The climate emergency has never been higher on the agenda than it is today, and skiers are in the forefront when it comes to the key conundrum: rising temperatures mean fast-thawing glaciers and in the long run less snow – bad news for skiers and much more catastrophic for the planet as a whole, BUT flying to the mountains to go skiing is one of the most carbon intensive choices, we make every year.
Governments, corporations and we as individuals continue to avoid facing up to this basic bit of maths, but thanks largely to the efforts of the youngest generation left to deal with what we leave them. The guilt factor for our inaction is being ramped up like never before.
For skiers, the reality is that however “green” and “carbon neutral” our ski resort destination and our in-resort accommodation makes itself (and there are more and more options there), if we’re flying in it does get a little counter-productive to say the least.
The least we can do if we keep flying is carbon offset – an option offered by many ski tour operators, or we can just sign up to a programme direct ourselves. This year BA has announced all its flights in Europe are being carbon offset by the company.
But some tour operators have gone further this winter and are offering discounts and other incentives to those who book holidays with them, and travel to resort by rail. The number doing so is growing fast, but here are some of the first:
Mountain Heaven: 10% discount on Chalet Bookings
“There’s no doubt that climate change is at work in our mountains already, and we just don’t know where it’s all going to lead,” said Nick Williams, owner of Mountain Heaven, who continued,
“There are some things a ski company can do to reduce the environmental impact of ski holidays, but it’s actually air travel that tends to have the biggest impact. No matter what other offer we are running, our customers will now get a 10% discount off the price of their Mountain Heaven catered chalet holiday if they travel to us by train.”
AliKats Mountain Holidays: Vegetarian Ski Holidays by Rail, Free Transfer, 10% Saving
“Since we started AliKats Mountain Holidays in 2011, sustainability has always been core to our operations. This year, we feel a step change is required in order to tackle the climate emergency we are all facing, and we believe business should be the driving force behind that change. So we have put together an Eco Package that rewards our customers for reducing their impact on the environment,” said company co-founder Al Judge.
The company is rewarding skiers arriving by train with a free transfer to their accommodation from either Geneva or Cluses (for comparison, a private return transfer from Geneva Airport with AliKats Mountain Holidays costs approximately £350 per eight-seater minibus).
In Morzine itself, the company has really upped the ante by ensuring its two new chalets, Mélodie and Harmonie, have heating and hot water managed by an air exchange heat pump.
The company is also in the process of ensuring all electricity supplies to their 14 chalets will be 100% renewable by 2020 and the company’s central kitchen is run from a wood pellet boiler (no oil or gas!), while in resort AliKats have invested in an all-electric Renault KANGOO utility vehicle for staff to use.
To take advantage of the company’s Eco Package skiers will also need to agree to a meat-free menu, not just for one night but for their entire stay.
“The United Nations cited the livestock industry as the greatest threat to forests, wildlife and a stable climate. Indeed, globally, livestock releases as many greenhouse gases as all cars, trucks, planes and ships put together. We offer an exquisite vegetarian menu packed with delicious local and seasonal produce; guests won’t miss the meat,” a company spokesperson said.
AliKats Mountain Holidays – alikats.eu
Mountain Heaven – mountainheaven.co.uk
SkiFlightFree – skiflightfree.org
SnowCarbon.co.uk – experts in rail travel to ski resorts
SaveOurSnow.com – directories of the greenest ski resorts, accommodation and gla