The skiing industry, like many others, is seeing a growing concern for the environment. Unfortunately, skiing has an inevitable impact on the environment. From the destruction of forests to make way for pistes, to the many kilowatts of energy consumed in running a ski resort; skiing and being green simply do not go together.
As with many industries a selection of companies have emerged offering products with a reduced environmental impact. Skiing relies on the natural world to survive and so it only seems appropriate to make a conscious effort to reduce our impact.
To ease the burden of your guilt, here is a selection of ski and board equipment on the market:
Picture clothing is a French brand, which makes organic and recycled ski clothing. 100% of their products are made from biological cotton, 100% of their technical products are made from at least 50% recycled polyester and all their products are certified OEKO TEX 100 (so eco-friendly). Picture products are also distinctive from their colourful fun designs and are priced comparably to their non-green alternatives.
Patagonia is a Californian based outdoor clothing company, world renowned for its efforts to create social and environmentally sustainable products. It donates 1% of its revenue to environmental groups every year, and encourages other companies to do the same through its ‘1% for the planet,’ alliance. Since Autumn 2014, Patagonia now uses 100% traceable down feathers in its products, which are never live-plucked and never from force-fed birds.
This is probably not something that has crossed your mind, but the wax on the bottom of you skis or board has a direct impact on the environment. Regular waxes contain a variety of chemicals including Perfluorocarbons (a greenhouse gas) and Carcinogens (cancer causing) amongst others, which stay on the mountain long after you’ve left, polluting steams and affecting animals and plants.
Check out Chocowax, one of several new eco-friendly wax producers. The Canadian company produces a variety of wax products, using minus-ion charged properties in their ingredients for improved float…and it smells of chocolate!!
Liberty skis have been designing skis using a bamboo core for over ten years. Many companies are now using bamboo to produce skis, but Liberty remains the market leader and the expert.
Bamboo is fast growing and can be sustainably harvested without killing the entire plant, meaning it is ready to re-harvest in only 3-5 years. On top of this Bamboo has the tensile strength to rival that of steel, perfect for strong, high performing skis.
For snowboards see Striding Edge, a brand new British company manufacturing snowboards again made from bamboo. They also aim to be a carbon neutral company by 2016. Even better the mountains of the Lake District (UK), my home, inspire their designs.
You can even get bamboo ski poles to complete your selection of eco-friendly equipment, available from soul poles here: https://www.soulpoles.com/
The GEM Altigliss Challenge also makes efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the challenge. Participants are supplied with plastic, recyclable cups and pocket ashtrays, to reduce littering. This year there is a competition to raise money for the Mountain Riders association, who focus on reducing the impact of skiing on the environment.