Chemmy's Quest: Winter Holidays and Sustainability
Can skiing and sustainability go hand in hand? Chemmy Alcott went to Austria to check out initiatives aiming to make winter holidays more eco-friendly.
Gliding down the slopes all morning, with new stunning winter panoramas awaiting around ever corner, Kaiserschmarren at a cosy hut for lunch, then some more outdoorsy exercise before watching the sunset in a deckchair amidst snow-covered peaks: Ski holidays the Austrian way are legendary. But are they sustainable too? With many winter fans increasingly concerned about their carbon footprint, it's time to take a closer look at possibilities to make ski holidays more environmentally friendly - and a way to bring winter sports and nature in harmony together.
We sent Olympic skier and BBC "Ski Sunday" presenter Chemmy Alcott to Austria to check out three best-practice sustainability initiatives first-hand.
I’m passionate about protecting the planet. And I also want my children to continue to live out their love of skiing in winter.
There are only 5 things in our artificial snow: water of drinking quality, cold temperatures, green energy power, the best know-how, and the best team imaginable.
- Green power: The region Seefeld uses 100% eco-friendly electricity, including for its infrastructure and snowmaking. While this comes from mainly hydropower, they are also expanding their photovoltaics facilities and encourage all local businesses to switch too.
- Public transport: The region encourages guests to arrive by public transport. Free use of the ski buses is included in the ski pass, and the guest card available at hotels and guest houses doubles as a ticket for regional transport.
- Sustainable food: Seefeld’s restaurants have a strong focus on local produce, including game and fresh fish. Vegetarian and vegan dishes are also constantly added to menus to reduce CO2 emissions.
This is not just a marketing project. The end goal is to involve as many people as possible to ensure the entire region is sustainable.
- Solar systems and wood chip fuel: 100% of the hotel’s electricity comes from a mix of solar, wind and hydro power, while the heating runs on wood chipping fuel. The hotel also plans to build its own wood chipping plant.
- From the garden to the plate: Klosterbräu grows vegetables and fruits in its garden, has 200 chicks (eggs), cows (milk) and a bee farm (for honey/cosmetic products). 50% of their menu is vegetarian/vegan.
- Waste reduction: The hotel aims to reduce its emissions per overnight stay from 20 kg to 12 kg by 2030. They have banned plastic bottles; kitchen waste is used to produce compost or feed their animals.
- E-mobility: Guests arriving by public transport can book the hotel’s free e-shuttle service. E-scooters and e-bikes are also free of charge.
We opened our farm two years ago. The next project is to grow even more veggies and fruits, like apples for our own schnapps.