Sustainable Ski Resorts
We’ve partnered with Patrick Thorne, founder of SaveOurSnow.com, to put together a list of some of the ski resorts that are working hard to fight climate change. We’ve tried to clearly state exactly what each resort is doing to minimise their environmental impact. It’s no secret that going on a skiing holiday can have a big impact on your carbon footprint, but many resorts are making an effort to be more eco-conscious. There is an ever-growing number of ski areas around the world getting all of their energy from renewable sources, some initiatives include on-site solar, wind and hydro power plants. Take a look at our recommended low-carbon ski resorts for your next ski holiday. We can also help you with sustainable accommodation and train travel options too.
- Car-free ski resorts
- 100% green energy powered
- Micro-wind turbines
- Solar panels
- Dual-energy wood and electricity heating plant
St. Anton is self-sufficient in the supply of green electricity since 2006 thanks to the Kartell energy plant which was developed in 2005. The Kartell Lake reservoir holds around eight million cubic metres of water and supplies about 33 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, much more than the resort’s needs. The entire production from the Kartell Reservoir is stored by use of the existing Rosanna power plant.
As one of the only car-free resorts in France, Avoriaz is ISO 14001 environmental management certified and the winner of the 2014 award for ‘The Most Innovative Resort For Sustainable Development’. Initiatives include a dual-energy wood and electricity heating plant that supplies a number of holiday residences with heating and hot water, and a wood-pellet fired boiler that provides an output of 2,000kW.
The ski resorts in the Grand Massif ski area (Flaine, Samoens and Les Carroz) have been 100% green energy powered since 2016. In 2012 all five resorts earned AlpEnergies100 certification for their long-term commitment to reduce CO2 emissions and for committing to exclusively using renewable energy sources (hydro, wind, and solar power). They are also Green Globe certified.
The Alta Badia ski area has a wide range of initiatives to fight climate change. Since 2004 the heat generated from cooling the ice skating dome has been used to heat the nearby buildings. Since 2002 a hydroelectric power generator in the valley has been generating about 500.000 kW per year. In the village of La Villa a communal heating system powered by wood chips reaches over 300 users.
Serre Chevalier Vallée, one of the few ski resorts with Green Globe certification, believes it is the first ski resort to produce its own electricity combining three types of renewable energy: hydroelectricity through the snow-making network, photovoltaics with over 1400 solar panels, some of which were designed in Serre Chevalier, and micro-wind turbines with two wind turbines.
The Kitzsteinhorm Lift company was the first in Austria to sign up to multiple international environmental standards including 14001 and the new energy management ISO 50001. Initiatives include 24 m² of solar panels on the roof of the Alpincenter, which store the heat from the sun on the glacier and supply hot water to the Kitzsteinhorn’s restaurants, along with using 100% green hydro energy.
Being located in Tirol, all electricity used in Sölden ski resort is renewably sourced. During the night, green electricity is used to bring up the heating storage devices to a temperature of 630°C. This heat is then gradually provided to the village’s buildings the following day, removing any need for fossil fuels or waste. A free ski bus runs every nine minutes within Sölden and the neighbouring villages, meaning an enormous reduction in traffic.
Laax is committed to implementing an initiative it calls Greenstyle. It is 100% hydro-powered and generates solar on site, which covers 30% of its power needs. There are plans to generate even more green energy from wind power on its Vorab glacier. Already 100% of the energy required by the Swiss ski area comes from various CO2-neutral sources and there is a network of charging stations for electric cars and bikes.
In March 2016, Geilo received the label for Sustainable Travel Destination, one of the first destinations to receive this quality mark for destinations in Norway based on a destination’s ability to sustainably operate and develop. 100% hydro electric powered and accessible by one of Europe’s lowest CO2 rail networks, Geilo has a wide-ranging action plan to help the fight against climate change.
Davos became the first ski resort to be officially awarded the Energiestadt (energy town) in 2001, thanks to a number of sustainable initiatives that it has in place. There are 60 solar thermal systems that produce 820,000 kWh – enough to meet most of the resort’s hot water needs through solar water-heating. There is also a biogas plant that generates a further 200,000 kWh of power.
A long time campaigner on the environment, Whistler ski resort’s stated environmental mission is “zero waste, zero carbon, zero net emissions.” In 2010, a micro-hydro renewable energy plant situated in the middle of Whistler Blackcomb underneath PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola began production, returning to the grid the equivalent of Whistler Blackcomb’s annual energy demand.
In the Tirol, Ischgl’s primary lift operators have been striving to become carbon neutral for the past few years. Since 2021 Silvrettaseilbahn AG has been operating all its facilities, including mountain restaurants and snow systems with 100% green electricity. Recently receiving a green electricity certificate, declaring Ischgl in Austria the largest climate-neutral ski resort in the Alps.
Inspiration for Low-Carbon Ski Holidays
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