As skiers and snowboarders, the natural environment is our playground, and protecting it is critical for our planet. There’s a long way to go, but we can all play our part in carving out a more sustainable future in winter sports and beyond, so we can continue to chase powder for years to come.
We’re hoping to nudge our open-minded community to become more sustainable skiers and snowboarders. Here’s how.
Support sustainable brands
From skis, outerwear and baselayers to goggles, gloves and more. When you’re ready for something new, opt for sustainable options – and that doesn’t mean you need to compromise on quality or performance. There are some pro-planet brands out there making giant leaps forward with eco-friendly products, using sustainable production processes and innovative materials to keep us performing on the slopes without hurting the environment.
Paul Nuttal, a former Nonstop guest who founded Sustainable Ski Bums and teaches snowboarding in Japan, says: “Do your research and check out what companies are doing to reduce their environmental footprint, and how they are giving back to the environment. Particularly look out for the materials that are being used in the equipment.”
We like: Open Wear, a Swiss outerwear brand, focus on combining high performance with ethical production, sustainable materials and openness. Grown Skis have been pioneering eco ski design, using sustainably harvested wood cores and volcanic basalt rock fibres. Picture Organic Clothing are an eco-driven brand, creating organic, recycled and bio-sourced products for skiing, snowboarding and the outdoors. And we must mention Patagonia who, for decades, have been breaking trail in becoming a responsible company and creating forward-thinking products for the outdoor industry.
MAXIMISE GEAR LIFE
Forget fast fashion and get the most from your gear to help reduce the amount going to landfill every season. Take a step back and think about whether your equipment has come to the end of its life. Quality gear has longevity, and a repair should be your first port of call – so always check whether the manufacturer can help.
When you do wear through your gear and upgrade, don’t just cast it away. One person’s rubbish is another’s treasure. Donate it to a good cause, like a youth program or recycle scheme – you’ll feel good and help the environment too.
And your last option, upcycle. Let your creativity run wild – think ski-themed tables, chairs, lights and even wine racks.
Paul says: “Keeping gear in circulation will reduce the amount of waste heading to the landfill, and gives old equipment a new lease of life. There are tons of options from donating to upcycling.”
We like: Peak Performance, a Swedish-born brand, design their products to last and offer access to a repair service in all their stores, no matter how old your garment is. The North Face’s ‘Clothes the Loop’ program encourages people to recycle unwanted clothes and footwear (of any brand and condition) at select retail stores. Currently only available in the US, Canada and Germany, the items are then used by their partner Soles4Souls for disaster relief and micro-enterprise programs.
Choose chemical-free wax
Ski and snowboard waxes are essential for our bases to glide on snow, and help maximise our speed and performance on the slopes. There are a heap of options on the market, but some use harsh chemicals – PFCs (perfluorochemicals) – which seep into the snow and make their way into waterways, toxic to vegetation and wildlife. They’re also bad for our own health, with links to liver and cardiovascular damage.
Paul says: “Some waxes are better for the environment and your personal health than others. Watch out for PFCs. Choose a wax free from these nasties.”
We like: Hand poured in Canada, BeaverWax is an innovative wax containing environmentally friendly ingredients that still performs.
Offset your flight
We all love to travel and push ourselves by exploring ski hills across the globe. But chasing powder often means a flight – and hefty carbon footprint. If you can’t stay closer to home or get to your destination via a more environmentally-friendly mode (like the ski train from London to the French Alps), the next best thing is to neutralise your flight using a carbon-offset scheme.
Paul says: “Carbon-offset schemes are a great way to offset your travel – projects include clean energy schemes and reforestation projects. Do you research though and check out how the schemes work, as they don’t all work in the same way.”
We like: Climate Care, a carbon-conscious organisation, have been delivering climate neural and offset programs for over two decades, designing bespoke programs for both organisations and individuals to neutralise their residual carbon emissions and benefit communities.
We will be working with Climate Care to offset Nonstop trips, and soon will be giving our clients the option to offset the carbon impact of their course.
Go for green resorts
From powering lifts to snowmaking, some resorts can guzzle up energy and leave a climate impact. The good news though: more and more resorts are making giant strides forward in sustainability, using renewable energy sources to power lifts, implementing innovative low-energy snowmaking, offering more public transport, providing energy-efficient accommodation, and more. Make your snow adventures eco-friendly by supporting sustainable resorts.
We like: Sass Fee in Switzerland use zero-emission electric buses to move around skiers, and renewable hydroelectricity to power lifts. In Kaprun, Austria, some of the lifts use renewable energy, and there’s a free bus network between nearby resorts to reduce the number of cars on the roads. And Vail Resorts, which operate 10+ mountains around the world including mega resorts Whistler Blackcomb and Vail, have made big an eco-commitment to zero net emissions and zero waste to landfill by 2030.
Take fewer but longer trips
Instead of taking several short ski trips throughout the year, try taking one longer getaway. This will help to massively reduce your carbon impact from hopping on a lot of flights.
When you’re in resort, save an extra car from being on the road. You might lose a little freedom, but good options are ridesharing with your friends, or opting for the local ski shuttle. You’ll save money, can après with no worries, and help the environment too.
Pick up on the mountain
If you see any rubbish on the mountain, plastic or otherwise, pick it up, stow it somewhere – one of your numerous jacket pockets will do - and dispose of it properly. Every little helps.
Turn off the lights
When you hit the slopes, switch off your lights and save energy. It’s easy to forget when you’re rushing for first lift on a pow day. Simple, yet ever so easy.
Add a layer
Lounging around in your baselayers may be comfortable but it’s questionable how stylish you look and it sucks for the environment. It’s winter, so pull on a warm wool sweater and turn down the thermostat in your chalet, hotel room or condo.
Don’t forget a bottle
Always take a reusable bottle on your snow adventures. You’ll reduce plastic waste from bottled water, and stay hydrated out on the slopes.
Bring a reusable cup
Morning coffee overlooking the mountains? Millions of disposable cups are used every day and less than 1% are recycled. Carrying around an insulated cup is a travel necessity. And if you don’t have it with you, say no to your a.m. caffeine. You’ll remember next time.
Take shorter showers
We ski, we sweat. Simple biology. A shower after a long day on the slopes is all-but essential, but keep it reasonable. The average shower lasts 8.2 minutes and uses 65 litres of water. Save H20 and aim for under 5 minutes.
Take travel cutlery
Plastic cutlery is rubbish – both for practicality and the environment. Take a set of travel cutlery and you’ll never get stuck with a flimsy fork again, plus reduce your trip waste.
Make a pledge
If you enjoy setting and reaching goals and genuinely want to reduce your own personal carbon footprint, then set up an account on Do Nation and start making some pledges that will motivate yourself and inspire others.
We look forward to speaking with you.