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Environmentally-friendly Skiing in Alpe d'Huez
Ski Green

also see The Environment & Alpe d'Huez: Keeping it Green
 

About making your ski trip more environmentally friendly

An A-Z of eco-friendly mountain practices

Skiing and snowboarding are not, sadly, very environmentally friendly. Flying to the Alps, driving up to a purpose built chalet on the hill side, taking the chairlift through the trees, past the snow cannons to the top of the well groomed piste, strapping on freshly waxed skis and zigzagging down through the trees to the mountain restaurant might be a great way to spend a holiday but it is not, unfortunately, a great way to save the planet. There are a few things we can do to make our sport a little greener though and in some cases they make your holiday more comfortable and sometimes cheaper.
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Alpe d'Huez Environmental Rating

Alpe d'Huez Environmental Rating
Transport Easy access by public transport Ski bus Sustainable Transport Car sharing incentives Corporate car sharingGreen snow clearing
EnergyWood heating Solar powerRenewable energy Eco consumption Green energy sourcesLight pollution
DevelopmentGreen building standards IncentivesTown planning Ski lift management Ski area management ISO 14001
Water Sewage treatmentBiogas recuperation Management of the water resourceRainwater harvesting Eco consumption of water Dry toilets
Waste Recycling collectionWaste disposal siteInformation on recycling collectionComposting Internal Spring cleaning on the slopes
SocialFamiliesSchoolsSeasonaires information point Seasonaires deals Environmental informationAccess for those with disabilities
Land Governance ClimateProtected areas Local agricultureEventsEco-responsible accommodation


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Are snow cannons environmentally friendly?

European resorts have experienced a decrease in precipitation (rainfall) over the past five years which in turn has led to some resorts having to stringently control their water supply in order to conserve supplies. After the unseasonably warm temperatures and lack of early season snow during the winter of 2007, global warming has been at the forefront of winter sports enthusiasts’ minds. To counter this very real climate change, (a 4 degree temperature rise is anticipated by the end of the century) ski resorts are turning to artificial snow manufacture.
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Direct & Indirect Impact of Skiing on the Environment

The huge expansion of ski resorts since the 1970s has, according to environmentalists, had numerous effects on mountain water levels of lakes and streams; damaged mountain wildlife through the destruction of habitat, noise and pollution in addition to affecting annual climate conditions.
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Environmental tips for in resort

Public Transport
Once in resort, make use of the local public transport system which is generally free with your lift pass or guest card, or tailor your choice of accommodation so you don’t have to! However, if you’re not in a location where you can ski to your door or take the bus, try to car share whenever you can.  Shared transfers or buses are kinder to the environment and are often cheaper then taking your own car.  If you’re networking with the right people in resort, you may swing them even cheaper still!

If you fancy getting out of resort, the local train network can get you surprisingly far for amazingly little!  Check out the SNCF (French trains) or SBB (Swiss trains) websites for destinations, timetables and ticket prices.
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Environmentally Friendly Gear & Gadgets

Eco-friendly snowboard wax
When your gliding down the mountain side appreciating your newly serviced boards and skis , the last thing you want to think about is the damage your wax could be doing to the environment.  Many waxes are fluorine based and once in the water system can be damaging to plants and animals. There are however a limited number of manufactures now offering eco friendly waxes.  Magic Potion is one such example made by Apo Snowboards. Alternatively Bio-Glide, is a peppermint-scented, soy-based alternative to paraffin waxes and is available online at www.welovesoy.com.
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Environmentally Friendly Ski Resorts

As environmental awareness grows it is important to recognise the green efforts made by ski resorts in the Alps. Here we have put together a green chart with the help of Mountain-Riders to point out the resorts environmnetal strong points and weak areas.
It may be important as part of the decision process for where to go skiing or it could be just helpful for you to put pressure on resorts to continue there green efforts in other areas.
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Environmentally Friendly Ski Resorts

How green is your valley?

Mountain Riders is a French non-profit organisation who work to inform and raise awareness on environmental  issues and for  the promotion of sustainable development in the mountains.
They have devised an evaluation criteria based on transport, energy, buildings, water, waste, land and social awareness, which is used to establish how green the resort is.
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Environmentally Friendly Skiing

For many of the European Alpine resorts, winter is an important source of income and snow is heavily relied upon for related sports such as skiing, snowboarding, telemarking, hiking and ice-climbing. However, when we drive or fly to our favorite ski resorts, climb on the brand new six-seated chairlift through the trees; toss our cigarette butts in the snow, chuck our orange peel from the chairlift targeting a skier/boarder below; few of us ever really stop to consider the impact the sport is having on the mountain and its eco-system. For example, did you know the following facts:
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How to become a Greener Skier

Whether you’re just in the mountains for a holiday or there all season, if you love the environment you live in it’s often just simple little changes to your daily routine that can make a difference and encourage other people to do the same. We’re not suggesting you sell the car, ditch the deodorant and move into a snow hole, but here are a couple of little ways to help the environment and even your bank balance.
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Local Business & Tour Operator Initiatives

It is not only resorts doing their bit, there are hundreds of businesses that are investing time and money into improving their green credentials and cashing in on the extra customers this attracts. Before you plan your next trip bear this in mind. There are plenty of hotels, transfer companies, airlines, clothes shops and restaurants doing their bit to help you do yours.
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Planning your trip the environmental way!

Choose the right company
Many transfer companies and tour operators offset their carbon emissions and adhere to an AITO recognised environmental policy. If you have a choice, take this into consideration when booking your trip or choosing an employer; or, if you think they might listen, try suggesting some environmental improvements to the boss!
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Resort environmental initiatives to watch out for

Is the resort or business ISO 14001 registered?
Businesses and organisations can apply to become ISO 14001 registered to prove they are adhering to the strict requirements. The ISO 14000 documents are a set of guidelines designed help organisations minimise the negatives effects their activities have on the surrounding environment. The Avoriaz tourist office is one of many businesses awarded with this certification.
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