Sustainable ski stays: choose eco-responsible ski resorts and trains

How green is your ski valley? (Photo: Getty Images)

Those of us who love nothing more than hitting the slopes will be well aware of the importance of tackling climate change.

After all, if we are to continue enjoying the cold of the winter holidays, we will also have to cool the planet.

Luckily for those looking to boost their sustainability, the Eurostar ski train direct to the French Alps is back.

Canceled last year, it returned in a different format. Skiers will be able to use the service from St Pancras to Moûtiers and Bourg St Maurice by booking a vacation package with accommodation and ski pass via france.travelski.com (from around £ 499 per person).

THE EUROSTAR SKI TRAIN THROUGH THE SNOW OF KENT

The Eurostar ski train is back for the winter season (Photo: Eurostar)

You can go on Friday evening to three of the largest ski areas in France – Tignes-Val d’Isère, Les Arcs-La Plagne and Méribel-Les Menuires in the immense Trois Vallées, and come back on Saturday day a week later.

In the Three Valleys, Courchevel will make the nightlife vibrate by running the cable cars between the villages until 11 p.m., the ski lifts being more ecological than the taxis. While you’re at it, Bootlab helps you repair old skis or boots so you don’t have to buy new ones.

There are many other stations accessible by night train, which not only reduces your carbon footprint, but saves you an extra day on the slopes.

Other options include berths (the Eurostar is seat-only) from Paris to Briançon, for Montgenèvre and Serre Chevalier, and Latour-de-Carol for Andorra. You can also take the NightJet berth from Brussels (and, this winter, Paris) to Austria (for alternatives see snowcarbon.co.uk).

Skiers on the slope of the Austrian Alps

Austria’s SkiWelt has a clever way to make sure its slopes stay snow-covered (Photo: Shutterstock / Boris-B)

One of the largest Austrian ski areas served is SkiWelt, known for its resorts such as Söll and Ellmau, where you can enjoy the typical Austrian après-ski cocktail outdoors followed by a spa and excellent cuisine in affordable hotels.

Although the ski area is not high, its carbon footprint from snowmaking is quite low partly due to the terrain but also the use of hydropower, solar energy – including ski lifts with panels solar – and SnowSat.

The last of these is a GPS system for snow groomers, which means they can measure the depth of the snow beneath them so the station never needs to overdo it.

SkiWelt has teamed up with the neighboring resort of Kitzbühel, where the Hahnenkamm race takes place, to offer a combined package. The routes between the two allow you to make giant loops of the area without having to take the same lift twice (Super Ski Pass from € 187 / £ 158 for three days).

    Link between Grindelwald and the Eiger Glacier ski lift

A new gondola between Grindelwald and the Eiger Glacier is both fast and energy efficient

Ski lifts are not only energy efficient, but have also become much less intrusive to the environment in other ways.

In the Jungfrau ski area in Switzerland, the three-cable system used in the new gondola from Grindelwald to the Eiger Glacier, 6.5 km away, is so stable in strong winds that it can hover above the slopes. trees using just seven pylons, skimming a 47-minute ride to the top of the historic ski area.

This being Switzerland, trains are everywhere (and watch out for a potential new night service from Paris to Zurich). You can even hurtle down the trains as they run parallel to the tracks, themselves serving as ski lifts.

Sunset over Avoriaz from the Antares building with Morzine in the clouds

Conduct? Direction Morzine-Avoriaz (Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto)

If you have to get to the Alps by car, try the charming villages of Morzine-Avoriaz, one of the closest alpine resorts. This season, the estate became the ninth to receive the French Flocon Vert award, for its work in reducing emissions and waste.

Many stations are competing to make their operations more environmentally friendly. The Swiss Zermatt, for example, estimates that the altitude of the solar panels covering its highest restaurants makes them up to 80% more efficient than in the rest of Switzerland.

We can therefore expect to see the first resorts become carbon neutral in the years to come, notably with the Swiss resort of Flims-Laax, which regularly hosts the British freestyle competition and the Silvretta Arena in Austria.

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