There are few things in life that can connect us with nature like skiing down a fresh powdery mountain. Skiing gives you the experience of flight; rushing down a slope with the wind in your face, traveling at a speed faster than most humans can run on their own. Being one with nature is one of the main reasons skiing is so popular. At the same time, the adverse effects of pollution is making ski seasons shorter and smaller snowfalls. To reverse this trend, we need to make a concerted effort to be environmentally-conscious when we indulge in our favorite winter pastimes.
You may be thinking, “Who, me? But, I don’t litter on the slopes!?”
Well, there’s more to it than that. Here are a few easy steps we can all take to reduce our environmental impact during a ski trip. Consider incorporating these tips into your trip to make your winter hobby more sustainable – and some of these tips are so easy, you might embrace them off of the slopes as well!
Say NO to disposables
Make a shift to using only reusable containers. Whether it be your water bottle or snack bags, multi-use containers just make sense in all parts of your life.
Leave it better than you found it
This mantra has been used by campers and outdoorsmen for many years, but it translates to skiers as well. Not only do you pick up after yourselves, go out of your way to pick up someone else’s litter. Each piece of visible litter is a message to others it is okay to litter. Let’s change that perception so no one will think mountaintop litter (and litter everywhere) is acceptable.
Any time you can buy products close to home, you are supporting your own local economy and lessening the carbon footprint created from shipping long distances.
Support Sustainable Brands
Many companies are making progress on becoming more sustainable. Whether using recycled materials or incorporating green methods of operation, these companies need to be lauded for their efforts. Patagonia and North Face are two examples. North Face’s CLOTHES THE LOOP program accepts clothing donations. These clothes are sorted and recycled by a nonprofit to help avoid them ending up in landfills. North Face incentivizes customers by offering a $10 coupon for donating. By supporting sustainable brands, you too are helping reduce extraneous negative impacts.
Maximize gear life by buying quality
We need to shift our love of bargains to a love of quality. Most of the time, a better quality item will last for many years to come. Patagonia recently introduced a program called WORN WEAR that resells used Patagonia products, repairs items and recycles them when they are worn out. Also consider steering away from fashion fads. Trends can be fun to follow, but with your larger items like ski jackets and pants, try to buy items that will last you for years to come.
Recycle your gear
There are dozens upon dozens of ways to recycle your gear. It’s easy to donate or resell your ski-wear, but recycling your equipment can be a bit trickier. If you live in a ski-centric area, you will find plenty of nonprofits looking for donations of used ski equipment to either resell or break down for proper recycling. It may be a bit tougher if you don’t live near a ski location, but don’t give up! A quick Internet search can put you in touch with organizations that recycle ski equipment in mindful ways.
BUY recycled items
Some of us are still getting used to the idea of buying recycled clothing, but ski clothing is a perfect opportunity to dip your toe in the resale pool, especially if you have kids. Ski clothing for children only lasts a season or two, which means it often gets a few uses. By purchasing resale items, you are extending the life of the product and jumping into the circular economy that can both save you money and is less wasteful.
Reduce your carbon footprint
To reduce your carbon footprint, try to frequent slopes closer to home. If you are in a train-friendly area, try taking the rails instead of a flight. And consider carpooling! Apps like RideSki can save you money and reduce the number of vehicles on the road. The collective benefits of ridesharing add up quickly.