Can you guess how most people reduce their carbon footprint?
Well, they either walk more often than drive, they use public transport more readily, or they turn off their lights before going out.
But when it comes to holidays, especially ski holidays, carbon footprint is quickly ignored.
After all, you’ve worked all year in prospect of this trip. It’s finally your week to relax in luxury, lose yourself with adventure and create life-long memories.
Wouldn’t it be great to still take that holiday, without undoing the rest of your environmental efforts and without it costing you even more money?
While One Tree At A Time is working hard to reduce the ski industry’s environmental impact, plenty of real options exist to help the planet.
So what can you do to positively affect the environmental impact (and enjoyment) of your ski holiday? (I’m not going to suggest things like only ski touring, because to most of us, that ain’t a holiday.)
Let’s instead focus on 3 easy elements to improve your ski holidays environmental impact.
1 – Travel and Getting to Resort
The first place to start is your travel plans, usually the immediate irreparable downfall of a holiday.
Unfortunately, air travel is pretty much the most environmentally damaging way to travel.
The Airline industry alone guzzles a chilling 5 million barrels of oil, EVERY DAY.
And even more alarmingly, this figure is quickly on the rise, despite our increasing environmental awareness.
For your ski holiday to The Alps, there is a better option.
Taking the ski train has massive benefits just in carbon footprint numbers alone.
A return flight from London to Geneva creates 0.363 tons of CO2 per person.
To put that into perspective the average yearly carbon total per person is 10 tonnes, so flying for your ski holiday is a chunky 3.6% of that.
Train travel can be over 90% more emission efficient for the same journey.
In fact, I lie because it is not the same journey. Arriving at a train station generally requires a shorter transfer of around 20 minutes rather than 2 or more hours, cramming even more efficiency into your journey.
The price is easy on the wallet too. With Vanoise Prestige a transfer to The 3 Valleys from a local train station can save you up to €195 compared to an airport transfer – a neat saving.
And taking the ski train is not even a compromise, there’s a bonus. No expensive baggage fees (which are pricey with all that ski kit).
Eurostar Ski Train baggage allowance for free, per person, is:
- Two medium-size suitcases (85cms maximum length)
- One pair of skis or snowboard
- One piece of hand luggage
2 – Gear make Responsible Equipment Choices
Making responsible equipment choices creates massive benefits for carbon footprint, waste reduction and cost-efficiency.
Helping people to reuse, repurpose and recycle products to considerably extend life cycles is a big focus at One Tree At A Time.
Waste is an immense problem in the ski industry which needs to be tackled head-on.
We’re not just talking about the amount of packaging that comes with new kit (plastic bags, cardboard boxes), but the amount of ski gear that is sat in lofts, cupboards, under beds or discarded.
There’s the environmental cost of creating and delivering fresh products, many of which only get used once a year (or just once…)
If you’re looking for jackets, skis, goggles and anything else then try shopping for things second hand, you’d be surprised at what you can pick up pretty much brand new for a fraction of the original cost.
Try Facebook groups like SkiBay, eBay and Gumtree to pick up bits before you head to the slopes. Or look for shops like The Boot Lab where ski gear is repurposed by One Tree.
Increasing the life of a product is imperative to preserving the planet. Don’t forget that your favourite ski jacket has more life left in it.
A broken zip, a rip or tear is not a reason to replace it.
Find a local garment repair service – usually a dry cleaner offers these sort of services.
Alternatively, keep an eye out for any Fix It events hosted in resorts to get kit specially repaired.
Fast fashion is devastating in almost every way from resources use, to energy demands, to waste. And there’s no hiding from this for your ski kit.
Using your clothing just nine extra months reduces the related carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%.
It’s especially relevant to outerwear which is built almost entirely from synthetic materials for waterproofing and performance benefits.
The BioRegional Development Group explains that energy used (and therefore the CO2 emitted) to create 1 ton of fibre is much higher for synthetics than for natural.
If you do need some fresh kit then take the time to find an environmentally responsible brand. Here’s a selection who are already leading the way and have pledged to do more:
UNTRAKT’s clothing uses recycled face-fabrics, linings, insulation, membranes, and trims. This is all recyclable too – but not easily. They ensure packaging – from the factory to the warehouse, to the customer is plastic-free. Only cardboard boxes and rice straw bags are used, and they even ensure third-party distributors use recycled packaging.
Isobaa uses recycled, reusable, and recyclable packaging for its merino wool clothing. It’s naturally warm, breathable, anti-bacterial and odour resistant. You’ll stay fresh no matter how hard you’re working, and it can be worn for days without needing to be washed.
Less water usage, less energy spent and less time faffing with laundry, means… more time enjoying the great outdoors! The majority of the range is 100% merino, so naturally biodegradable – they’re even willing to bury one and test this.
The Boot Lab
Repair, re-use and recycle has become the mantra for The Boot Lab. A mantra that is growing into so much more. The ski shop started to create a list of areas to focus on as a business and this led to the idea of creating a pledge system, and in turn “One Tree at a Time”.
The idea is to provide the industry with a set of ever adjusting pledges, which drive us to improve our impact on the world. On top of this, The Boot Lab continues to drive change offering events like ‘Fix It’ and bringing repurposed equipment to its stores.
3. Use businesses that care
Of course, we can’t expect to make big differences as individuals, and while we can all do our bit to help there needs to be a change of mentality across the ski industry.
A change that One Tree is working to bring to all businesses, so that beyond travel and equipment choices, there are companies leading the way and offering environmentally-friendly holidays.
One Tree provides a model for businesses in the ski industry to change the way they operate, through the cultivation and sharing of ideas.
We provide solutions that help businesses reduce their impact, from simply changing packaging to full audits of their operations with an environmental focus in mind.
So what companies are committed to reducing their environmental impact?
“As a chalet company, we rely so heavily on our natural environment yet we are guilty of being part of the travel industry which has a large impact on it. We want to lead the way in making a difference to how businesses are run, reduce our negative impact on the environment, educate others on how they can also make changes, and of course plant more trees.”
What Fish & Pips are doing:
- Building a template for other companies to follow
- Reducing food waste
- Reducing plastic consumption
- Reducing energy use
- Sourcing local responsible ingredients
- Cutting out palm oil
- Encouraging train travel.
- Training staff on the pledge
- Raising awareness with guests & suppliers
- Aiming to plant 10,000 Trees
“My name’s Rob Watson, I started teaching skiing in 2001 and have lived and worked in the mountains ever since. I want to help people get the most out of the environments I love, and this means protecting them by making a number of changes to the way I run my business.”
What Alp Tracks are doing:
- Using public transport to commute
- Using uniform from Untrakt (sustainable and recycled materials)
- Extending the life of uniforms
- Offsetting lift emissions – 10 euros per ski day to plant trees
So you can make a difference to your ski holidays environmental impact and at no extra cost. Catch the train, wear second-hand ski gear and use companies supporting change.
The companies in the One Tree Collective have committed to planting a million trees and they’re using their profits to do this. So your holiday remains the same price, you cut out your carbon emissions and a bunch of companies plant a million trees in your name. What’s not to like?!