What’s hot: 5 cool moves to protect our pow

Winter is here. Thank the heavens, or the snow gods, or the powder pixies – whatever is your personal preference, it’s certainly looking good in the Alps so far. So here’s a little shout out for 5 cool moves to help keep it that way.

1. Greener grooming

Pistenbully 600E+

Hybrid pistebasher (credit: Pistenbully)

Two French resorts – the 3 Valleys and Serre Chevalier – have each acquired a brand new, more eco-efficient pistebasher for greener grooming this winter. The Pistenbully 600E+ is a diesel-electric hybrid that harnesses the energy on the downrides, enabling a 20% reduction in both NOx and CO2 emissions and a 20% drop in fuel consumption, according to its makers.

2. Clean lines
free navette poster

Free navette to Serre Chevalier

The Serre Chevalier valley is organising a free navette service from the TGV station in Modane to make it easier to take the train to the slopes. It’s only in peak season for now but show your support and maybe they’ll extend it. Reservation required.

3. Powering up

renewable electricity certificate

Les Gets signs up to use 100% renewable electricity

Les Gets is now getting all the electricity to run its lifts from renewable sources under a new contract with EDF.

4. Sharing the stoke

eco guide

Mountain Riders Eco Guide

Mountain Riders, the France-based organisation promoting sustainable development in the mountains, has published its newly updated Eco-Guide to mountain resorts. Useful information, no moralising.

5) Make it last

These past couple of weeks I’ve been in the US where I got a glimpse of the shopping frenzy that is Black Friday. It was scary. So this last one is a tip of my old ’70s wooly ski hat to Patagonia for their Worn Wear campaign, complete with Worn Wear parties in-store and repair your old gear clinics. Brilliant.


People like this guy are the future of sustainable mountain tourism

Mountain people often wear several hats. Many of the ski instructors in Les Contamines are also carpenters, builders, farmers, or in one case, the mayor. A few weeks ago I went to a talk by the side of the Mer de Glace given by a young glaciologist, Ludovic Ravanel, as part of the Mont Blanc Versant Durable ecotourism event. From a famous Chamonix mountain guiding family, he is himself mountain leader, climbing instructor, holds a doctorate in geography, conducts research and acts as a consultant into the effects of climate change on glaciers and the mountains around his home. It helps, he says, to be able to do more than one thing. Being a climber, he could place temperature sensors into the sides of the mountain to measure the receding permafrost. He is also regularly on hand at Montenvers to talk to tourists about the glacier and answer questions. The Mer de Glace is still about 90m deep there but don’t wait too long to go and see it – it’s losing 5-6m in depth a year… You can still step into an ice cave dug into the depths of the glacier and the new Glaciorium is now open.