With global warming melting our snow, what’s to become of the ever-popular winter ski-break? Yes, there are snow machines or dry ski slopes so the sport can never really die out, but isn’t half the beauty of skiing the immense surroundings and spectacular views? There’s nothing quite like getting off of a gondola, zipping up your coat and pulling on your gloves and walking out into the dazzling sunshine on top of a vast mountain range. With the sun warming your face, rolling sheets of perfect white powder and clear blue skies, swishing down the mountain can relax as well as focus the mind. For many, there is no better way to forget any day-to-day pressures. So how can we keep one of the worlds most beautiful natural wonders alive? It seems that some parts of Europe are already thinking ahead…
In the Swiss Alps, the rather special resort of Arosa has developed an eco-friendly scheme that won’t cost our wallet, or the planet. They promise to invest in renewable energy production for every guest who books, all of which must be made through the resorts tourist office at www.swissinfo.ch. “We are providing visitors with added value – instead of a welcome drink, for example, we neutralise their CO2,” explains Director Hans-Kaspar Schwarzenbach. Not only does 70% of the Arosa resort have the advantage of an incredible location, where upon waking, you can simply step out of your front door and onto a slope (reducing travel costs), but it also provides a free bus shuttle to and from the airport, saving on individual travel fumes. Austria too has also followed in Switzerland’s carbon-friendly footprints. The Werfenweng resort (www.werfenweng.at/en) is run entirely by a solar-power faciltiy, making the 260 houses in its vacinity, virtually self-sufficient. Upon arrival, guests are encouraged to hand over their car keys and use the carbon-neutral vehicles, bikes or foot paths to keep their holiday as climate-neutral as possible. The Alpine Pearl Organisation (www.alpine-pearls.com/en.html) is an association of ski resorts which aims to raise awareness and promote environmentally friendly travel, an organisation which Werfenweng and resorts across six other countries are a members.
So, book yourself onto a go-green package to keep fresh snow for years to come, where carbon footprints once left an imprint but you don’t have to.
Photo credit – Lee Coursey