We are becoming more mindful that if we want to enjoy the mountains in the future, we must also preserve them. For several, this means attempting to find a more environmentally friendly way to enjoy a ski vacation. Skiing is going green in the French Alps and skiers are asking is Europe the best place to ski?
It may seem impossible to make your trip as environmentally friendly as possible. Still, with so many resorts in France now introducing eco-initiatives and schemes, skiing greener has never been more accessible. French resorts are firmly staking their claim as destinations for climate-conscious skiers, from using electric piste groomers to generating renewable energy. Just wait, there’s more! There are some fantastic projects taking place this winter in the French Alps.
Green snowflake – Flocon Vert
The highly coveted “Flocon Vert” mark from France is a crucial indicator of resorts’ creative and sustainable development efforts. It’s not easy to get, though; only the most dedicated resorts will win the mark, thanks to a stringent selection process. Chatel, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, Megeve, Chamrousse, Les Rousses, Valberg, and La Pierre Saint-Martin are only a few of them.
At least 48 ski lift companies in French ski resorts have pledged to use only renewable energy sources (hydroelectricity, wind power, and photovoltaics), even though it means paying more to achieve sustainability targets.
Green globe mark
The Green Globe is a globally recognised mark that recognizes tourism companies for their activities in social, economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability. Le Grand Massif, Tignes, and Val d’Isere are all Green-Globe accredited ski areas in France.
Reducing lifts ‘electricity usage
Ski resorts in France are showing remarkable creativity in lowering the energy usage of their lifts. They’ve introduced IT platforms in Val Cenis that track lift activity in real-time and advise drivers to slow down when demand is insufficient. Many French resorts have introduced similar systems, as reducing the speed of a lift will save up to 30% in energy throughout the season.
Although we can’t always see them in the winter (no matter how hard we try), ski areas are home to a diverse range of plants and animals. The French term be part of the mountain initiative, aims to inform the public about how off-piste activity can negatively affect these fragile habitats and foster a more respectful relationship between tourists and the environment.
Also, mountain cuisine in France is going green. Chefs and restaurants all over the Alps are committing to more creative, more sustainable cooking methods, focusing on organic, seasonal ingredients and environmentally friendly production methods.
Lovers of fine dining should pay a visit to one of the six restaurants in the Alps awarded a green macaron, which is granted to those who demonstrate a superior approach to sustainable cuisine.
Werfenweng in Austria
A carbon-neutral winter vacation can seem contradictory, but Werfenweng, Austria, is a shining example of a sustainable snow industry. Werfenweng appears to be one of those charming mountain towns familiar to everyone who has visited the European Alps. There are only a couple of hundred properties dotted around the foot of an immense valley, dwarfed by snow-covered mountains, located in the heart of Austria’s Tennengebirge range, about 45km from Salzburg.
In the bright sunlight, you will be greeted by a swarm of paragliders sweeping down into a snowy meadow. You can see a dozen or more gliders catching the thermals as you look up to a cerulean sky more than 2,000m above. Werfenweng is an intimate, family-oriented skiing and snowboarding area in addition to being a near-perfect venue for paragliding. Few people are surprised to learn that Werfenweng’s primary industry is tourism. In specific ways, it seems to be completely ordinary.