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Environment and Green Issues News
View all 55 headlines for Environment and Green Issues News.
The world’s largest ski area already powers its 180 lifts and 2000 or so snow cannons with renewable hydroelectricity, but this winter you can go the whole hog and stay in a 100% green mountain refuge too.
The Refuge du Christ is a new eco-friendly mountain refuge located below Les Allues in Méribel and built to be entirely energy self-sufficient in energy. Equipped with solar panels, rainwater supplies the toilets and a mini treatment plant located nearby ensures the treatment of waste water. Finally, a wood pellet boiler provides heating for the building.
The refuge offers comfortable accommodation with 13 beds in two dormitories and two double bedrooms. Each room has a bathroom and linen is provided. Half-board inclusive of dinner, bed and breakfast is 75€ per person, or B&B only for 55€.
A new law in France will make it compulsory for all transportation providers to inform their clients about the quantity of CO2 produced during transportation.
So far only the Sybelles lift company is known to be actively publishing a figure for its skiers and boarders on how much CO2 they are likely to produce depending on the length of their stay.
Specialist French ski tour operator Peak Retreats have spoken to the Sybelles lift company about their policy and were told that as a chairlift is considered as a means of transportation, they felt it was right to publish the figures in line with the new law.
They told Peak Retreats that the method of calculation is based on three criteria. Firstly electricity consumption in the whole ski area over the last three years, secondly the number of ski days sold in the last three years and thirdly the CO2 emissions from electricity generation.
The final result gives you the CO2 emission for a ski day of eight hours and is valid for three years.
It is unclear yet whether other ski areas will voluntarily or compulsorily follow suit and whether the new French law is in line with a new pan-European EU Industrial Emission Directive (IED) on similar lines, which is due to come in to force on 5th November.
It is also unclear whether resorts that claim their energy is 100% renewable will be able to claim zero CO2 emissions and whether the currently rather meaningless CO2 emissions to the layman will ultimately form in to some sort of good/average/poor grading by comparison between ski areas.
A French ski region has issued its 2013-14 ski pass prices and incorporated the share of CO2 emissions generated per day by each lift pass holder in the pricing table. The emissions are based solely on lift operations according to the table.
The Sybelles (sybelles.com) area in the Maurienne Valley has rapidly expanded to offer today more than 350km (just under 200 miles) of runs, with ten resorts on the ticket, of which six are lift-linked in by far the largest sector (310km/195 miles).
CO2 emissions, which affect climate change, range from 93 grammes for a half day ticket or 186 grammes for a day pass through to 4658 grammes for a full season pass.
Although the region is little known in the UK, holidays to the leading resorts are offered by tour operators including St Sorlin d’Arves by Peak Retreats and La Toussuire by Ski Collection.
In honour of Earth Day, Burton is proud to announce stepped-up efforts in support of Protect Our Winters (POW), an athlete-focused foundation whose mission is to unite the winter sports community against the effects of climate change. Together, Burton and POW will focus on building awareness and taking action against global warming in the snowboard community through social media campaigns, global team rider activation and events.
“Burton has a deep responsibility to the sport we helped pioneer and to the people and environment that sustain it,” said Burton President Donna Carpenter. “We are riders, and we take climate change personally because snowboarding is our life, our livelihood and our passion. By working more closely with POW, our hope is to encourage snowboarders to get involved with the very important work the organization is doing. Together, we can protect our winters.”
Burton and POW have strong ties already as Burton team riders Nicolas Muller, Danny Davis and John Jackson are actively involved with the POW Riders Alliance, a community of professional athletes committed to environmental leadership. And many Burton riders also signed a climate change petition last week that urged US President Obama to take action on climate change and clean energy.
Moving forward, Burton plans to encourage more riders to join POW’s efforts through social media campaigns, and the company will actively promote POW at marquee events like the US Open Snowboarding Championships. To kick things off today, Burton and POW are launching an awareness campaign on Instagram where riders can share how they protect our winters and in turn win cool prizes from Burton and POW. To get involved, riders simply upload a photo and caption that shows how they protect our winters to @burtonsnowboard on Instagram and tag #HowYouPOW. Each month, a new winner will be randomly selected and recognized for their fresh take on making a difference.
"We're absolutely thrilled about our partnership with Burton,” said Chris Steinkamp, Executive Director of Protect Our Winters. “Our ability to unite the snow sports community, build grassroots advocacy and take a strong economic message to Washington is being taken to another level now."
Burton’s expanded relationship with POW is just a part of its extensive commitment to sustainability. Since 2008, Burton has actively increased its focus on sustainability by working to ensure a healthier future for all riders through efforts like the Green Mountain Process, where Burton seeks to improve not just the use of sustainable materials, but also the production process as a whole. In addition, through a continued collaboration with Mountain Dew, Burton has gained a consistent supplier of high-grade fabrics woven with recycled plastic soda bottles. Burton also has a department focused on sustainability that reports directly to Burton President, Donna Carpenter. The group has stepped up social and environmental responsibility in the supply chain with restricted substance and code of conduct policies. And last year, Burton became a bluesign® system partner to ensure select softgoods and bags meet the highest standards of environmental responsibility, consumer safety, and resource conservation.
For more information on all of Burton’s sustainability efforts, check out www.burton.com/sustainability. And to get involved with Protect Our Winters, head to www.protectourwinters.org.
A new moving carpet conveyor lift from Sunkid generates more power than it uses, thanks to an array of 74 solar panels running along the top of the translucent weather protection gallery that runs along the 180m length of the lift.
The new lift in Austria’s Zillertal-Arena on Isskogel Mountain and located 2000 metres above sea-level consumes about 16,000 kWh of electricity per year for normal operation (from 9am to 4pm daily) but the solar panels installed on the gallery enclosure provide a total output of about 18.25 kWp, corresponding to 22,000 kWh per year. kWp means peak kilowatts, and is the unit of measurement for the peak output of solar arrays. The extra 6000 kWh of green energy, which is about 27% of total output, can then be fed to the power grid.
"The new Moving Carpet Gallery enclosure equipped with solar panels produces more green power than it actually requires. The excess electricity can then be provided to the power grid,” confirms project manager Manuel Kammerer.
The Moving Carpet Gallery enclosure, developed in 2001, protects passengers from snow, rain, wind, and cold - while offering a clear view of the outside. And for the lift operators, the Gallery offers plenty of advantages - particularly allowing quick and easy start-up even in the worst weather and snowfall conditions.
“Solar power is considered the most eco-friendly method of power generation. It produces no noise, no emissions, is completely safe, and requires no fuel other than sunlight. Solar cells are typically produced with recycled materials, and even partly with waste materials from other industries,” confirms Mr Kammerer.
Six years after a plethora of reports appeared projecting how climate change would damage the ski industry, a study has been published in which researchers attempt to put a financial price on how much damage climate change has no caused to ski areas.
The report entitled "Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States" finds that US ski areas have lost a combined $1bn and 27,000 jobs over the last decade as a result of climate change. The report has been published by pressure groups Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The study has been compiled by University of New Hampshire researchers and has been published at a time when US media has recently been publishing stories questioning the impact of climate change on the UAS industry after a warm 2011-12 season for much of the country and a warm dry start so far to 2012-13 in much of the US too.
The report’s authors predict a rise in temperatures of 4-10 degrees Farenheit by 2100 “if nothing is done” with resulting snow loss of 25-100% and many more billions of dollars and thousands of jobs lost to the US economy.
The report’s authors suggest the winter tourism industry put pressure on the US government to do more to cut carbon pollution, a measure several, notably Aspen, have been taking for many years.
A Colorado resort says it will ban smoking from its slopes this winter. Although the majority of ski areas in Western Europe and north America now operate smoke-free buildings, only a handful have taken the further step of banning smoking outdoors too.
For Eldora Mountain in Colorado, which is celebrating its 50th season, smoking is to be banned in lift queues, on lifts and within five metres of ticket desks.
Vermont’s Killington Resort, the largest ski and snowboard resort in Eastern North America, which has opened some terrain this weekend for season pass holders, has announced that it will power its K-1 Express Gondola during the 2012-13 season with electricity generated directly from cows on Vermont dairy farms.
The initiative was made possible through Killington’s enrolment in Green Mountain Power’s Cow Power program (GMP), which enables GMP customers to purchase all or part of their electricity at a premium and support Vermont’s dairy farms as well as the development of new cow power projects across the state.
“GMP Cow Power is truly an innovative way to create renewable energy and it’s another example of how we continue to implement environmental initiatives throughout our resort,” said Mike Solimano, President and General Manager for Killington Resort.
Killington Cow PooPerfected over the last ten years, the GMP Cow Power process is very simple. Farms collect cow manure throughout the day, mixing it with wash water from the milking equipment which is then pumped into an anaerobic digester. The slurry flows through a digester for about three weeks at 100 degrees Fahrenheit allowing bacteria to convert the manure into biogas, about 60% methane gas and 40% carbon dioxide. The biogas is then delivered to a modified natural gas engine, which drives an electric generator to create electricity. Finally, the energy generated is fed onto the GMP electrical system which ultimately powers the K-1 Express Gondola.
The left over manure in the digester does not go to waste; it is separated into solid and liquid portions. The liquid portion is used as enhanced fertilizer and the solids, consisting of plant fibers including grass, corn stalk fibers, grain hulls, etc. can replace sawdust as bedding for the cows.
“Large customers like Killington Resort with significant demand can make important contributions to the continued development of this innovative renewable resource,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of Green Mountain Power. “Through their investment, they will help us continue to expand the GMP Cow Power program making this opportunity available to more Vermont dairy farms. These farms are the backbone of Vermont’s agricultural economy; therefore Killington is to be commended for its commitment to both renewable energy and Vermont farming.”
Currently, 13 Vermont farms, with roughly 10,000 total dairy cows producing 300,000 gallons of manure per day, participate in the GMP Cow Power program and are compensated for their electric generation and the related environmental benefits. The energy is used locally and the program continues to grow annually with new farms and new customers joining regularly.
In an article about the UK's weird weather this year, Sarah Jackson from the Met Office confirmed that it did not discern any pattern that suggested Man-made climate change was at play in UK rainfall - although if temperatures rise as projected in future, that would lead to warmer air being able to carry more moisture to fall as rain.
She said that this year's conditions were partly caused by a move to a negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation which would be likely to lead to more frequent cold, drier winters - like the 1960s - and also wetter summers for 10-20 years.
Canadian Solar, one of the world's largest solar companies, provided the solar modules for installation on the Alpincenter in Hamburg-Wittenburg, Germany. With a total output of 3.6 MW, the winter sports centre's operator reaps a double benefit: using the self-produced solar power significantly offsets energy costs while at the same time reducing the power needed to run the cooling system thank to the shadowing effect underneath the solar system.
The owner, the Dutch Van der Valk Group, was facing the challenge of significantly reducing the energy costs for operating the building, which features 30,000 m² of ski slopes. Installing the structure-mounted rooftop system allows it to operate the facility 365 days a year, using only the self-generated power.
This makes the operators independent from the public grid and EEG subsidies. A side benefit of the PV system: the shadow it produces on the roof results in a 50 percent lower surface temperature. This drastically reduces the load on the cooling technology which keeps the indoor temperature at -1 degree Celsius throughout the year, translating into lower energy consumption. The project was planned and implemented by Hamburg-based project company Dr. Metje Consulting.
"For a rooftop system of this scale, efficiency and quality of the modules are paramount. Particularly for the Alpincenter Hamburg-Wittenburg, which wanted to completely cover their energy demand by the self-produced power, performance losses are not tolerable," said Dr. Christian Metje of Dr. Metje Consulting.
"Projects like the alpincenter Hamburg-Wittenburg are the future of solar energy: PV systems that cover the facility's complete energy demand and that do not depend on public subsidies. It is a particular proof of photovoltaic efficiency that a winter sports centre– which needs great amounts of energy - uses solar power. We are therefore extremely proud our modules are now deployed in Wittenburg," said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar.
In the latest twist in the very long running ski building development saga, UNESCO have said there should no more ski slope development in the Pirin National Park.
Previously in the Bulgarian ski resort development saga; environmental campaigners had complained to their government and UNESCO about what they alleged to be illegal ski resort development at Bansko on national park land which was also a UNESCO World Heritage site.
They said development was being carried out by an off shore based company with little benefit to Bulgarians and was driven by property developers, many from the UK and Ireland. They said the boss of Bansko’s developers and of the Bulgarian Ski Federation was the same man, probably.
UNESCO put the park on its ‘at risk list’ and eventually the Bulgarian government determined that the building was indeed illegal.
In the past year however the response of the Bulgarian Government was to retrospectively change the law to make the developments legal and to make a new law that, according to environmental campaigners, allowed resorts to develop on national park land in future without restrictions. This was welcomed by publications representing international investors who said it was a way to kick start the faltering Bulgarian economy.
Around the same time UNESCO, who had visited Bulgarian national parks on an inspection tour and met with government ministers, said the development hadn’t caused enough damage to the parks to justify removing them from the UNESDCO national heritage site list.
Last weekend protestor from the ‘For The Nature’ coalition of interested environmental groups, including the WWF, began blocking roads with protestors in Sofia and the Bulgarian president vetoed the law allowing fewer restrictions on ski resort developers saying the two sides must talk again.
This weekend the "For the Nature" coalition has published more detail from the recent report of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee which essential boil down to the fact that although UNESCO say that damage caused by developments to date have not done too much damage, it has done “the maximum allowable damage” and any more would be too much.
They also said that while the Pirin National Paerk as a whole would not be removed from the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, the damage caused to the Bansko area meant that it would be removed from the sector of the park classified as a UNESCO World Heritage zone and be effectively downgraded to a ‘buffer zone’ of the site.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee report concludes that local business should seek to diversify away from a seasonal reliance on winter sports and look for more sustainable business models.
The Ski Club of Great Britain is looking for volunteers to join the Big Spring Clean on a big day out. The fifth annual Big Spring Clean, organised by the Ski Club as part of their Respect the Mountain campaign, returns with a NEW twist on Saturday 16 June.
This year’s event held across three different ski resorts, offers NEW activities including mountain biking and an eco walk to add to the mountain fun. Volunteers will also tackle the damaging litter left on the slopes during the winter season at CairnGorm Mountain, the Nevis Range, and Glenshee in Scotland. Last year 44 sacks of rubbish were collected across all three resorts by skiers, walkers and dedicated litter pickers.
To make this year’s Big Spring Clean the biggest yet, join the Ski Club at 10am on Saturday 16 June at:
The Base Café, Glenshee
The Ranger Base (Coire Cas), CairnGorm
The bottom of the gondola, Nevis Range
NEW for this year
Glenshee: Scott Sports – Mountain bike demo event
The Ski Club is teaming up with Scott Sports to host a mountain bike demo day. This includes a range of bikes of mixed sizes for Big Spring Clean volunteers to try out on the mountain trails and explore beautiful Glenshee. The mountain biking is free of charge for all volunteers once they have filled a bag of rubbish.
Meeting point: The Base Café, Glenshee, 10am
Cairngorm – Eco walk
Cairngorm Mountain are offering the chance to litter pick as part of a guided walk. This will involve taking the funicular up to the stunning top station and walking down as a group under the supervision of a Cairngorm Walks Guide. Volunteers will litter pick their way down the mountain while enjoying a fascinating insight into the wildlife, geology and weather from a local guide.
Meeting point: The Ranger Base (Coire Cas), CairnGorm, 10am
Nevis Range - Mountain biking with Alpine Bikes
Once Big Spring Cleaners have done their bit for the environment, they can take a spin on the vast and varied Nevis Range tracks. Mountain bikes are available to hire for half price to all volunteers.
Meeting point: The bottom of the gondola, Nevis Range, 10am
Everyone is invited!
Gloves and bags are provided and there will be tea and cakes for everyone who brings back a bag of litter.
Who said cleaning wasn’t fun…
For more event information please visit: skiclub.co.uk, email email@example.com or call 0208 410 2000.
For the 8th year running the visitor attraction at CairnGorm Mountain has been awarded the highest status – Gold – in the Green Tourism Scheme administered by Visit Scotland.
The Green Tourism Business Scheme, has been running since 1997 and with over 2000 members across the whole of the UK and Ireland, it is the largest and most established scheme of its type in the World. In Scotland the GTBS was developed in partnership with VisitScotland and it is recognized by UK national government as a crucial part of its drive towards sustainability.
Cairngorm Mountain substantially consolidated its GTBS GOLD award with highlights from the audit including praise for its UV treated water, ecological waste water treatment, excellent mountain interpretation, good visitor recycling facilities, local crafts and the use of recycled paper. Of particular note were the continued development and promotion of the Snow White project, habitat development and preservation and their ‘leave no trace’ practices. The assessors noted that considerable efforts had been made to make the business more sustainable with ongoing projects to improve facilities and a very good working action plan related to all things sustainable which they are continuing to develop and update.
Commenting on the attraction’s increased score of 85% in the assessment CairnGorm Mountain Green Tourism Co-ordinator Dougie Somerville said: “We are delighted to have retained our gold award in this scheme and to have increased our score to 85%. Helen Wink and the rest of the team must be congratulated on their efforts to ensure that the standard we have reached has been maintained for another year in the face of ever tougher criteria. Staff at CairnGorm are committed to contributing to making our operations more sustainable while delivering a high quality service and we appreciate this being recognized by this award.”
A group representing more than 30, mostly environmental organisations, including the WWF, has issued a statement questioning the FIS decision to stage the second Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Bansko, Bulgaria this weekend when, “…citizen groups and NGOs are concerned that the operator of Bansko Ski Zone has persistently violated Bulgarian and international environmental legislation and FIS regulations. With close to 40% of the ski runs in Bansko being illegally built and operated, many fear this event has cast a shadow over FIS reputation.”
“In 2011, Bulgaria’s Minister of Environment and Water Nona Karadzhova admitted that the operator of Bansko Ski Zone Yulen JSC was using a territory larger – by about 65 ha - than the one designated by the concession of Bansko Ski Zone,” the statement continues.
“The ski run on which the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is being held this weekend is also built in breach of concession regulations. Bansko Ski Zone is located within the boundaries of Pirin National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, EU Natura 2000 site as well as a protected area category II of IUCN,” said the statement.
“However, the breach of environmental legislation committed in Bansko Ski Zone is not only a national problem, but also goes against a number of International acts and FIS documents. The FIS Competition Rules Book IV - Joint Regulations for Alpine Skiing, 6188.8.131.52 states that “The applicant is responsible for the observance of applicable environmental regulations during development of the course including completion of any improvements required by the inspector.”
“Environmentalists in Bulgaria firmly believe that Bansko Ski Zone does not meet this requirement and should not have been awarded the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.”
The statement goes on to make allegations regarding the financial arrangements behind the ski lift company and some it’s funding.
Now in its fourth year, the Big Spring Clean became even bigger with new resort Glenshee introduced to the mountain clean-up operation. The initiative forms part of the Ski Club's Respect the Mountain campaign that has been running since 2004. Over 80 litter-picking volunteers showed up at the Scottish resorts of CairnGorm Mountain, Nevis Range and Glenshee and worked hard to clear the rubbish that lingered after an epic winter season.
44 sacks of rubbish were collected across all three resorts by skiers, walkers and dedicated litter pickers. All sorts of unusual items were found amongst the general litter and waste including: a pair of boxer shorts at Cairngorm, a mattress and a 'message in a balloon' at Nevis Range. The balloon was from Milngavie Primary School, over 100 miles away.
Kate Thorman from the Ski Club of Great Britain, who organised and coordinated the event said: "The Big Spring Clean has yet again proved to be a success. We had decent weather, a good turnout of people, and most importantly plenty of litter was collected across all three resorts. There was a real feeling from the local community that they were glad people had come along to do their bit and that they cared about the mountains we all love."
Caroline Stuart-Taylor, Chief Executive of the Ski Club, also commented: "We were thrilled to expand the Big Spring Clean to include Glenshee this year. The operation continues to raise awareness about the damaging effects of dropping litter in a mountain environment. We hope to make a clean sweep of all five Scottish ski areas in the future."
No more butts!
A staggering amount of cigarette butts were also found amongst the Big Spring Clean's haul of litter. The Ski Club of Great Britain hopes their recent launch of a new eco-friendly pocket ashtray will reduce the number of cigarettes dropped by skiers and snowboarders. It's the first ever pocket ashtray to be made from recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials providing an eco-friendly alternative to the millions of plastic pocket ashtrays that end-up in landfill sites every year.
Ashtrays can be ordered in packs of five from the Ski Club online shop for free with a contribution of £2.50 to cover postage and packaging.
For more information visit www.respectthemountain.com
The Ski Club of Great Britain are inviting funding applications for research or projects to protect the mountains and support sustainable snowsports.
As part of the Club’s ongoing commitment to the mountain environment, a new Respect the Mountain Fund has been launched to help finance research studies or projects that will have a direct and visible impact in mountain environments or snowsports.
The club is currently inviting preliminary proposals for both specific projects and research studies that are likely to lead onto future projects. Suitable submissions will then be looked into in more depth before grants of £1500-7500 are made.
Possible areas of study could include responsible tourism, environmental awareness, sustainable or renewable local energy sources, sustainable snowsports, pollution, travel to and within mountain areas, habitat, wildlife, plant life, topography, hydrogeology, snow cover and biodiversity.
Since 2004 the Ski Club’s Environmental Policy and Respect the Mountain campaign have helped the Club, our members and the wider snowsports community take positive steps towards protecting the mountain environment and the long-term future of snowsports.
The 2010/11 season saw the launch of our new range of organic cotton Respect the Mountain clothing and Respect the Mountain eco-ashtray whilst this weekend the Big Spring Clean, our annual resort clean up, returns to Scotland for a fourth year.
All profits from Respect the Mountain clothing and wristbands, as well as a 50p environmental levy from each annual membership to the Ski Club, go towards the Respect the Mountain campaign which has donated to a number of projects.
To apply a completed submission form should be emailed (as an attachment) to Richard Bird, Chairman of the Ski Club of Great Britain Environmental Working Group, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday 28 June. Enquires can also be emailed to the same address.
The end of the glacier at Argentière in the Chamonix Valley has been given a protective summer coat in a bid to slow down thawing as a result of climate change.
Working with the Mayor of Chamonix, and the Prefecture of Haute Savoie, the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc lift operator is spending 3,000 Euros on a small 750 square metre tarpaulin to cover a sector at the Grand Montets.
“This technique of ice covering has already proven itself on Swiss glacier and is required to keep a maximum volume of ice on the mountain while limiting the action of sunlight reflection.” Said a statement from the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc.
The lift company has advised those hiking or mountaineering in the area that it’s dangerous to walk on the tarpaulin and that they should use marked routes around it.
The tarpaulin will be removed in mid-October before the first major snowfall on winter 2011-12 is forecast.
The Ski Club's annual resort clear up, the Big Spring Clean, returns to Scotland for a fourth year on Sunday 12 June. This year volunteers will not only be tackling the damaging litter left on the slopes by mountains users at CairnGorm Mountain and the Nevis Range but also, new for 2011, at Glenshee.
"As part of our ongoing Respect the Mountain campaign we wanted to increase awareness of the environmental issues faced by resorts at the end of the season" explains the Ski Club's Emma Bebb.
"Extending the Big Spring Clean to Glenshee is a positive step to spread that message even further and the clear up operation really does help the resorts tackle the problem of winter waste".
Last year 122 helpers turned out to gather up litter at CairnGorm and the Nevis Range with a total of 60 bags of rubbish collected. The Ski Club works with the resorts to ensure volunteers cover areas most frequented by winter users and ensure they safely cover both marked paths and areas off the beaten track.
Big Spring Clean volunteers will meet at 10am on Sunday 12 June at the bottom of the gondola at Nevis Range, at the Ranger Base (Coire Cas) at CairnGorm or at the Base Cafe at Glenshee. Gloves and bags are provided and there will be tea and cakes for everyone who brings back a bag of litter.
Taos Ski Valley in the US has opted to lower the impact of 100 percent of its energy usage through carbon offsets from Renewable Choice Energy, one of the US’s leading providers of energy and environmental solutions for businesses and consumers.
Taos Ski Valley also purchased new snow-cats and snowmobiles that are significantly more fuel-efficient and quiet than traditional machines. This will help reduce the Valley’s carbon footprint even more, while cutting down on noise pollution in the mountain ecosystem.
“We make these decisions because it’s our way of life here,” said Adriana Blake, Administrative Manager. “When you live in an environment as beautiful as Taos Ski Valley, you can’t help but understand how important it is to reduce energy usage and do your part in cutting carbon emissions.”
Along with the five million kilowatt hours of energy offsets and the cleaner, more fuel-efficient snow machines, Taos Ski Valley also has a significant recycling program in place for residents and tourists.
It has reduced its consumption of water bottles by encouraging skiers and snowboarders to bring their own reusable water bottles. This season, in an effort to continue to reduce plastic waste, the Valley will be selling water in recyclable cardboard boxes, similar to juice boxes.
“I can’t think of anything more important than saving the natural landscape that is our home,” added Blake. “I hope that our skiing and snowboarding visitors this year will rally behind these eco-friendly measures and help us keep Taos Ski Valley green.”
The S.A.T.A (ski lift company) which runs the lifts and maintains the pistes at Alpe d’Huez has earned three separate levels of certification for its service management.
The company is now certified in terms of quality (ISO 9001), as well as in environmental management (ISO 14001) and security (OHSAS 18001).
“This triple certification will enable a fully integrated management system to better satisfy its clientele whilst continually bringing about improvements. It will alsoreinforce and up-date safety/security for clientele and personnel and recognize sources of pollution with the aim of effectively dealing with it.” said a resort spokesperson.
Alpe d’Huez is now planning a complete review of its operations to highlight issues in different projects. Different types of works are taken into consideration in order to forecast security measures and environmental issues. For example waste treatment must be managed, in particular for chemical products, so procedures need to be set up to deal with any potential pollution issues (engine failure with oil leaks, chemical products).
Impact studies concerning each potential new project will be done systematically for each project and there will be reductions in the number of new ski lift pylons, better integrating them in to the surrounding landscape.
Staff will be trained to have improved eco-awareness/sensitivity and grooming machine drivers will be trained to, “drive ecologically.”
There will also be pilot team of staff on site created to deal with internal environmental matters.
€150,000 is invested each year on selected seed-sowing.
In the resort’s town hall the community is launching a busy programme that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via a territorial energy plan. Their commitments include measuring the resort’s current carbon footprint in 2010 so that future improvements can be measured against the current level.
The Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale is the latest Alpine glacier to attempt to cover its surface with an insulating and reflective ‘blanket’ this summer in a bid to slow its rate of melting.
More than 90,000 square metres of the glacier, which was still open for skiing last month, has been covered with a thin reflective material, a process already being used my glaciers in Austria such as Pitztal and Stubai, and in Switzerland and on Germany’s Zugspitze which ended summer snow sports a few years ago. In France snowmaking has been tried on the glacier at Val d’Isere, which is one of three glaciers in the country still open for summer snow sports.
Small scale tests of the material used on the Presena glacier have shown that it reduces melt rates by up to 60%, potentially good news for the glacier which a study found lost nearly two-fifths of its mass in one decade alone up to 2003 due to global warming.
In its third year, the Big Spring Clean, a mountain clearing initiate from the Ski Club of Great Britain, has again proved a success with hundreds of volunteers heading to the Scottish mountains to clean up rubbish after an epic winter season.
In the resort of CairnGorm Mountain, where there was still skiing available on mid-summers weekend, many of the skiers, as well as plenty of walkers and dedicated litter pickers came along to pick up over 50 bags of litter. Around 80 people joined in the event on a fine day in the mountain resort.
In Nevis Range there were 46 volunteers who picked up 17 bags of litter, including many unusual items ranging from a New York bus ticket to a tin of sardines.
Katie Gotla from the Ski Club of Great Britain who co-ordinated the event at CairnGorm Mountain said: “Once again we have had a successful day of litter picking and have made a positive contribution towards the mountain and its habitats. As well as clearing the mountain from potentially damaging rubbish, organising the Big Spring Clean is also a fantastic way to raise awareness about the effects of dropping litter.”
Volunteer Jane Davey from Inverness who was clearing litter at CairnGorm said of the day: “I have had so many fantastic days on the mountain this season, the least I can do is give one back.”
The Big Spring Clean is part of the Ski Club of Great Britain’s Respect the Mountain* campaign which has been running since 2004.
Patrick Thorne and family
from Snow 24In its third year, the Ski Club of Great Britain’s ‘Big Spring Clean’ returns to the Scottish ski resorts of Cairngorm Mountain and Nevis Range on Sunday 20 June 2010. Taking place a month later than previous years due to a record breaking Scottish snow season, the event is a chance for mountain users to do their bit by picking up litter left by a season’s worth of visitors.
Last year saw 150 people take part in the event with over 50 bags of rubbish collected from the hillside. The rubbish that was cleared included hundreds of cigarette butts, a ski boot, a plastic sledge, broken ski poles, plastic bottles, cans, a bin lid and a Marathon chocolate bar wrapper dating from 1990, before the snack was re-branded as Snickers.
“We are delighted to be running the Big Spring Clean for the third year as part of our Respect the Mountain* campaign. As well as bringing people to the mountains to do their bit and clear away rubbish left during the ski season, we hope the event can raise awareness about the how damaging dropping litter can be and encourage people to take their waste home with them.” said Caroline Stuart-Taylor, Chief Executive of the Ski Club.
The infamous Marathon wrapperVolunteers are asked to meet at 10am at the bottom of the gondola at Nevis Range or the Ranger Base at Coire Cas on Cairngorm Mountain. Gloves and bags are provided for all litter pickers and for everyone who brings back a bag of litter, tea and cakes will be provided.
For more information on the Big Spring Clean visit www.skiclub.co.uk and for more information on the Respect the Mountain Campaign visit www.respectthemountain.com, supported by SCUK.
Next weekend, on the 29th & 30th of May, people all over Europe will be getting together for the Annual spring cleaning of the mountains. So that everybody can become aware of the impact rubbish has in the mountains, and people’s behaviour concerning their rubbish can be changed.
Although ski areas may seem clean when covered in snow, last year 30 tonnes of rubbish were picked up from the slopes of 55 ski resorts by that 3500 volunteers.
For the past 9 years the French environmental group for ski resorts, Mountain Riders, have been organising and coordinating the spring cleaning to raise awareness on the state of our outdoor playgrounds at the end of the ski season.
This year, Mountain Riders and their European partners: The ski club of Great-Britain, Respect the Mountains in the Netherlands and Summit Foundation in Switzerland are once again calling on everybody to join in with the European spring-cleaning.
In the UK the spring clean takes place at Cairngorm and Nevis Range in Scotland and will be three weeks later than in the Alps because of snow remaining on the slopes with Cairngorm still open for skiing and snowboarding.
From ski resorts to Mountain bike tracks, crags and other areas where you can go climbing, this year everybody has got involved in the mountain clean up. So why don’t you meet up with the locals at your local ski-resort or your favourite outdoor playground and help out. With over 140 events taking place in France, Scotland, Switzerland and Belgium, there’s no excuse not to be out there.
For a list of events and participating resorts, go to:
In its third year, the Ski Club of Great Britain’s ‘Big Spring Clean’, a Respect the Mountain* initiative, returns to the Scottish ski resorts of Cairngorm Mountain and Nevis Range on 20thJune 2010.
Taking place a month later than previous years due to the deep snow bases at the resorts, the event is a chance for mountain users to do their bit by picking up litter left by a season’s worth of visitors.
Last year saw 150 people take part in the event with over 50 bags of rubbish collected from the hillside. The rubbish that was cleared included hundreds of cigarette butts, a ski boot, a plastic sledge, broken ski poles, plastic bottles, cans, a bin lid and a Marathon chocolate bar wrapper dating from 1990, before the snack was rebranded as Snickers.
“We are delighted to be running the Big Spring Clean for the third year. As well as bringing people to the mountains to do their bit and clear away rubbish left during the ski season, we hope the event can raise awareness about the how damaging dropping litter can be and encourage people to take their waste home with them.” said Caroline Stuart-Taylor, Chief Executive of the Ski Club.
Volunteers are asked to meet at 10am at the bottom of the gondola at Nevis Range or the Ranger Base at Coire Cas on Cairngorm Mountain. Gloves and bags are provided for all litter pickers and for everyone who brings back a bag of litter, tea and cakes will be provided.
For more information on the Big Spring Clean visit skiclub.co.uk and for more information on the Respect the Mountain Campaign visit www.respectthemountain.com
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