Skiing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors during the winter holidays, but you may be concerned about your carbon footprint. Many ski resorts rely on water-hogging snow guns, use tons of energy running high speed gondolas, and are frequented by gas-guzzling SUVs with gear strapped on top. Here are a few tips for your next eco-ski vacation.
Take a Longer Trip
Save gas and money by skiing for a week, rather than a couple of weekend trips. By making just one trip to the mountain you’ll qualify for better rates on the slopes and in a hotel.
Another way to save gas is to check out local ski areas, where you can get to the slopes quickly and not spend a lot of fossil fuel getting there. Mountain Creek, an hour from New York City, is perfect for day trips in the tri-state area. Even better, the Jackson, New Jersey ski resort covered all of its parking with roof-mounted solar parking canopies, cutting electrical usage in half.
Leave Your Car Behind
Instead of driving to and from the resort, why not take public or hotel transportation? At Mount Snow Resort in Vermont, you can leave our car at your hotel and hop on the free public bus, the MOOver. The bus goes along Route 9/Route 100, between Wilmington and West Dover, and will even deviate from its route with advance notice. The cow-themed buses are a particular hit with kids, and the rack let you easily transport skis or snowboards.
No Worries … No Trash
If you put your kids in the ski camp at Smugglers’ Notch, you don’t have to worry about contributing to the waste stream. The camp has a “No Trash” policy, with compostable, reusable and recyclable materials used to serve all lunches. Bring your own refillable water bottle so you can avoid plastic bottles. The northern Vermont ski resort is near Burlington, so you don’t have to drive; you can fly or take Amtrak.
You can also take Amtrak to Winter Park Resort in Colorado. The resort also has a free shuttle for its employees, reducing the need for them to drive.
Search Eco-Ski Destinations
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort in Canada, and the community take sustainability further than most with hydro electric power, state-of-the-art composting and LEED at Whistler Athletes Village.
Small ski areas can also make a difference. Windham Mountain, in Windham, NY, is now using high efficiency snowguns and high efficiency tankless hot water heaters to dramatically reduce its water and energy consumption. Holiday Valley, in Ellicottville, NY resued old lift parts and pool filters to create interesting features in its terrain parks. When it built the Sky High Aerial Adventure Park in Spring, 2011, it reused the trees cut down to make chips for the paths.
What do you do for an eco-ski vacation?