Skiing and snowboarding are two of the best winter activities, loved by the majority of the outdoor tribe. Like many other activities practiced in nature, this too is a great one when you wish to escape the ordinary and live a day in contact with Mother Earth, doing what you love with those you love.
At the same time, when we choose to practice an activity in the outdoors, we have to keep in mind the carbon footprint we have on that same place, not just in terms of how we affect nature while we ski or snowboard, but also in terms of the carbon footprint related to the gear we use and the way we take care of it.
From the manufacture of a ski jacket, to the products we use on our boards, all the way to the exact moment when we are outside enjoying our day, it is vital that we pay attention to our choices.
Indeed, we at Apache Pine think that it is vital to take care of those same places that allow us to have such an amazing time, giving back to Earth all the beauty that she gives to us.
Starting from this premise, the same one behind each and every one of our products, here are some tips on how to keep you skiing and snowboarding sustainable and practice wintersports consciously.
How to keep wintersports green
Choose sustainable gear
Of course, one of the first steps to be environmentally responsible during our ski or snowboarding time is to choose our gear responsibly. Always ask yourself how something is made or where it comes from, not just in terms of production, but also when it comes to the places where the materials and fabrics originate from, how they where put together, how much shipment they had to go through before arriving at the shop or before getting to your door. Every single stage matters.
Inform yourself about which brands are the best when it comes to sustainability and responsible production. Compare products between them and remember that often a product that is more expensive money wise is less expensive for Mother Earth and will have a much lower carbon footprint. Of course, this is not the rule: some brands are just plain expensive, however don’t let a cheap price get in the way of your will to take care of the Planet.
Among equally sustainable products, you can refer to blogs, forums and reviews to understand which one is better. Remember that good quality means that a product will last longer, hence it's going to have you consume less.
Last but not least, as much as you may like following trends and being updated on the latest new items, try to stick to what you really need and don’t buy stuff that you already have just because you like it: consumerism is one of the greatest threats when it comes to sustainability.
On that note, recycle and donate gear. If you are looking for something for yourself, you might want to consider buying a second-hand item. The skiing and snowboarding community is full of second-hand markets and people who sell their like-new gear for very cheap prices. At the same time, if you realize you don’t need something anymore, sell it or donate it to someone who might still use it. You will make the life of that item longer, as well as that of Planet Earth.
Also, if you are not someone who goes skiing every weekend, then rent your gear instead of buying it: it most definitely is the most sustainable solution.
If you are not ready to face a day outside, especially in the cold, you might end up consuming twice as much as you are supposed to. You might end up buying on the spot that piece of gear you forgot, a plastic bottle of water to replace the reusable flask you left home, or a sandwich because you didn’t have enough time to make one for yourself with that perfectly enough food you already had in the fridge.
Plan ahead, don’t let disorganization get the best of your intentions to not use more than you need. The same goes for moving around and choosing where to go. Planning ahead might allow you and your friends to use fewer cars, or money or energy. You might share something that otherwise you would have to buy or consume double, including pieces of gear that you might want to purchase together, saving money and reducing stuff.
Also, sometimes you may need a permit to enter a specific area or to park your car, and maybe that permit has to be obtained a few days before going. You don’t want to drive all the way to a ski spot to find out about it, wasting fuel, time and other precious resources.
Also, why use your car to reach the slopes, when with a bit of extra research you might find there’s a great bus or train that will get you there? Some resorts and shops around your area might even run shuttle services to help you reach the location. Reach the skiing and snowboarding sites greenily if you can: 9 out of 10 times there’s a better option than your car. And if that’s the only solution, then look into carpooling and car sharing.
In general, planning ahead will be of great help for your responsible goals.
Leave no trace
After making sure that all the gear and products you are using are as much sustainable as possible, it’s time to think of the way you are going to experience the outdoors.
The golden rule to make sure to be as much environmental friendly as possible is to behave as if you were to leave no trace behind you. How? There are some actual principles to how to leave no trace when in the outdoors and they can be applied to all sorts of activities.
Some examples? Don't leave any trash behind (not even organic stuff such as fruit skins and nut shells), be considerate of the way you behave towards nature itself, especially when you are off track. If you think you might disturb some animals, refrain from doing something. Try not to break any vegetation and avoid doing anything that might destroy the surroundings. Avoid light fires and, if you really must, keep them small. Just because it’s wintertime and there’s snow around, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to set up big bonfires.
Choose green resorts
There’s plenty of structures all over the States (and the world in general) where you can spend your time in the snowy outdoors in a sustainable way in terms of room and board. Some use clean energy to make it possible, converting their entire operation to run on solar or wind power. Some others are built using 100% sustainable materials and keeping consumes low thanks to natural insulation and a sustainable way to manage the whole structure.
The same goes for ski shops where to buy or rent your gear. Look for the ones that pay special attention to environmental issues and make an actual effort to give back.
Also, always more shops and resorts offer you the option to buy a SkiGreen Tag along with your lift ticket. This way you can join the intent to neutralize the amount of carbon footprint you have during a ski trip.
Why is cross-country skiing the most sustainable way of skiing? Not using any chairlift, heated lodges and blasting snow machines, this kind of ski most definitely is very sustainable. And while many think it’s a discipline for the advanced riders, it’s not necessarily like this.
Indeed, like any other slope, cross-country skiing varies difficulty according to the place where you go. If you are a snowboarder you might have to add snowshoes to your gear, but the beauty of it will surely make up for the extra effort.
Choose cross-country as your skiing or snowboarding mode and you won’t be disappointed.