Sustainable travel in the Alps
October 31, 2019
With recent news headlines focussing on global warming and sustainable travel, it is something very much at the forefront of our minds at Flagstone Travel. With a passion for skiing and a large ski portfolio of chalets and hotels we turned our thoughts to what changes are being made in the ski industry.
Sustainability and global warming is of particular relevance to skiing. It is an industry which relies on the weather, snowfall and glacial skiing. This is to enable ourselves and our guests to enjoy and take part in an activity we love.
One option in order to travel more sustainably is to take the train, which is actually very accommodating, with day trains and overnight trains from London St. Pancras to Moutiers and Bourg St. Maurice. It is easy and quick to access many French ski resorts such as Val d’Isère and Méribel via the snow train. We have also found that some guests for winter 2019/20 are choosing to drive out as a family to save on the emissions created by flights.
Working in travel, we realise that the flight aspect and carbon emissions can equate to a large percentage of the negativity associated with sustainable travel. However, what else can be done in order to do the best that we can whilst preserving our ski slopes and glaciers?
Whilst many chalet companies and hotels are making seemingly small changes it is these small changes that will add up and make a difference. If everyone could make some small changes such as removing plastic bottles and recycling, the impact would be vast.
Méribel is a ski resort which emphasises its efforts to be a ‘green resort’ by using reusable energy. Utilising hydroelectric dams from the local area to power its ski lifts and snow cannons. They pump water from the Ariondaz Dam to create snow for the snow cannons and all old ski lifts are recycled.
The radio communication for the piste workers is run on solar energy collected through the summer to ensure that where they can make a difference they do. There is also as with many ski resorts a free bus service provided to help reduce the amount of cars and emissions on the road.
Chalet Baïta is one of our chalets that has a focus on change to aim to be more environmentally responsible. By buying in bulk and primarily local produce they aim to reduce waste and packaging as well as the carbon footprint of the culinary items used in the chalet.
The Chalet Rock in Verbier from the moment it was built took environmentally responsibility into its plan. Using reclaimed wood and geothermal heating there was a huge emphasis on being energy efficient. It utilises a state of the art wood pellet power station, it is one of the first of its kind to power the chalet with renewable resources. There is a solar powered heating and ventilation system that enables the chalet to be environmentally friendly whilst offering the height of luxury.
The Mountain Riders, a French non-profit organisation, are working with ski resorts to promote sustainable developments in the mountains. In Morzine they are devising new ways to improve transport, energy, buildings, water and waste as well as raising environmental awareness to establish a more sustainable resort. This is one of the many resorts that is looking to improve how they run in order to improve their chances of offering skiing with enough snow coverage for years to come.
One new hotel that is set to launch in early 2021 is the Six Senses Residences in Kitzbuhel, they capture the essence of Alpine living, whilst creating luxurious sustainable accommodation in beautiful surroundings.
These ski-in/ski-out chalets and treehouses, are nestled and built into the forest in a way that we have not seen before in the Alps. A plastic free hotel, with glass bottled water, using renewable building materials and aiming to preserve the environment by protecting the land and water, it is the first of its kind. They are employing the local community to build the project. The treehouses are built into the landscape and are energy efficient buildings, they are environmentally friendly and socially responsible. Using electric transport, biodegradable cleaning products and earth labs this will truly be a new innovation which may change the way the ski industry grows.
If you are interested in staying in a resort or chalet that is more environmentally aware or sustainable please do get in touch with one of our specialists who will be happy to chat with you about this. Or have a look at our sustainable travel page.