COP26 is currently ongoing in Glasgow, a conference whereby leaders, activists and organisations from across the world have gathered to discuss their commitments to the Paris Agreement and dedication to implementing international climate goals.
The climate crisis is closer to home than you may realise. The Vanoise National Park, a stunning mountain range located a short 15-minute car or bus journey from the Ski Olympic residences, is home to the Rousel Valley. There, you will find the Prêtre Glacier, which 120,000 years ago once stretched as far as Lyon. In September 2012, it was reduced by one third after the fall of seracs. The Mer de Glace, located on the northern side of Mont Blanc - and at one moment in time reaching Chamonix - has retreated 800 metres in length in the last three decades (1).
The beloved mountainous landscape of the French Alps that welcomes thousands of skiers, snowboarders and hikers every year is in serious danger. Since 1850, glaciers in the Alps have lost half of their volume, and between 30%-40% of their surface area; 10%-20% of their volume has disappeared since 1980 (2). Since 1970, the amount of snow falling at mid-mountain elevations in the Alps has decreased, therefore reducing the period during which snow covers the mountains. Higher temperatures in spring and summer mean the snow melts faster, and so the period of snow coverage is significantly shortened (3).
Here at Ski Olympic, we recognise that everyone can make a difference in combating the devastating effects of climate change, global warming and ecological disaster. In our aim to continue to develop our company in line with our ethos of sustainability and eco-friendly commitments, we’ve made some changes to how we operate.
The majority of the lights across our chalets are LED, and our aim is to be completely LED by next season. This contributes to Ski Olympic’s commitment to being more energy efficient, so that our properties have less of an impact on the environment.
Our doors are being improved across the chalets with draft proofing, which has helped us lower our carbon footprint.
As part of our ‘reduce waste’ initiative, we are always looking to recycle and up-cycle in our properties. We re-purpose where we can, and otherwise ensure pre-loved items are given a new home rather than disposing of them.
We are also in the process of planning a ‘Meat Free Day’ every week of the season in La Foret and La Cavern. On this day of the week, all the food we serve in our properties will be vegetarian.
The Paradiski resort is also working to combat the climate change emergency. The region has been using 100% renewable energy to power the ski lifts and other electrical outputs since 2012 (4). The resort has saved 305 tons of CO2 since 2016 (5), and the plan to install water points across the ski area will help with their commitment to reducing plastic waste (6). The piste machines also use eco-driving principles so they can keep fuel consumption low (7). The Varet and Aiguille Rouge lifts, two lifts in the Les Arcs area, have a combined total of 60 solar panels (8), and all the ski lifts in the Les Arcs area have been powered by 100% renewable electricity since 2011 (9). we’ll be sharing the environmentally-friendly aspects of the new Vallandry Gondola, the closest lift to La Foret, in our next blog. Les Arcs was awarded the Flocon Vert (’Green Snowflake’) in 2020, becoming the first resort in Savoie to receive the accolade. Created in 2011, the Flocon Vert supports ski resorts making eco-responsible actions (10). We are proud to operate in a resort that is conscious of its impact on the environment.
Overall, we are committed to ensuring our company operates in an environmentally-friendly capacity. You can join the fight against climate change, global warming and ecological catastrophe with us, by reducing waste, switching off lights and heaters when you leave your room to go skiing, drinking the fresh, mountain water from the tap rather than buying bottled water, and bringing your litter home from the slopes to dispose of safely in order to protect the resort’s biodiversity. Even the small things make a difference.