Skiing does not necessarily rhyme with ecology… But it is possible to enjoy the mountains and the joys of winter sports while thinking about the planet. MAFAMILLEZEN has unearthed some good ideas for going greener in the snow this winter.
During a stay in the mountains for the winter season, the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions remain transport, food and accommodation (respectively 62%, 20% and 5% in the carbon footprint of La Plagne, carried out this fall by the Utopies firm).
- Coming to the mountains: alternatives to the car
- Top tips from ski resorts for carbon-free holidays
- Choose eco-responsible mountain accommodation
- Skiing… on green slope
- Savoring your skiing holidays while eating locally
- And bring back good local products in your suitcases
- Rely on the Flocon Vert label
Coming to the mountains: alternatives to the car
Arriving at your vacation spot in the mountains is not always easy. The Agence Savoie Mont-Blanc (112 resorts in Savoie and Haute-Savoie) has understood this well. It simplifies the life of travelers by allowing them to book all their tickets in one click. The solution Go Savoie Mont Blanc brings together all transport offers to mountain resorts (train, plane, Altibus lines, ski bus, car rental), in a single basket with a single payment. For each itinerary, the calculation of CO2 emissions is indicated in order to allow the traveler to choose this option or not.
Top tips from ski resorts for carbon-free holidays
Once there, many resorts in the Alps are mobilizing by installing electric car charging stationsor by offering free shuttles, for car-free holidays. To Megeve, the Megève ski-bus is equipped with natural gas (CNG), a world first in the resort. On the side of Valley of IsereValbus vehicles run on HVO synthetic biofuel, a first step towards “zero carbon by 2030”.
Other mountain resorts are even creating hitchhiking areas (the Rezo Thumb) as in the Belleville Valleyor even carpooling lines like in the Bozel valley and Courchevel (Covoit’Go). In the chamonix valley, the hosts distribute “guest cards” which give free access to the Chamonix Bus (for the ski areas) as well as to the Mont-Blanc Express, the train which serves the stations between Servoz and Vallorcine. And for an adventure worthy of fairy tales, it’s Avoriaz that you have to go for a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh.
For a unique stay, far from the beaten track, we cross the border, towards the Aosta Valley and the highest municipality in Italy: Chamois. The traditional village is accessible only on foot or by chairlift, in the heart of unspoiled nature, with accommodation for all budgets.
Choose eco-responsible mountain accommodation
Some so-called “integrated” stations have the advantage of simplifying travel (on foot or by lift), such as Avoriaz, La Plagne Aime 2000 or Flaine. The latter was the first mountain station equipped with city gas, the first to bury the electric cables, to receive cable television. In Les Arcs, the village ofBow 1600 benefits from a wood energy boiler room (which reduces CO2 emissions by 1,800 tonnes of CO2 equivalent/year). Almost everywhere, new housing is springing up, hotels, residences… renovations of existing ones or new constructions, all more respectful of the environment. At the heart of the resortAuris-en-Oisansthe brand new Les Ecrins d’Auris residence was designed with an eco-responsible approach.
Some labels also allow you to choose better. At the house of Gîtes de France, “Ecogîtes” certifies High Environmental Quality accommodation, which preserves natural resources and minimizes the negative impacts of tourism on the environment. As to Green Key label, it imposes respect for nature and people. To Chamonixthe Hamlet Albert 1er notably displays this label. On the side of contaminatedthe bed and breakfast Lou Becus has obtained Vaolo certification, awarded by a collaborative platform that puts people at the heart of travel, for travelers concerned about their impact.
And before leaving, we think of our garbage can. In an apartment or in a gite, find out about the sorting instructions. Some accommodations have their own composter and some municipalities have set up collective composters.
Skiing… on green slope
A green avalanche also arrives near the ski areas. Some ski resorts are equipped with smart snow groomers (Valloire, Val Thorens, etc.) or virtuous fuels (Monts Jura, Val d’Isère, etc.) in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the damage. At the Portes du Mont-Blanc, in the event of snowfall, some runs (red and black) are left in powdery snow. In order to optimize energy savings, we also adapt the speed of the installations with regard to the number of visitorsas in Monts Jura where the impact is less than one minute on travel time.
On the ski pass side, it is La Sagets (Les Gets ski and leisure area) which is creating the buzz this winter with its package designed in beech wood. One Reloadable pass which will soon replace all the plastic ski passes in circulation.
Moreover many ski areas recycle passes : Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski, Les Saisies… On the side of Bauges, in Savoie Grand Revard, we make the opposite bet by betting on a package that we want to keep, with a nice visual imagined by the local illustrator, Black Poof.
Savoring your skiing holidays while eating locally
One of the pleasures of the holidays is often found on the plate (and in the glass). Even on vacation, we keep our good habits and put your water bottle and thermos in your suitcase, in order to avoid, once there, buying water bottles or other single-use containers. And mountain water is often of very good quality. To the Menuiresyou can, since this year, bring your own container for chocolates and mulled wines from the welcome drink.
As for restaurants, as for accommodation, we can trust the labels. There is the essential “Master Restaurateur”, which guarantees authentic cuisine with product traceability. The same requirement is found for the label Ecotable (local producers and French products only, with an effort on zero waste). In Les 2 Alpes, the restaurant on the slopes The Devil at Heart displays this new distinction, in particular for its work with the producers of Oisans. the Michelin Guide also underlines this effort with a new green star. This green macaroon salutes The Toî du Monde table in the Val d’Arly. In Haute-Tarentaise, in Tignes, the green star rewards the work of Clément Bouvier, starred chef who offers several addresses, from the gastronomic table to the grocery store café, via the self-service restaurant, in order to savor Savoie for all budgets.
We also appreciate establishments that take care of their waste, those equipped with composters (such as Pepe Nicolas in Val Thorens) or even partners ofEcotriveloas the Plan B in Chamonix. This association collecting bio-waste and used oils by bike of the restaurant.
And bring back good local products in your suitcases
Who says holidays says… memories. Exit the products made in China, we opt for local artisans. In order to be sure to please, we push the door of the producers : sweets, cheeses, drinks (artisanal beers, wine from the slopes, liqueur with mountain herbs…)… There is no shortage of ideas.
And for those who would have found closed doors, several Savoie dairy cooperatives have set up a “SOS Beaufort” distributorto buy your piece of vacuum-packed cheese at any time (to be found in particular in Moûtiers, Aime, Bourg-St-Maurice, Sybelles, etc.)
Some producers push the short circuit to its climax. In Pralognan-la-Vanoise, the goat farm collects Christmas trees for the goats, which gnaw down to the bark. In Valmeinier, the Mont Thabor farm recovers spent grain from the micro-brewery The Gwape (residues from the brewery) to feed them to the pigs with the whey from cheese making (instead of throwing it away).
Rely on the Flocon Vert label
Choosing your destination is not always easy with a well-stocked offer in the various French massifs. More and more mountain resorts are displaying the “Green Flocon”, a pledge of a destination that wishes to act in favor of the planet. Today, 20 ski resorts of all sizes and representing several French massifs are already labeled, and more than 10% of French mountain resorts have started the process. This label is both a distinction and a process of progress. It aims to engage, structure the ecological transition of resorts, and to give a line of conduct to all the political decisions that will be taken. The Flocon Vert is renewable every 3 years.
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