8 of the world's most sustainable ski resorts

Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson

Hitting the slopes this winter? Crank up the eco-credentials of your ski holiday by heading to one of these pioneering resorts.

Hit the slopes sustainably at these pioneering resorts
Hit the slopes sustainably at these pioneering resorts © andyparant.com

Flaine, France

Although not entirely car-free, Flaine is a resort where visitors are encouraged to ditch their cars; there are free shuttles between the resort and nearby Les Carroz, and the two ski lifts which connect Flaine Forum to Flaine Foret operate 24 hours a day.

There are four charging points for electric cars (you'll find them near the entrance to Flaine Forum) and a massive reforestation project drastically reduces the resort's CO2 emissions.

Colourful chalets of pretty Flaine, France
Colourful chalets of pretty Flaine, France © Bouilleur de photo

There are some seriously innovative approaches to litter reduction, too. At events held in the resort, pocket ashtrays are handed out (they're also available at ski lift stations) and in 2022, 2,400 kg of plastic rollers (used on ski lift cables) were recycled, saving 16.8 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Flaine snow report (ski season)

44
67
72
87
86
86
98
84
91
77
89
91
85
76
82
78
49
64
59
41
44
29
9
5
7
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Flaine snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Whistler, Canada

Whistler has always been keen to embrace sustainability, whether it's with its fleet of buses, all of which are powered by natural gasses or its commitment to achieving zero emissions and sending zero waste to landfill by 2030.

Ditching the car is encouraged here: something which is made easier by the creation of the fantastic Valley Trail, a car-free route which connects Whistler's various neighbourhoods, lakes and viewpoints.

Locals are very much at the forefront of these efforts, thanks partly to the brilliant AWARE (Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment) scheme and the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, created to encourage more visitors to explore the resort on two wheels rather than four.

The most impressive achievement? Since 2000, the resort has reduced the amount of food waste sent to landfills by 70%.

Whistler snow report (ski season)

67
86
93
93
93
96
100
98
94
91
86
95
76
83
87
65
53
62
75
60
54
41
36
17
10
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Whistler snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Jackson Hole, USA

Jackson Hole has been 100% wind-powered since 2019, and the resort's planners go all out to ensure the companies have spectacularly low carbon footprints. One example is the Jackson Hole-based Melvin Brewing, one of the few US breweries with B Corp Certification.

Find innovative ways to go green in Jackson Hole, USA
Find innovative ways to go green in Jackson Hole, USA © jacksonhole.com

Additionally, the resort regularly conducts reviews to ensure its businesses adhere to best practices when it comes to sustainability, and resort operators, whether it's Jackson Hole's restaurants or ski companies, must adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to their carbon footprint.

Jackson Hole snow report (ski season)

87
100
96
100
98
100
100
100
100
100
100
98
100
100
98
94
94
89
85
85
73
64
47
54
46
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Jackson Hole snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Crystal Ski* - book your ski break with Crystal Ski and you can count on sustainability initiatives such as recycling staff uniforms, donating ski gear, working with local communities, hosting volunteering projects and a 'Reverse Advent Calendar', which sees staff give to the local food bank.

Solden Tirol, Austria

The pretty resort of Solden has helped reduce vehicle-related emissions in various innovative ways, including through the use of staff shuttles, a service created due to the realisation that if every two workers shared a private car, the result would be between 50 and 80 extra cars on the road every day, rather than the resort's fleet of just 10 shuttle buses.

The resort also relies on green energy to store heat, which is then used to warm the resort's buildings, removing the need for fossil fuels.

Solden snow report (ski season)

100
98
100
100
100
100
100
100
98
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
97
94
94
91
88
76
64
69
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Solden snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Morzine-Avoriaz, France

Morzine takes the issue of environmental protection incredibly seriously, and has conducted extensive studies of ski traffic to work out which areas need a little extra protection.

Recently, markers have been attached to ski lift cables to make them more visible to birds, and visitors will find information panels highlighting the importance of local wildlife throughout the resort, including at Morzine-Avoriaz's new snowshoe track.

Then there are the snowploughs: lean, green mean machines which run on biodegradable GTL fuel. When it comes to artificial snow, hi-tech GPS systems measure the depth of existing snow to ensure that snowmaking, which consumes a huge amount of energy, is only used when required.

Morzine snow report (ski season)

59
65
79
79
85
91
98
91
98
96
94
90
82
87
83
87
81
70
65
62
53
37
15
18
12
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Morzine snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Laax, Switzerland

In December 2023 this Swiss resort launches what might just be the world's coolest ski lift, an on-demand gondola which reduces energy by 50% by moving empty cabins off the tracks temporarily.

Enjoy the view from the top via Laax's energy-efficient gondolas
Enjoy the view from the top via Laax's energy-efficient gondolas © www.flimslaax.com

The resort also goes all out to protect its wildlife habitats and employs a team of rangers to ensure the wildlife in these areas remains undisturbed. It's another resort embracing green transport; there are numerous charging points for electric cars and a shuttle bus powered entirely by hydropower and solar energy.

The resort also plans to slash building-related carbon emissions by relying largely on sustainable materials.

Flims snow report (ski season)

80
71
91
98
98
98
98
98
91
96
98
95
92
95
93
91
84
87
66
71
73
56
61
46
26
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Flims snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Please note: the above guide shows average snow coverage in Flims, a resort close to Laax.

ClubMed*: with a variety of different types of resorts for summer and winter resorts worldwide, ClubMed has a broad range of sustainability policies from using solar power and reducing food waste to cutting single-use plastic completely to eco-certified construction of its properties.

Arosa, Switzerland

Examples of green tech in use at this beautiful ski resort include extensive use of green energy (including the ice battery used at Valsana Hotel and Apartments), and there's a huge focus on sustainable cuisine; the resort's restaurants include a Michelin-starred vegan restaurant, which you'll find at the Tschuggen Grand Hotel.

Anyone who purchases a ski pass gets complimentary use of the resort's public transport, and one of the easiest ways to reach the resort is via a train which relies on hydroelectric power (although there are plenty of charging points for those who arrive by car).

Tourists keen to ramp up the sustainability credentials of their stay can pick up a guide to the resort's sustainable businesses, and almost all of Arosa's businesses source their products, whether it's soap, wine or cheese for that all-important raclette, locally.

Arosa snow report (ski season)

83
69
98
93
85
96
91
100
100
100
96
98
100
100
98
98
98
81
73
78
78
62
49
40
29
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Arosa snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Pierre & Vacances*: offering ski breaks across Europe, Pierre & Vacances promises low-carbon holidays by reducing energy usage, improving energy performance, using renewable energy and raising awareness of eco-friendly activities with both staff and travellers.

Chamrousse, France

A small but perfectly formed resort which was the first to get Flocon Vert certification (awarded to resorts going above and beyond when it comes to sustainability), Chamrousse is regarded as a pioneer in the field of sustainable land management.

It also spends huge amounts of cash on the protection of sensitive areas, whether it's with extensive use of signage to highlight protected areas or projects created to protect species such as the black grouse.

Green energy is used extensively and regular community events, such as the resort's Waste Sortation Awareness Days, help get everyone involved. The best innovation? The collaboration with Trivallee, a company that recycles old skis (look for Trivallee's logo to determine which ski shops have signed up).

Chamrousse snow report (ski season)

39
51
58
63
47
65
87
65
56
75
60
58
67
39
57
41
27
37
32
24
12
10
5
0
7
Nov 3
Nov 4
Dec 1
Dec 2
Dec 3
Dec 4
Jan 1
Jan 2
Jan 3
Jan 4
Jan 5
Feb 1
Feb 2
Feb 3
Feb 4
Mar 1
Mar 2
Mar 3
Mar 4
Apr 1
Apr 2
Apr 3
Apr 4
May 1
May 2

The Chamrousse snow report shows potential for good quality snow for each week of the ski season based on 15 years of historical observations.

Ready to book your next ski break? Browse online offers on wintry getaways from the leading names in ski holidays.

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Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson is a freelance travel writer who loves getting off the beaten path. Specialising in adventure travel, she often covers outdoor activities such as snowboarding, mountain biking and scuba diving. Tamara's work features regularly in newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Independent along with numerous travel websites.

Article updated on Sunday 17th December 2023 in: Adventure Europe North America Skiing & Snowboarding

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