Inghams – which has reported that more people are turning to higher, snowier resorts with each end of the season – announced a sustainability program in March 2022, offsetting flights and ground operations with carbon credits and s partnering with Protect Our Winters UK to commit to a more sustainable future while supporting rewilding projects.
Several resorts are going carbon neutral or launching other programs, but that largely generates goodwill, not bookings.
The most notable change is from plane to train. Last season, the French company Travelski Express took over the long-running Eurostar ski train exclusively for its holidays. It carried over 5,000 skiers last winter, and this season it has added three more resorts to its list, including Courchevel and Val Thorens. An early Saturday departure from London St Pancras International and a late Saturday return allows for a full seven days of skiing.
The price is a big draw – seven nights from £569 including lift pass, transfers and accommodation – but travelers also love the adventure of train travel and the environmental benefits of a train carrying more than 600 skiers. “Each trip emits less than a quarter of the CO2 of a flight, and you are directly in the heart of the Alps”, explains Guillaume de Marcillac, CEO of Travelski. “Each train can carry the equivalent of three plane loads and there is no charge for skis or extra luggage.”
However, a do-it-yourself train holiday using regular services, with individual changes and transfers, can be a costly headache. But ski train champion Snowcarbon works with smaller operators to create bespoke packages.
Pierre et Vacances, the French apartment rental giant, says its parking bookings have increased, suggesting moving to the road. It also offers changes on Sundays to take advantage of cheaper flights.
But climate change continues to impact the mountains themselves. The summer heat wave forced the French resort of Tignes to end glacier skiing 14 days after the start of its six-week run. The resort used to be open year round, but now the future of all summer skiing is in question.
Elsewhere, the Marmolada glacier in the Italian Dolomites partially collapsed due to summer heat, killing a number of climbers. Late season skiing is increasingly unreliable at lower resorts and operators often end their season early.
Les Portes du Soleil, the Franco-Swiss ski area with over 400 miles of pistes, looks to the future. “Some stations are forced to adapt their opening and closing times,” said a spokesperson. Avoriaz, the highest station in the Portes du Soleil, at 1,700 meters above sea level, opens before and closes after the 12 other stations. “We had to accelerate the diversification of activities. If there is no snow in December, the resorts open their bike parks.
“People want high-altitude resorts, but there will be limits and a saturation of high-altitude ski areas. There will be no more space on the slopes and the prices will increase.