Green ski resorts, eco-friendly accommodation & how to ski sustainably with SNO ®
If you love the mountains even half as much as we do, you’ll see they’re something worth fighting for. Responsible tourism’s becoming more important than ever and there are several ways that green-minded skiers and snowboarders can reduce their negative environmental impact on a trip to the slopes.
More and more ski resorts, hotels, chalets, restaurants and shops are making pledges to the planet to provide a cleaner, greener alpine experience - using renewable energy, minimising waste and plenty besides. If you’re keen to ski consciously and make your next ski holiday eco-friendly, read on for the where’s and how’s.
Resorts are steadily tightening their guidelines when it comes to the sustainable building processes and energy-efficiency of new chalets. Many older chalets are being revamped to make them greener too.
Leading the way in the luxury department is Chalet Rock in Verbier, which has a solar and wood pellet powered heating and ventilation system. In La Plagne, Chalet Mont Blanc, Chalet Pierra Menta 1 and Chalet Pierra Menta 2 run on zero-rated biomass heating.
Environmentally friendly measures are being put in place across ski hotels worldwide - all the way from simple initiatives like reusing bath towels to completely offsetting your carbon emissions.
See our eco-friendly ski hotels page for the world’s best green ski hotels – praiseworthy properties that move mountains to make their lodgings Mother Nature-friendly in as many ways as possible.
Car free ski resort in the Grand Massif ski area, which was the world’s first ski area to get Green Globe certification. Runs on renewable energy. Home to an Environmental Observatory that monitors local biodiversity. Replanting takes place in the summer months. Chargers for electric vehicles can be found in Flaine Forum.
Host of the Sustainable Summits Conference. Awarded the Flocon Vert / Green Snowflake label for its excellent commitment to a climate plan. Pledges to reduce energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and increase renewable energy by 20%. Short transfer time to the airport and good public transport.
A certified ISO 14001 resort, Avoriaz is car free to minimise carbon emissions. Buildings are energy efficient from their lighting to their rooves - designed to hold onto snow longer so it can insulate the buildings. New buildings must fit in with HQE standards. Running on biofuel, the resort uses a dual energy wood heating system with electric back up. Snowmobiles run on electric and the Eco STASH snow park is made from recycled fallen trees. You can also find recycling bins all over the ski area.
7 times Golden Eagle Award winner for Overall Environmental Excellence, Aspen’s been working hard to reduce its carbon footprint since 1997. In 2015, this was America’s third city to be powered entirely by renewable energy. The Sundeck Restaurant on the top of Aspen Mountain was one of the world’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings (by the US Green Building Council) and the Clubhouse at the Snowmass Club and Sams Smokehouse soon followed suit.
Holds the Green Globe International Standard for Sustainable Tourism. Plants 5 trees for every 1 cut down. Committed to responsible snow making and reducing the number of pylons in the ski area by 100.
Awarded the Green Globe label in 2018. Aiming to generate hydroelectric (from the water used in snowmaking), wind (from the high passes) and photovoltaic (from the valley sunshine) energy – with plans for this to be completely operational by 2021.
All ski lifts run on renewable energy and there are projects in place to revegetate areas between the pistes. Free buses are provided to minimise the need for cars.
The resort is introducing more EV chargers in its car parks and offers a free shuttle service to reduce personal car use. Piste bashers run on biodegradable fuel and snowmaking is chemical-free, with most of the water fed back into the lake. Piste maps and other materials are made with recycled paper. Tignes is slowly restructuring buildings and ski lifts to make them more efficient.
Holder of the Golden Eagle Award and recognised as one of the world’s top 100 sustainable destinations 3 years running by Green Destinations. Committed to using renewable energy. Park and ride and carpooling benefits to minimise car mileage. Energy efficient lighting.
Car free village and holder of the Energy Town award. 100% powered by renewable energy. Electric buses used for public transport. High pistes and good snow record so less need for artificial snowmaking.
2013’s most sustainable resort and Utah’s first town to ban plastic bags. Plans to be net-zero carbon and run completely on renewable energy by 2032. Solar panels installed at the Mid-Mountain Lodge. Uses renewable energy to power chairlifts and offsets all other energy with wind credits. Free bus program with stops throughout the town to minimise traffic pollution.
An ‘Alpine Pearl’ resort for its sterling efforts in sustainable tourism. Reachable by rail for low-carbon travel. Horse drawn sleighs and free buses. EV charging stations. Photovolatic systems on the Motta and Urdenfürggli chair lifts. Chair lifts regulate speed to save energy depending on the amount of skiers. Committed to using only renewable energy (solar & hydropower). Waste heat from the gondola motors used to warm buildings.
Employs a Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource team who make sure environmental impact is kept to a minimum. Aiming for zero waste and carbon emissions. Several times winner of the ‘Canada’s Greenest Employer Award’.
Runs the Greenstyle sustainability project. Aiming for complete renewable energy and renewable transport. Stations where you can refill water bottles are dotted around area to minimise plastic waste. Recycling points can be found on the mountain and in the valley. Café NoName by the halfpipe has a sustainable menu featuring the carbon footprint of different dishes.
Restaurants and hotels striving for sustainability. Aiming for zero carbon footprint by 2020. Recycling points can be found around the resort.
Host of the World Economic Forum and taking big steps to stay at the forefront of energy efficiency and sustainability. The city aims to be completely energy self-sufficient by 2036. Switzerland is the best country in the world for systematic recycling and Davos was the country’s first city to recycle cigarette waste.
The most sustainable travel methods to reach ski resorts from the UK are:
i) Taking the ski train from St Pancras / Ashford to a resort with (or near) a train station
ii) Driving from home. Particularly if it’s in a hybrid or electric vehicle, but even without a ‘green car’ you’ll use a lot less CO2 than flying.
If you need to travel by aeroplane, direct flights are more efficient (the more times you land and take off, the more fuel used) and it certainly helps the planet if you use an airline where you can offset your carbon footprint (this included British Airways, SWISS and Virgin Atlantic last time we checked). Once you land, see if you can hire or book a transfer in an EV / hybrid or opt for a shared transfer or public transport.
Ethically produced and sustainably sourced ski clothing is becoming easier to find – look for thermals and socks made from organic cotton or bamboo fabric and fleeces and outerwear made from recycled materials (such as plastic bottles or fishing nets). Another economical option is to buy your ski gear second hand.
If you’re purchasing new skis, poles, snowboard, boots or goggles, check out brands that use sustainable materials like responsibly sourced wood or recycled plastics and metals. Make sure your ski or snowboard wax is biodegradable. Bear in mind that the lighter you pack, the lesser your carbon footprint. If you don’t already own your own equipment, hiring is a good way to support local businesses and shrink your carbon footprint further by not adding to your baggage weight.
Besides promoting eco-friendly travel resources like this page, SNO has made great strides towards becoming a more environmentally-friendly business.
SNO waste - each member of the SNO team has a reusable coffee cup, water bottle and shopping bag to cut down on landfill waste.
SNO good - we buy Fair Trade coffee, tea etc wherever possible and support local independent cafes & restaurants.
SNO emissions - 100% of electricity we use is from renewable wind and solar sources.
Our whole team is committed to ‘green commuting’ – either walking, cycling or taking public transport to work.
Our owners have swapped their diesel car for an all-electric vehicle (which is powered by green energy).
SNO paper - we use a paperless booking management system.
We avoid printing unless it’s absolutely necessary – any time we do, it’s strictly double-sided.
|Hotel / chalet||Resort||Green credentials|
|Hotel Sunstar Beausite||Saas-Fee||Offsets carbon emissions, recycles waste, sustainable food|
|Fairmont Chateau Whistler||Whistler||In room recycling, eco lighting & showers, straw free, sustainable cuisine|
|Hotel Le Samovar||Val d’Isere||Uses geothermal energy, natural materials, eco-cleaning products|
|Hotel Belvedere||Grindelwald||Uses hydroelectric power & wood fired heating, excellent recycling & energy saving measures|
|Sunstar Alpine Hotel||Arosa||All carbon emissions offset, Tesla charging, sustainable food|
|Hotlel Trattlerhof||Bad Kleinkirchheim||CO2 neutral, own hydropower station, EV charging, minimal food miles|
|Chalet Rock||Verbier||Wood pellet & solar heating and ventilation|
|Hotel Terra||Jackson Hole||Energy & water saving, built with recycled materials, offsets power usage|
|Sunstar Alpine Hotel||Grindelwald||Offsets carbon emissions, uses a wood-fired heating system, EV charging|
|Chalet Mont Blanc||La Plagne||Runs on zero carbon biomass heating|
We update this list often but facilities can change, so if any specific feature is essential to your trip, make sure you ask us to confirm the details before you book your holiday.