As each new ski season brings fresh concerns over the environment, powder hounds and leisure skiers alike have become more interested in supporting sustainable ski resorts. From water conservation to year-round environmental protection, the seven resorts featured below are leading the way toward a more sustainable future on the slopes. With luck and effort, we hope to see these and other resorts thriving well into the future. For more about what individual skiers can do to promote sustainability, read Iain Martin’s Tips to Make Your Ski Holiday More Mindful. We’ll see you on the slopes!
1. Taos Ski Valley – Taos, New Mexico
As the world’s first certified B Corporation, Taos Ski Valley is perhaps the most sustainable ski resort in North America. Joining the worldwide Net Zero 2030 initiative, it has not only committed to achieving net zero emissions within the current decade, but it also expects to provide 100% daytime solar energy throughout the entire community in the coming year. As one of the country’s last remaining independent ski resorts, Taos also partners with environmentally conscious supplies, composts its food waste, and has removed single-use plastic bottles. A free employee shuttle reduces car traffic, and the resort offsets 100% of carbon emissions from Taos Air flights. With leadership committed to environmental and social practices, the resort has become a favorite among eco-minded skiers.
Where to Stay: The Blake, LEED-certified hotel that offers natural spa treatments and a ski-in, ski-out location. The on-site restaurant, 192 at The Blake, serves tapas-style comfort food, using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.
2. Avoriaz 1800 – Morzine, France
Avoriaz 1800 lies in the heart of Portes du Soleil, a network of 12 inter-connected ski areas on the France-Switzerland border. Known for a village atmosphere and family-friendly amenities, this car-free resort is deeply committed to sustainability. In addition to an extensive recycling program, Avoriaz also uses a dual-energy heating system of wood and electricity, rather than fossil fuels. The resort further minimizes its footprint using electric snowmobiles and encouraging use of the community bus service to explore beyond the resort. Families will love its eco-friendly snowpark, Lil’Stash, built using reclaimed timber from the Proclou forest.
Where to Stay: The ski-in, ski-out MiL8 Hotel. One of the few hotel-style lodging options in Avoriaz, this 4-star hotel minimizes its footprint by optimizing natural light throughout and using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible in its restaurant. The hotel also partners with a local brand to use certified organic, cruelty-free products in its spa.
3. Jackson Hole – Jackson, Wyoming
A past winner of the Golden Eagle Award for environmental excellence, Jackson Hole has made sustainability part of its creed for more than a decade. The resort now uses wind to power 100% of its operations, from buildings to snowmaking and french fry oil to fuel its mountain operations vehicles. Jackson Hole has also committed to furthering its efforts through a Climate Action Plan, while partnering with Protect Our Winters (POW) and the United States Forest Service. Guests of the resort will find energy efficient lighting in on-site lodges and a robust recycling program.
Where to Stay: A 3-minute walk from the Aerial Tram, the eco-friendly Hotel Terra, has won several awards for its green design, from Energy Star windows to a roof made completely of recycled singles. Rooms feature organic mattresses, towels and bathrobes, and recycled glass countertops.
4. Whistler-Blackcomb – Whistler, Canada
A multi-time recipient of Canada’s Greenest Employer Award, Whistler-Blackcomb has tackled climate change through every avenue, from energy to education. Fueled by hydro power and hybrid heating systems, Whistler-Blackcomb has also worked to eliminate food waste, manage water use, and protect delicate ecosystems on the mountain. This means respecting wetlands and animal habitats, limiting erosion, and planting to enhance natural wildlife. On-site restaurants compost food waste, and the resort recycles absolutely everything – even broken ski poles.
Where to Stay: The Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel, a charming pet-friendly lodge steps from Olympic Plaza that uses eco-friendly housekeeping practices and locally sourced products at its on-site restaurant, Elements.
5. Ruka and Pyhä – Finland
The first Finnish ski resorts to sign the European Union’s energy-efficiency agreement, Ruka and Pyhä set the bar among sustainable ski resorts in Europe. Their eco-friendly efforts include energy-efficient ski lifts, monitoring of snowmaking and heating, and the construction of snow fences to reduce reliance on artificial snow. Ruka also uses environmentally friendly hydroelectric powe, while Pyhä has made headlines for becoming the first carbon-neutral ski resort in Finland. For skiers who want to support sustainably minded ski areas, these two under-the-radar resorts are a great place to start.
Where to Stay: The Scandic Rukahovi, a family-friendly hotel that includes both hotel-style rooms and fully equipped apartments. Part of the Scandic family, which sets a high bar for sustainability, the Rukahovi has an industry-leading recycling program and measures in place to lower carbon emissions. The hotel also minimizes its footprint by offering bikes for loan and serving local specialities at the on-site restaurant.
6. Alta Ski Area – Alta, Utah
Deeply committed to environmental protection, Alta is another of North America’s most sustainable ski resorts. Small but mighty, the independently owned resort has planted more than 40,000 trees in the past 30 years, while offsetting 126 tons of carbon. The resort actively supports land conservation, and the Alta Environmental Center has employed wide-ranging tactics to reduce carbon emissions, from installing solar panels to collecting food waste. Alta also has LEED-certified buildings and has launched an electric vehicle charger program. All of these efforts combine to make Alta a resort worth supporting.
Where to Stay: The Goldminer’s Daughter, a no-frills lodge focused on helping its guests enjoy the mountain. The hotel may not explicitly list sustainability as part of its mission, but its minimalist approach ensures it does no harm. You won’t find disposable bottles of water or mini bars full of plastic packaging. You will find comfortable rooms and a whole lot of charm.
7. Hakuba – Hakuba Valley, Japan
Hakuba has a long history of sustainability. In 2008 seven area resorts signed the Hakuba Eco-Ski Resorts Declaration, pledging action that has continued over the past decade. Hakuba’s individual resorts have tackled climate change with waste composting, forest conservation, energy efficiency, and creative employment of reclaimed woods, among other tactics. The local community has also rallied around Hakuba’s ski resorts with climate protests and awareness campaigns. These efforts, combined with the region’s still powdery slopes, make it a bucket list worthy resort for eco-minded skiers.
Where to Stay: The Sierra Resort Hakuba sits on 25 acres of pristine forest, providing a year-round sanctuary for nature lovers. You’ll find on-site hot springs, family-friendly activities, and free shuttle service to the slopes.
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