Winter sports do not have the reputation of being very ecological. Between the ski lifts, the artificial snow, the passage of thousands of skiers but also the high consumption of heating, the mountain can be put to the test.
However, some resorts are determined to reverse the trend by adopting eco-responsible practices. Enough to seduce a public increasingly aware of the preservation of the environment!
Taking action on all fronts
It is a global change that has been undertaken for several years at altitude. And it starts with transporting swarms of tourists! To encourage soft mobility, resorts rely on a dense public transport network, such as in Chamonix (Haute-Savoie) or La Pierre Saint-Martin (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), and even on free shuttles in Valberg (Alpes-Maritimes) and Les Gets (Haute-Savoie).
Les Arcs (Savoie) is also easily accessible by train, thanks to a funicular that connects the station to the TGV station of Bourg-Saint-Maurice.
On site, holidaymakers can choose residences with high environmental quality (HQE), such as those in Avoriaz or Carroz (Haute-Savoie), ecolodges such as those built in La Colmiane (Alpes-Maritimes) or refuges equipped with photovoltaic panels, particularly offered in Chamonix.
Leisure activities have also been updated! The ice rink of La Bresse (Vosges) is HQE certified, the Palais de Megève (Haute-Savoie), which brings together various sports activities, is powered by local hydroelectricity, while the Carroz chairlift is powered by renewable energies.
Similarly, in Serre-Chevalier (Hautes-Alpes) and L'Alpe d'Huez (Isère), snow groomers are hybrid to reduce CO2 emissions, while Chamrousse (Isère) organizes ski equipment recycling operations.
Labels to find your way around
With some 350 ski resorts in France, however, it is not always easy to choose your holiday destination! If you want to favor an eco-responsible stay, labels can guide you.
Since 1993, for example, the international Green Globe label has rewarded the efforts of tourism stakeholders based on some 300 criteria relating to social, economic and environmental issues.
In France, the resorts of Grand Massif (Haute-Savoie), Tignes-Val d'Isère (Savoie) and Serre-Chevalier obtained it.
For its part, the environmental association Mountain Riders has been publishing since 2006 an Eco Guide to mountain resorts to identify good initiatives at altitude.
This approach also led to the creation of a label, the Flocon Vert, in 2011. About twenty criteria make it possible to obtain this sesame, which values destinations with a cutting-edge sustainable development policy.
Nearly fifteen resorts bore this label in 2022, such as Megève, Valberg, Chamrousse, La Pierre Saint-Martin, Les Rousses, Chamonix-Mont Blanc or Morzine-Avoriaz, Les Arcs and Combloux, labeled very recently.
OUR "WINTER SPORTS" DOSSIER
Finally, the National Association of Mayors of Mountain Resorts launched the Sustainable Cimes Trophies in 2016 to reward projects in favor of the environment. In 2022, the four winners were Puy Saint-Vincent, Val Cenis, Val d'Isère and Font-Romeu.
You can find "green" ski resorts on Flocon-vert.org and Greenglobe.com/europe, as well as environmental initiatives in the mountains on Mountain-riders.org.
- Global warming
- Winter sport