Despite the Covid crisis, ski resorts are still taking steps to improve their sustainability.
Alexandre Maulin, president of Domaines Skiables de France (DSF), said at their annual conference:
“We are ensuring we cover the quantifiable and quantifiable, so we can’t be accused of ‘greenwashing”
The carbon footprint of a ski holiday is determined more by transport (60%) and accommodation (35%) than ski lifts (2%), but this is what DSF can affect and are focussing on.
More efficient snow grooming
As 95% of the footprint is generated by grooming, the focus will be on supporting the manufacture of hydrogen piste bashers, with the goal of being carbon neutral by 2037.
Drivers will be trained to drive more efficiently and consume less. Lifts speed may be reduced with low skier levels or even be closed outside of high season.
Reduced water use
Water management will also be an essential part of the DSF environmental strategy, especially in respect of artificial snow. Snow will be measured more precisely to optimize the volumes of new snow to be produced.
On biodiversity, each operator must have made an inventory of the fauna, flora and natural spaces within five years.
At the same time, all cables likely to be a danger to large birds such as black grouse (in the Alps) or capercaillie (in the Pyrenees) will be equipped with warning signs.
More Clean Up Days
In respect of waste, all resorts have to commit to at least one collection operation each year and to invest in education programmes for skiers.
“In spring, you can find up to 30,000 cigarette butts under a chairlift with 10 pylons. One single cigarette butt can pollute 1m3 of snow and 500l of water” say the DSF.
A final part of the plan is to preserve the visual landscape, with a commitment to dismantle and remove abandoned lifts, then revegetate the land with endemic seeds.