I am a Citizen of Winter.
I live my life from season to season, often winter to winter.
Life changes very quickly beyond recognition in the mountains.
For those living here year-round it means changing jobs and weather. For a lot of us seasons means moving from place to place.
Living somewhere for only 6 months seems fleeting, local life and issues that are usually important to us can slip out of our lives.
But what we must understand is that we are part of a community, part of the daily fabric of villages and towns we take over for a few months.
While One Tree at a Time is helping businesses pledge to improve, I thought we, as seasonaires, should think about our own lives, to become better citizens of winter.
We should be a part of improving communities, environments and mountain life even if we only live in that place for the winter. “It’s really easy to come out here, do a season, and leave without ever really caring because well, it’s only temporary.” Explains local Solene Magnan
“We see a lot of people who behave here in ways they never would at home, without even realising it, be it attitude towards the opposite sex, respect of elders, respect of foreigners, consumption awareness, recycling as well as waste management.” She continues
So how can you go about becoming a better citizen of winter?
Becoming a Citizen of Winter
- Get Outside – You’re here for one real reason, skiing and snowboarding. Put your phone away, heck leave it at home. Go and enjoy the outdoors. There’s mountains, trees, snow, scenery, sunsets, friends and adventure.
- Drink the Tap Water – Go the whole season without buying a single plastic bottle. You don’t need to buy a bottle of Evian, it flows out of the tap. Reduce your plastic and drink tastier, ice-cold water. It’s a win-win.
- Donate Excess Food – Chalet hosts, give your excess chalet food to friends instead of throwing it in the bin. You’ll take another step to a more eco-friendly life plus bar staff, ski techs, drivers, and instructors don’t get food with their jobs. Resort life is expensive, they’ll happily take a chalet cake or home-cooked meal off your hands.
- Take the Bus – Reduce your pollution and carbon footprint. All ski resorts have regular free ski busses. Put the car keys down and use the awesome public transport available. Or even better commute on a ski lift? That’s literally the dream!
- Fix It – Live more sustainably and reduce how much ski kit you buy. Most of us have got too much anyway, don’t buy more simply fix what you already have. Stitch up holes in gloves and outerwear, and have your skis serviced (with eco-friendly wax.) If you do need some new kit, reduce your impact without compromising on quality at One Sleeve at a Time.
- Respect – You’re only here for a short period of time but you’re integral to the local community and businesses. Bars, shops, chalets, and restaurants are run by local independent people who put their heart and soul into their businesses. Be respectful and friendly, you’ll be welcomed with open arms.
- Give Punters a Break (Even Jerry) – Essentially, punters pay your wages. We can all laugh at some of the RIDICULOUS stuff that goes on in a ski resort but they have just as much right to be on the slopes, dance on apres tables and wear retro onesies. Although, jeans with ski boots is not ok.
- Don’t Ski in Jeans – It’s just not practical…
- Recycle – It’s easy to let morals slip or detach from your usual habits especially when living in small busy accommodation. Don’t forget simple things like recycling. It’s super easy in places like France, use the dedicated glass and packaging bins. Reduce, reuse, recycle is not just a sustainability motto, it will help to give you more space in your accommodation and workplace.
- Don’t litter – What goes up, must come down. Anything you drop on a mountain ends up in the snow and then into the rivers and lakes flowing into the valley. In some towns and cities, it seems ‘acceptable’ to stub cigarette butts out on the floor. It’s not ok in the mountains, find an ashtray or grab a pocket one.
- Drink Responsibly and Wear a Jacket – Sorry to be a nag but apart from becoming a public nuisance when drunk, the dangers of a harsh environment may be new. Falling asleep in the snow is not a laughing matter, it’s life or death in freezing temperatures. And a note from your mum, ‘It’s cold outside, wear a jacket.’
- Get a Seasonaire Ski Lesson – It’ll be the cheapest ski lesson you ever have. The better at skiing you become the more fun it is. Trust me, I’m the best skier on this mountain.
- Ecosia – Plant trees with every search on Ecosia search engine. Planting trees is pretty cool, hence ‘One Tree at a Time’, you can do your bit for the planet by using Ecosia to plant trees while browsing the web.
Is Being a Seasonaire a Sustainable and Eco-friendly Lifestyle?
Hell yeah, living in a ski resort for 6 months is an instant way to change the way you live your life. It pulls you out of your normal world, plunging you into a bubble of mountain life. You suddenly have to pack a case of items that are essential to your life. For most, the video games, high heels and Amazon Prime subscriptions don’t make the cut. Instead it’s replaced by hardy winter boots, functional outerwear and a more simple life.
Most of us on our first seasons start to see a different way of life, one removed from our usual home comforts. Home wifi, sky boxes, tumble dryers, cars, food delivery, next day delivery, makeup, exotic fruit, double beds and down pillows become a luxury rather than an everyday necessity.
Mountain life quickly takes away the modern comforts of life reducing your impact on the world. We live in small communities where not everything is available at the click of a button.
Along with removing those ‘basic’ things, the remote location of mountain villages also helps to slow down often addictive consumerism trends. You certainly can’t buy a new outfit for every night out, even makeup becomes a rarity in busy winter.
For me, living as a seasonaire gives me a certain freedom when moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Packing up and moving every 6 months certainly makes you choose what’s important and how much stuff you really need. I happily walk to the shops, take the bus and make clothes last longer. I don’t need the latest game consoles, 40 inch tv’s and next day delivery that I’d almost certainly have in my life in a different scenario.
To find out more about your lifestyle use this Carbon Footprint Calculator to see what effect your choices have on the world. https://footprint.wwf.org.uk/#/results/breakdown/food