the grid and makes them completely sustainable.

Kaprun, Austria

They have been skiing in the Alps longer than the United States has been a country and that means that non-sustainable practices have drained the resources. The survival and beauty of the Alps depends on the development and incorporation of sustainable practices and resources. At ski resorts, one of the biggest drains on energy sources is the ski lift. Just think of the energy needed to carry all those many skiers up the mountain every day, on their winter Group ski holidays. Kaprun in Austria led the way in becoming the first ISO-Certified lift company. They operate the Kitzsteinhorn lift and improve efficiency, safety, and quality at the resort all around. Furthermore the lift is connected to a sewage pipe, which removes waste from the mountain and converts energy for use in other places. These improvements, along with membership in the Alpine Convention, ensure that Kaprun is opening new doors to sustainability in Austria and Europe.

Avoriaz, France

When designing the ski resort the builders of Avoriaz, France created an eco-friendly resort that focuses on reduced carbon emissions, and full scale recycling efforts. Cars are not allowed in the resort thus reducing emissions even more. The resort uses biofuel converted from old cooking oil and reduces pollution through other conversions. The ski chalets are environmentally friendly and sustainable. The resort even built the roofs to hold more snow, in order to use the extra pack as insulation that will increase indoor temperatures naturally. The beautiful escape in the Alps focuses on comfort as well as the environment and it certainly shows.

Bolton Valley, Vermont

They did it in Colorado and Wyoming, so why not Vermont. At Bolton Valley, Vermont the ski resort started the wind revolution of sustainable energy. The first ski area in Vermont, Bolton Valley has been using wind energy since 2009. Moreover most of the restaurants in the area are converting to locally grown and harvested foods. This supports the local communities and reinforces a strong environmental focus for the area. The ski resort uses only recycled trash bags from a local company and composts all organic trash for the creation of making topsoil to be used in the community.

All of these measures focus on the mantra of every environmental lobbyist; recycle, reuse, and reduce. With a little attention, you too can support a stronger environment even while enjoying your ski holiday.

Article by R. Hoyal, appearing courtesy 2GreenEnergy.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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