Seven Green Ski Resorts You Should Know About

From New Mexico’s high-altitude, low-impact runs to Avoriaz’s longstanding eco-friendly ethos and the Finnish spot that’s turning off its snow cannons, here’s where to enjoy a ski season that won’t cost the planet

downhill, slaloming around snow-capped trees, the crisp
alpine air kissing your cheeks: there are few better ways to
experience the majesty of the mountains than on skis. But with each
passing year, it’s becoming clearer that from the Alps to Aspen, our snow-globe landscapes are in serious

The beginning of 2023 has seen record-breaking temperatures recorded in eight
European countries, with unprecedented winter heatwaves in Denmark,
Poland, the Czech Republic and elsewhere. Alpine adventures have
been cut short by a lack of snowfall, while some Swiss resorts have
even reopened their summer biking and hiking trails in what is
meant to be the depths of winter.

Snowy seasons are getting shorter, fresh powder levels are
dropping fast (estimates suggest the Alps may lose as much as 70
per cent of current snow volume by the end of this century, and,
over the last 100 years, temperatures in the region have already
risen by twice as much as the global average), with the increasing
melt of glaciers destabilising both high-altitude communities and
those down in the valleys beneath the world’s most famous ski
resorts. Did you know that one third of ski resorts in the French
Alps are struggling with drinking-water shortages? Climate change
is hitting the ski industry – and the mountain environments it
depends on – hard.

At SUITCASE, we like to be practical. Ski resorts don’t have the best record when it
comes to sustainability – and touching down in Davos every few
weeks certainly isn’t green. But, just as a world without travel
would have a catastrophic impact on those whose livelihoods depend
on it, closing down the slopes would be disastrous for the people
who rely on the winter sports economy. The good news is, there are
steps we can take to support ski communities while continuing to
catch thrills on high – even if that means committing to taking
trains to the Alps, offsetting our carbon costs and cutting back on
the snow adventures.

To survive, the world of skiing needs our help. The best way to
support it? By seeking out the resorts committed to changing their
ways and offering a sustainable solution. Here are the destinations
going green to keep the snow on the slopes (though we can’t promise
white mountains this winter).

Green skis, white slopes: seven eco-friendly ski resorts around
the globe

Rocksresort in Laax, Switzerland
Image credit: Nicholas Iliano


Graubünden, Switzerland

Laax has good reason to fight hard to tackle the current climate
crisis: the region is home to some of Switzerland’s best off-piste
terrain and, in recent years, shortening winter seasons have left
its killer free runs a bit patchy. Locals are seeing first-hand the
impact of warming temperatures; the nearby Vorab Glacier, with its
famously sharp slopes, is in retreat. So, understandably, there are
big plans in the Graubünden resort: forget baby steps, they’re
leapfrogging into the future. Laax has pledged to be the first
self-sufficient, closed-system ski resort. The entire resort runs
on hydropower, with plans to build a wind farm, too. New gondolas
will soon run on an as-needed basis and, when you’re whizzing
between the resort’s three main villages, you’ll be catching a lift
in an electric car or on the new Laax E-Shuttle. They’re not
forgetting the small stuff, either. Need to wax your skis? Rental
stores in Laax Flims offer plant-based products, following research
that found conventional waxes can take thousands of years to
degrade. Plus, when you hit the slopes, you can use a wooden
Last Day
on the lifts. All proceeds are passed on to a non-profit
whose aim is to preserve and protect the Vorab Glacier.

Where to stay: rocksresort

Where to eat: Riders
vegetarian restaurant

A bedroom view at Le Monetier in Serre Chevalier

Serre Chevalier

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France

Serre Chevalier eschews the glitz and glamour of France’s most
famous ski resorts in favour of a low-key, unpretentious approach,
which happens to fit neatly into its sustainability strategy.
Accessible from the UK by train, the collection of old villages –
including one that is a Unesco World Heritage site – are strung out
across out across a heavily wooded valley, offering old-world charm
by the bucketful: think cobbled streets, low-rise chalets, historic
old walls and an aversion to anything energy-gobbling. The lowdown
up here is that snow cannon use is being reduced in the resort –
and all villages are moving to solar or wind-power consumption. On
the area’s wooded slopes, you’ll find more than 80 runs that are
accessible by solar-powered ski lifts, plus a variety of quirky
alternative activities that are low-fi and low-carbon. Switch
snowmobiling for ski joëring – harnessing yourself and your skis to
a galloping horse (yes, really) – or slow down with a meditative
snowshoeing session through Écrins National Park. The protected
terrain of tumbling glaciers and crystalline waterfalls is home to
an encyclopedic array of wildlife, including allegedly, the odd

Where to stay: L’Hôtel Le

Where to eat: Trinquet des Boussardes

Skiing off-piste in Pyhätunturi
Image credit: Pyhätunturi Oy / Jani Karppa


Pyhätunturi, Finland

Net zero carbon footprint achieved in 2011? Check. Using snow
fences to collect the white stuff and reduce the use of snow
cannons? Check. A social responsibility plan to support local
communities? Check. Electric vehicle charging stations, recycling
stations and renewable energy use? Check! The family-run resort of
Pyhä might be
super-serious about achieving its goal of being the world’s
cleanest ski destination, but skiing at this Finnish spot is
laid-back and low-key. There’s a small but diverse range of runs –
wide, and quiet for beginners, with black piste heart-stoppers for
thrill-seekers wanting to try their luck against the national ski
team, which carves up the steep Huttu-Ukko slope. The Scandinavian
countries tend to get overlooked when we’re planning our ski
season, but this Lapland spot offers something uniquely different.
Get a taste for Finnish culture with local dishes of reindeer and
foraged berries, try your hand at ice fishing or head out on
snowmobile in search of the northern lights – from a resort that’s
as green as an aurora display.

Where to stay: Phyä Igloos

Where to eat: Restaurant Aihki

The unique architecture of Avoriaz 1800
Image credit: @Scottire8538


Morzine, France

The angular architecture of Avoriaz has long showcased this
French ski resort’s intent to stand out. Rustic,
weathered and distinctly modernist, the ski hub has banned the use
of cars since its creation in the Sixties, meaning its streets are
mercifully free of emissions and belching exhausts. Efficiency was
built into its unique infrastructure, too. Take the roof shape of
most buildings in the town. Built to mimic the dramatic drops of
the surrounding landscape, they maintain snow to help insulate the
homes beneath. You’ll notice that most of the residences face
south, too – a design feature whose purpose is to maximise daylight
hours. Everything here, including the grooming machines, runs on
biofuel – except the snowmobiles, which are electric. And the
eco-snow park for snowboards? Built from fallen trees, of

Where to stay: Hôtel des

Where to eat: La Crémaillère (4880 Rte des
Lindarets, 74110 Montriond, France)

Snowboarders walking in Marmot Basin, Alberta

Marmot Basin

Alberta, Canada

Carving up freshies on a fine winter’s morning, it’s easy to
forget that most mountains are also important ecological habitats.
Not so at Marmot Basin, where wildlife always comes first, thanks
to a visionary plan to preserve and protect it. Popular with
Edmonton weekenders, this low-key ski spot shares its uncrowded
high-altitude runs with bears, short-tailed weasels and the hulking
form of the endangered woodland caribou. The Jasper National Park
resort carefully manages snow-grooming to protect vegetation in the
900m vertical-drop valleys, and there’s a serious effort in place
to protect local water sources from contamination. Impressively,
Marmot Basin has also reduced its carbon footprint by over 10,000
tons per year. So, when you’re slinging switchbacks down the
recently opened Tres Hombres, keep a close eye out for teddies
enjoying the fresh powder, too – you might be in for an unexpected
Super-G rally with a grizzly.

Where to stay: Pyramid Lake Resort

Where to eat: Jasper Brewing

The mountains of Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

Taos Ski Valley

New Mexico, USA

Beloved by big-mountain skiers, this Sangre de Cristo valley
town is a ski destination powered by contrasts. An offbeat mix of
classic alpine ambience with a hispanic edge, you’ll find Bavarian
eateries serving bratwurst sitting snug beside burrito-rolling
restaurants, not to mention plenty of fresh powder in a state more
commonly known for its desert expanses. It’s also the first major
ski resort in the world to receive B-Corp certification, thanks to
its commitment to fulfil its published list of 101 environmental
and social initiatives, including switching to 100 per cent solar
power, turning food waste into compost for local farmers and
employing a living-wage standard. Those who stay at The Blake will
find local goods put to use across the hotel – including High Desert
and Chokola chocolate – and the resort rolls profits into
charitable endeavours, such as getting underprivileged children out
onto the slopes.

Where to stay: The

Where to eat: Doc Martin’s restaurant, Taos

A mountain ski view in Saas-Fee, Switzerland
Image credit: ©SaastalTourismusAG / AmarcsterMedia


Valais, Switzerland

Crowned by a ring of icy four-thousanders (peaks measuring
4,000m or more) and almost 20 glaciers, Saas-Fee has long
acknowledged the need to protect and preserve the unique mountain
landscapes around it. In 1951, the village banned conventional cars
and, more recently, became the country’s first carbon-neutral
municipality, thanks to its use of hydropower and solar power.
Getting to the high-altitude slopes that cross the Dom and
Allalinhorn glaciers will involve jumping aboard one of the
emissions-free electric ski buses, before chasing thrills down the
glacier runs.

Where to stay: Walliserhof Grand-Hotel & Spa

Where to eat: Zur

This article was updated 4 January 2022.

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