The growing impact of climate change has potential consequences for winter snowsports. But rather than dwell too long on the unthinkable prospect of a snow-free future, we think it’s important to act today. The Ski Independence team are proud supporters of Protect Our Winters UK, partnering with them to help mobilise the snowsports world in the fight against climate change. After all, it takes a whole community of passionate climate heroes to meet a global challenge of this scale. We can all take positive action to protect our winters. And supporting ski hotels and resorts that show a commitment to sustainable tourism and eco-friendly practices is a great place to start. Take a look at some of the eco-friendly resorts and hotels leading the way when it comes to positive climate action:

Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts’ portfolio of world-class resorts include Vail, Breckenridge & Beaver Creek in Colorado, as well as Canadian big hitter Whistler, have publicly committed to an ambitious set of sustainability goals, otherwise known as their EpicPromise. [caption id="attachment_10894" align="aligncenter" width="600"]ski resorts go green Beaver Creek, Colorado (image: Jack Affleck)[/caption] The EpicPromise sets its sights on achieving a zero footprint. That means zero net emissions, zero waste to landfill and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat – all by 2030. They’re working towards their goal through a wide range of actions from sponsored employee volunteering to investment in carbon offset programmes, 100% renewable energy and environmental stewardships. [caption id="attachment_10895" align="aligncenter" width="600"]ski resorts go green Views from Whistler's PEAK2PEAK Gondola (image: Toshi Kawano)[/caption]

The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler

This spectacular 5-star hotel in the heart of Whistler village takes care of guests every need – including the desire for positive environmental action. [caption id="attachment_10878" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Ski Resorts Go Green The Westin Whistler Resort & Spa[/caption] In their quest to become the most eco-friendly hotel in Whistler, The Westin Resort & Spa run a successful Make a Green Choice programme, allowing guests to enjoy reward vouchers in return for making eco-conscious choices. For example, just one night declining a full housekeeping service adds up to huge savings of water, electricity and natural gas. And that’s not all. The hotel has heavily invested in a number of energy-efficient systems from a hybrid guest shuttle to a cutting-edge Energex heating and cooling system, which uses infra-red sensors in rooms to detect when guests are present.

The Hilton Whistler Resort

Also vying for the title of the greenest hotel in Whistler is the luxurious 4-star Hilton Whistler Resort. Their recent renovation upgrades included a wave of eco-friendly investments, including energy-efficient lightbulbs, economy flush units in all toilets, eco showerheads, biodegradable take-out packaging and the fastest electric vehicle charging station on the market: the powerful evCharger CS-90. [caption id="attachment_10879" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Ski Resorts Go Green The Hilton Whistler Resort[/caption] Their initiative of asking guests when they would like their sheets and towels to be replaced, saves over 12 million gallons of fresh water every year. Which just goes to show how keen us skiers are to do our bit for the planet when given the option.

Moose Hotel & Suites, Banff

Heading over to the stunning Canadian resort of Banff, the eco credentials of the elegant 4-star Moose Hotel & Suites certainly deserve a mention. [caption id="attachment_10881" align="aligncenter" width="499"]Ski Resorts Go Green Reclaimed wood interiors at the Moose Hotel & Suites in Banff[/caption] Rooms are provided with LED lightbulbs, ultra-high efficiency toilets, recycled paper products, recycling bins and natural Rocky Mountain Soap. Beautiful reclaimed wood has been used to create many of the hotel’s charming rustic features and you’ll find not one but two Tesla charging parking stalls on hand for electric car drivers.

Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Residences, Sun Peaks

We know most guests are thrilled to get the chance to make green choices when staying in a ski hotel, but a little extra incentive never hurts! [caption id="attachment_10901" align="aligncenter" width="499"]ski resorts go green Benefit from the Eco-stay discount at the Sun Peaks Grand[/caption] The exclusive Sun Peaks Grand Hotel in British Columbia’s popular Sun Peaks resort likes to reward green guests with a generous eco-stay discount. Simply opt for every 2nd day housekeeping and you’ll receive a 5% discount on your stay in this full service 4-star accommodation.

Hotel Terra, Jackson Hole

Wyoming’s unique must-ski destination, Jackson Hole, is home to the boutique Hotel Terra, shortlisted as one of the World’s Best Green Hotels in the 2018 Ski Awards. Why not soak up those big mountain views from a luxurious base that goes the extra mile on its environmental responsibilities? [caption id="attachment_10883" align="aligncenter" width="499"]Ski Resorts Go Green Hotel Terra, one of the World’s Best Green Hotels[/caption] From 100% recycled roof shingles, made from recycled tyres and other landfill materials, to sleek recycled glass bathroom countertops, 4-star Hotel Terra truly embraces sustainable design. All power is generated using renewable energy technology and guests are treated to aluminium water bottles, pure mountain air circulating around their rooms and cosy organic robes.

Hotel Altapura, Val Thorens

It’s not just North American hotels and resorts who are taking bold climate action, Europe is also embracing the challenge head-on. And one of our favourite 5-star French hotels is among the most inspirational. [caption id="attachment_10884" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Ski Resorts Go Green Photovoltaic walls on the exterior of the Hotel Altapura[/caption] The striking ski-in/ski-out Hotel Altapura showcases some of the latest contemporary eco-architecture, such as integrated photovoltaic wall systems that produce energy from both sunlight and artificial light, energy-efficient indoor climate control, and state-of-the-art solar panels.

Tignes, France

[caption id="attachment_10885" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Ski Resorts Go Green Tignes, one of Europe's most snow-sure resorts[/caption] This high-altitude French resort is fighting to retain its snowsure status by leading the way in sustainable tourism. Tignes is the first ski area in the world to receive the Green Globe certification for its commitment to making positive environmental contributions. Actions taken to comply with the award’s 40 strict criteria included yearly grass-planting to boost biodiversity, a fleet of environmentally-friendly buses, removing over 100 ski lift pylons and supporting local business infrastructure.

Hotel Le Refuge des Aiglons, Chamonix

What could be more welcome after a long day on the pistes than soaking in a warm swimming pool with soaring views of majestic Mont Blanc? We think a soak in a pool heated by a sustainable Nordic wood pellet boiler is even better. And that’s what you’ll find at 4-star Hotel Le Refuge des Aiglons, where they are determined to help preserve their breathtaking surroundings. [caption id="attachment_10886" align="aligncenter" width="499"]Ski Resorts Go Green Big skies at Le Refuge des Aiglons[/caption] We love that green ski resorts and hotels are joining the movement to reduce their environmental impact. By championing these moves towards sustainable tourism, we can all help spread the Protect Our Winters UK word and ensure future generations can experience the unrivalled joy of winter sports. “Take only memories, leave only footprints.”
Ski resorts go green Protect Our Winters UK is a charity formed to educate and support UK outdoor sports communities to mobilise and take positive action on climate change, starting with snowsports. They engage individuals and organisations through their snowsports livelihoods and passions, educate them on the risks of climate change and support them to take effective action.