Ski holidays

snowboard, skiing and winter sports.
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Skiing and Snowboarding

So where is the sustainability in skiing? You jet off to a foreign resort, where artificial snow is being laid on mountains that have been cleared to provide a good piste surface, and stay in an apartment that is unaffordable to a local resident and only occupied for a limited season.

Skiing is the one activity where you can actually see the results of global warming, as the glaciated ice caps retreat and ski seasons get shorter.

Nonetheless it is possible to enjoy your skiing in a more responsible way, and here are a few suggestions on things to think of:

  • Organise your itinerary to travel by train rather than fly to reduce carbon emissions. Rail Europe's Snow Train travels from St Pancras to Les Trois Vallées, Paradiski, Mont Blanc and Espace Killy, covering many of the best known French resorts. The train includes sleeping accomodation and even has a disco carriage.
  • Book your accommodation direct with local owners and use local restaurants to help support the local economy.
  • Ask your tour operator to show you their Responsible Tourism Policy. Have they signed up for any environmental charters such as the National Ski Area Association Sustainable Slope environmental charter in the USA. Ski resorts in the USA and Canada are also graded for environmental performance by the Ski Area Citizens' Coalition.
  • Don't restrict your skiing to graded slopes -why not ski cross-country to minimise the environmental impact on hard pressed areas.
  • Try to avoid damaging the sensitive habitat of mountain plants and animals, especially the delicate shoots of new growth when it appears....and of course it goes without saying that you should bring all your rubbish back down from the mountain with you.

Do enjoy your skiing and hopefully with a bit of care the resorts will be available for many years to come.

White Pod, Switzerland

Described by Geographic magazine as the "coolest place you've ever been", this is a unique alpine resort set in the Swiss Alps at an altitude of1400m. The camp is made up of of nine dome-shaped pods and a main lodge that is accessed on foot or skis.

Useful Resources:

  • Arctic Discovery -suppliers of Activity Holidays in Lapland & Northern Sweden.
  • Crystal Ski Holidays -one of the top ski tour operaters, offering holidays and chalets in Andorra, Austria, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Norway, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and USA.
  • Erna Low -personalised ski holidays in the French Alps.
  • Inghams Travel. Tour operator offering ski holidays in Europe and N America, lakes & mountains holidays, city breaks and French Villas.
  • Neilson -experts in year round active holidays.
  • Pierre et Vacances -winter sports accomodation in France and Italy.
  • Ski Pass -started in 1997, is the leading french speaking website dedicated to snow sports, and covering the freeride and freestyle scene, ski and snowboard, from France to the X-Games in Colorado. Largely in French, but some great images.
  • Ski the edge -ski and snowboarding holidays at French youth hostels.
  • Ski Solutions -specialist ski travel agency.
  • UPCA -packages for 18-39 years in Chamonix, Val d'Isere, Flaine, La Plagne, Les Arcs, Tignes and Val thorens.

Ski Equipment:

  • Field and Trek -one of the UK's leading technical retailers of outdoor clothing and equipment, supplying everything for walking trips, camping holidays, backpacking & trekking expeditions, mountaineering & climbing, adventure racing and travel.

Dry slopes:


  • Banff - Lake Louise, Canada -Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine is the joint venture company of three world-class ski resorts in Banff National Park; Ski Banff in the heart of the Rockies - Norquay, Lake Louise, & Sunshine Village.
  • Cervinia, Italy -this resort on the Italian side of the Matterhorn at 2050m altitude is notable for being snow sure.
  • Flaine, France -resort in the Northern French Alps - between Geneva and Chamonix with 265km of prepared ski runs.
  • Killington, Vermont USA -describes irself as New England's premier ski destination with the hottest nightlife.
  • Levi -Finland -snow is guaranteed throughout the winter in this resort located north of the Arctic Circle in Finland.
  • Obertauern, Austria -purpose built resort in the Tuaern peaks.
  • Saas Fee, Sitzerland -picturesque village set against a glacial backdrop reached by cable car, describes itself as the pearl of the alps.
  • Ski Scotland -the official site for Scotlands five ski resorts -Cairngorm, Glencoe, Glenshee, the Lecht and Nevis Range.
  • Soelden, Austria -high altitude resort with glacier skiing and dramatic views.
  • Val d'Isere, France -
  • Val Thorens, France -located in the vast Trois Vallées, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in western Europe with 600km of prepared piste
  • Villars-Gryon, Switzerland -families are very welcome in these resorts located in the Swiss Alps at the eastern end of Lake Geneva.
  • Winter Park, Colorado -US ski resort, just over an hour from Denver.

General information:

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Featured books:
Where to Ski and Snowboard 2008
Chris Gill and Dave Watts Paperback -15 Sep 2007
Price in UK pounds

Top 50 Ski and Snowboard Resorts in Europe 2008-2009 Pat Sharples and Vanessa Webb
Paperback -14 Sep 2007
Price in UK pounds
Price in US dollars

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