The World’s Best Eco-Friendly Ski Areas
Most of the biggest ski domains in France (four of the six largest ski regions) are now 100 per cent green-energy friendly, often thanks to locally-sourced hydropower. Les Sybelles, the 3 Valleys, Paradiski and the Grand Massif ski domains are leading the way with Portes du Soleil and Alpe d’Huez/Les 2 Alpes soon to follow suit.
What are the most eco-friendly ski areas in France?
Les Sybelles, one of the world’s most extensive ski areas and the fourth largest in France with more than 300km of slopes, almost 150 runs and 70 ski lifts inter-connecting six ski resorts in the Maurienne area is the newest to announce that all of its electricity requirements will be met by 100% renewable energy sources.
From this winter, Les Sybelles will receive 100% guaranteed renewable electricity from local hydro-electric stations, as well as solar and wind power source, for all the ski lifts, snowmaking process and other operations thanks to a partnership with French energy giant EDF.
The Three Valleys Lift Company operates lifts in the world’s most extensive ski area the 3 Valleys including the ski resorts of world-famous Courchevel, Meribel, Les Menuires and Val Thorens. The company has been using 100% green electricity for more than a decade now.
Paradiski the third most eco-friendly ski area since 2012
France’s third-greatest ski area, Paradiski, combining the skiing of Les Arcs and La Plagne and over 400kms of pistes, has been using 100% renewable energy to power its ski lift system and additional electrical needs since 2012. And last but not least, the five ski resorts that make up the Grand Massif ski region (Flaine, Samoens, Morillon, Les Carroz and Sixt), the country’s sixth most extensive ski area, have also been 100% green energy powered since 2016.
Can ski resorts be totally eco-friendly?
We tend to think that because man built ski lifts on a once, free-of-all, mountain, it is necessarily damaging to the environment. We can observe today that most of these fears are unfounded as explained above. Now Mountain populations have always had to live as energy-efficiently as possible so that they can afford to stay warm. Heating a well-insulated ski hotel on a mountain, for example, tends to produce smaller CO2 emissions than cooling an energy-inefficient hotel by the beach with air-conditioning. Also once on-site, the carbon footprint is extremely low for the whole week as skiers tend to walk to most parts. Most of today’s ski resorts are heavily pedestrianised and most of us walk to the snow front and back, stopping on the way at our favourite restaurant. An example of that carbon-footprint trend in ski resorts can be seen in the USA. All the ski American resorts have promised to have a zero carbon footprint by 2030.
French ski resorts are ideal when you take the train
Another good way to reduce your carbon footprint is to take the train instead of the plane. With over 100kg per person in carbon footprint when you take the plane compared to 30kg if taking the train, from the UK to Geneva, it does make sense. French ski resorts are easily reached from the different train stations with direct connections from Paris (or even London with the ski train). The most popular train station in Bourg-Saint-Maurice (where the ski train from the UK arrives) connects you quickly to the resorts of Les Arcs, La Plagne and the 3 Valleys. And sometimes you will be surprised to learn that time to get from A to B, is not necessarily longer than when you take the plane.