It’s just about ski season, so many are starting to think about hitting the slopes. And though the slippery sport is always fun, it’s not always eco-friendly. The Sierra Club has put together a few tips that will help you enjoy skiing and snowboarding on a greener level:
Choose Green Ski Resorts
Often, ski resorts aren’t very green, whether it’s because they waste water and energy to make fake snow, use emissions-spewing snowmobiles, or fail to protect wildlife habitat. But some resorts do make an environmental effort. The Ski Area Citizen Coalition’s yearly report card gives skiers a way to tell. Consider visiting one of the top scorers, which are dedicated to preserving the planet. While you’re at it, steer clear of the bottom 10.
Choose Sustainably Made Equipment
If you don’t ski or snowboard enough to justify buying flashy new equipment, try to rent when you get to the mountain. But if you must replace equipment this season, donate or recycle the old stuff and consider buying products that leave a lighter footprint on the slopes. Check out companies that are building skis and snowboards using sustainable materials such as bamboo and paulownia. Some manufacturers will even recycle your old gear for you, or plant a tree for every pair of skis made.
It’s important to be comfortable on the slopes, but you’ll also want to be comfortable with the way your skiing and snowboarding gear was made. Some companies, including Patagonia and Mountain Equipment Co-Op, make warm layers out of lower impact materials such as organic cotton and recycled plastics. Patagonia’s Worn Wear Program transforms worn-out garments into new ones. And both clothes makers are members of 1% for the Planet.
Consider gloves from Picture, the leader in organic, recycled materials for ski wear.
Opt for Green Transportation
Unless you live next door to a ski resort, or work at one, getting to your favorite green slope may involve a long drive or even a flight away from home. The Bonneville Environmental Foundation estimates that American ski travel releases a minimum of 4.1 million metric tons of C02 into the atmosphere each year. Check if the ski resort you are visiting offers ride shares, carpools, or shuttle services. Think about purchasing carbon offsets to reduce your environmental impact.