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Eco-Skiing: Planet-Friendly Ways to Hit the Slopes

Family on the side of a snowy hill taking a break from alpine skiing with mountains in background


Many alpine ski resorts are going more and more green, enabling enthusiasts to reduce their impact on the planet while enjoying the winter sport. Here’s some eco-information, as well as money-saving tips:

As detailed on Ski Vermont, the latest Vermont Ski Areas Energy Savings Impact Report from Efficiency Vermont revealed that 13 state ski areas have completed 668 projects since 2000, including “low-energy snowguns, compressed air right-sizing, lift terminal heater controls, thermal shells and many other systems and improvements.” 

Last year, Taos Ski Valley, in New Mexico, treated 245 acres of high mortality spruce and fir trees to help restore the forest ecosystem and diverted 10,287 pounds of waste from landfill to compost, equaling a CO2 reduction of approximately 3.2 megatons. Park City and Deer Valley, in Utah, have partnered with nearby districts to source power from an 80-megawatt solar farm. Vail Resorts, encompassing more than 40 ski areas, continues its EpicPromise program with the goal of zero net emissions, zero waste to landfills and zero operating impact on land and ecosystems by 2030 (Avant Ski).

Skiers at Big Sky Resort, in Montana, can minimize their carbon footprint by offsetting their trip with partner Tradewater, a Chicago company that facilitates lowering greenhouse gas emissions. All of the resort’s lift operations have been running carbon-free since March 2020, and ongoing efficiency projects include upgrading hotel thermostats and increasing the use of solar power.

Wear sustainable brands. Patagonia, The North Face and Cotopaxi are some of the brands that make ski jackets from recycled materials. Also, instead of buying new, consider patching up an old jacket if it has a tear.

Take a pass. Many individual ski resorts and associations offer lift ticket passes. Tips on making the best choice for individual or family needs can be found in SKI Magazine. It’s a popular trend: The National Ski Areas Association reports season passes now make up more than half of all lift ticket sales.

Group together. Gather family and friends in one car. Also, local ski clubs, sporting goods retailers and parks and recreation departments often organize group trips by chartering buses and arranging for discounted lift tickets. Warm-weather ski clubs arrange for flights to ski resorts. Making new friends along the way is a nice bonus.

Leave a clean path. Don’t leave any plastic water or sports drink containers or power bar wrappers on the snow.


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