The Travel Foundation is to work more closely with ski operators and resorts to help them improve their environmental record.
Following a forum on the future of the ski industry last month – attended by the Ski Club of Great Britain and several operators – the sustainable travel charity announced it will dedicate an area of its website to the sector.
With low-lying resorts in Europe increasingly using artificial snow-making cannons to stay open, the foundation says more must be done by an industry whose future is dependent on the weather.
Travel Foundation spokesman David Weston said: “Snow will soon be disappearing from some of the lower resorts and there’s very little we can do about that.
“However, things can be done to improve the situation higher up.”
He said Austria, which recycles 50% of all its rubbish, and Switzerland, where the majority of resorts are served by rail, are two countries with green credentials.
However, Weston said the most pressing issues are heated chairlifts, lifts operating empty, heli-skiing and the increasing popularity of snow-mobiling.
Outlining these issues, the Travel Foundation will launch a public travel guide, highlighting the trade’s green efforts, and a training DVD for resort staff in French, German and Italian.
It is hoped the awareness campaign will be ready in time for the next ski season.
Snow cannon use should also be reviewed but, Weston added, this is less of a problem because snow-making uses fewer chemicals than it did 15 years ago.
Weston expressed concerns about plans to build new resorts at higher altitudes to guarantee snow. “New developments built without a local population are not the answer.”
Neilson Active Holidays overseas director Pip Tyler said the operator is backing the initiative.
“This year’s warm winter is really focusing everyone’s minds on the problems.”
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