5 Mountain Eco Initiatives That Every Skier Should Know About
You might have read our Top Sustainable Skiing Destinations blog post a while back, where we shared some of the most eco conscious skiing resorts you can visit. Whilst researching these resorts we discovered more about the eco initiatives thriving in various snowy locations across the globe. We discovered innovative ways the ski and snowboarding community have been working together to protect the mountains for future generations to enjoy. Here are their stories. 
Mountain Riders
Mountain Riders is a French group that campaigns for a more sustainable winter sports industry. The group has several initiatives that are attempting to shape a more eco-conscious future for snow tourism. Most famously, Mountain Riders is known for its introduction of the flocon vert (green snowflake) certification. The flocon vert is awarded to resorts with cutting-edge sustainable development policies. The labeling process is incredibly in depth. It takes into consideration the whole operation of a ski resort, from its transport infrastructure to its use of renewable energy. The label is a true honour for any ski resort to receive, and sets a standard of sustainability for all snow tourism to aim towards.
The group has waged a war on waste since its humble beginnings in 2001. Their waste collection scheme has since snowballed into a campaign called ‘Mountain Days’, the coordination of a yearly mountain clear up, lasting 100 days and taking place in more than 100 locations. The scheme is powered by just under 6,000 volunteers and in 2017 they proudly removed 24 tonnes of waste from the mountains. Mountain Riders are also educating the next generation on mountain preservation. They have ensured that sustainable development is on the curriculum in many French primary and secondary schools.

5 Mountain Eco Initiatives That Every Skier Should Know

Image from: ski-planet.com
Save Our Snow 
Save Our Snow is an impartial compiler and publisher of data on what the ski industry and ski resorts are doing to combat climate change, founded in 2004. The initial site started as a place to store information collected by snow sports writer and researcher Patrick Thorne. Over his professional career spanning three decades, Thorne noticed alarming patterns and shifts concerning the effects of climate change on mountainous environments across the globe. Poised in the perfect position to create long-lasting change, Thorne first created the ‘Green Resort Database’, as a way to monitor the actions taken by ski resorts in the fight against climate change. 
Save Our Snow has collated information on over 250 different ski resorts, as well as summaries of academic studies into how climate change will affect the future of the industry. The site is there so that you can make an informed decision when choosing a holiday destination that cares about sustainability. However, Save Our Snow also has another important goal – to defend snow tourism and its efforts to become a more eco conscious industry. The site publicises the continual efforts of ski resorts, against a backdrop where they have often been condemned by the mainstream media for not doing enough. 
5 Mountain Eco Initiatives That Every Skier Should Know
Images from: saveoursnow.com
Geothermal Heating From Water

The Bradrutt’s Palace Hotel located in the heart of the Swiss Alps. It has been known for its superb utilisation of the water from nearby Lake St. Moritz. The Mayekawa heat exchange system was installed in 2006 and provides 80% of the heat needed to warm its halls, suites, and restaurants. The project has resulted in a savings of approximately 475,000 liters of heating oil per year, translating into approximately 1200 tons of CO2 emissions saved. (a cut of 75%)


5 Mountain Eco Initiatives That Every Skier Should Know
Image from: booking.com

Cow Power

This eco initiative is currently taking place in Vermont, USA. In 2012, the states Killington Resort announced that they would be powering their K-1 Express Gondola directly from energy generated by harvesting cow manure on local dairy farms. Cow Power is one of our favourite eco initiatives. It reduces the greenhouse emissions produced by cows, whilst also making use of the renewable resource Vermont has to offer. It also supports local independent businesses in the area and is a great example of an eco conscious relationship between resort and dairy farm.
5 Mountain Eco Initiatives That Every Skier Should Know
Images from: onthesnow.com
Snow Farming 
European ski resorts have been known to ‘snow farm’ during those winters when snowfall is abundant. Snow farming then allows you to store stockpiled snow right through the summer and autumn months so it can be reused again the following season. The snow is hoarded under panels of insulation topped with a strong, water-resistant tarpaulin preserving it through the warmer months. The snow is then used to create cross-country ski trails and pistes which are unable to be covered by snowmaking guns due to their height. Snow farming is a solution to the challenges posed to ski resorts as we begin to experience shifting seasonal temperatures. Primarily though, the process of snow farming helps to cut back on energy that would previously have been used in generating artificial snow. 
Images from: snow-online.com
Images from: snow-online.com


April 22, 2021 — Tim Hall