Carbon offset ski holidays – net zero to The Alps.

Carbon offset ski holidays - net zero to The Alps.

Snowfinders is all too aware of the environmental impact that we cause by pursuing our passion of skiing. As skiers and boarders we love the mountains, the alpine wilderness that transports us from the daily toils of an advanced economy lifestyle to the beating heart of mother nature.  The Alps is a delicate ecosystem of flora, fauna, running and frozen water. Over the last 20 years we have first handedly witnessed glacial retreat and drastically reduced snow levels to valley floor villages. Not only does this affect our ability to ski but more importantly it affects the habitat of these wonderful environs.; animals and plant life are experiencing catastrophic changes to those that they have enjoyed for a millennia. Regardless of our selfish reasons to preserve the Alps, we all have an environmental responsibility to at least cover our tracks (forgive the pun).
"We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children." Ancient Native American saying.
We all have the right to travel and travel in itself is an education; it broadens horizons. Travel affords new experiences and understandings on a physically-geographic, political, cultural and social level. But with this, comes both a price and a responsibility; the very least we can do is to try to offset some of the negative impacts of our tourism.
What is the environmental cost of flying to the Alps? Check it here.
Let's take a look at the impact of a standard week in the Alps on a flight inclusive holiday as opposed to a week at home and try and understand what additional footprint we are leaving on mother earth. This isn't scientific, we aren't scientists or data analysists or environmentalists, we just sell skiing holidays. Think of this as more of the musings of a ski holiday specialist so please, don't be too harsh.  
  1. Travel to and from the airport in a car (yes I know many of our London based clients will take the train or tube but for those outside of London trains and early morning flights do not work).
  2. Flying to and from one of the Alpine gateway airports.
  3. Transfer to and from resort. This is usually on a shared package holiday coach method or private transfer. Some (very few) may also take a rail transfer.
  4. In resort bus services to and from the slopes.
  5. This is where it gets interesting and we have no data on this. Whilst points 1 - 4 can be quantified with carbon offset calculators, we are not sure the following can be. The cost of skiing in resort. Water to supply snow making machinery. Power to generate the lift system. Facilitation of  piste maintenance and security- snowploughs, piste bashers, avalanche detonation, emergency rescue operations (helicopters, snow mobiles) etc.
As a niche owner managed ski specialist travel provider we aren't in a position to change the world but we want to set an example to our industry in doing our bit to effect change in the hope that the major players such as Inghams and Crystal (TUI Ski) will follow suit and that our actions will be the new norm for decades to come.  We can't cover the costs of 1-5 as above, surely those elements should be covered by the primary suppliers of each component? But, what we can and are doing is covering point 2.

That is why we have taken the bold step to ensure that all of Snowfinders' flight inclusive guests travelling to The Alps will be at net zero. 

We will ask for traveller contributions for this amount, but when travellers decline we will take up the slack and pay this, meaning that that all of our Alpine flying guests will be net zero for that portion of their holiday..... it's not everything but it's a start. To our knowledge, Snowfinders is the first ski travel company to embark on such an initiative and we are proud to begin our duty to the planet.
Snowfinders has teamed up with World Land Trust, an esteemed international conservation charity sporting patrons including Sir David Attenborough, Steve Backshall (MBE), David Gower (OBE), and Chris Packham (CBE).

You can start your journey into responsible tourism by offsetting your flights here

A return flight from Gatwick to Geneva is just £3.34, you wont even get half a pint in Val d'Isere for that! Just a little goes a long way.
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