Eco-Friendly Ski Vacations: Merge Affordability with Sustainability

by Amanda Ellis | December 12, 2023

Are you ready to hit the slopes without significantly impacting the planet? Skiing is an exhilarating experience that many of us cherish and aim to preserve. However, the sport’s environmental impact is becoming increasingly apparent. Climate change’s effects are visible on the slopes, with inconsistent snowpacks and rising temperatures. This situation highlights the critical need for skiers to be mindful of their environmental impact, both while skiing and in their everyday lives, to ensure the longevity of winter sports.

The great news is that eco-friendly skiing can also be budget-friendly! This guide focuses on sustainable choices that keep your passion for skiing alive while helping to maintain greener mountains. Let’s explore how you can make your next ski trip both exciting and eco-conscious. Three friends share a ski lift together while wearing goggles on a sunny day.

Travel Smart: Carpooling, Public Transport, and Carbon Offsetting

One of the most significant environmental impacts of skiing comes from travel to and from the slopes. Making smart travel choices can greatly reduce your carbon footprint:

  • Carpooling: While the adage goes that there are no friends on a powder day, carpooling can significantly reduce emissions and add to the excitement of your trip. It’s eco-friendly, cost-effective, and reduces traffic congestion. Filling your car with friends or using services like RideSki can lead to considerable gas savings and drastically cut carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Public Transport: Many ski resorts offer shuttle services from nearby towns, which are excellent for reducing emissions. Ride-share services like Snow Pals facilitate carpooling between areas like the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe resorts. Some resorts, like Aspen Snowmass, provide incentives such as free parking for groups carpooling with four or more adults.
  • Offset Your Carbon: You can compensate for your travel-related emissions using websites like or By offsetting the carbon you emit, you contribute to environmental sustainability, making every trip more eco-responsible.

Backcountry Skiing and Splitboarding: Nature’s Slopes

A skier moving across terrain through a tree glade with mountains against a blue sky in the distance. Opt for backcountry skiing or splitboarding to reduce reliance on energy-intensive ski resort operations. This eco-friendly option also fosters a deeper connection with the natural world and encourages a sense of responsibility towards its preservation. By avoiding groomers, lifts, and snow-makers, you save on fossil fuels and avoid contributing to the clear-cutting of mountain habitats.

Reduce and Reuse: Mind Your Waste

The amount of waste accumulated at ski resorts by the end of the season is enormous. For example, a cleanup event at Eldora Mountain Resort last summer saw staff and volunteers collect over 4,000 pounds of refuse from the mountain. Every decision to reduce waste counts: Every eco-conscious decision counts, especially when it comes to waste management: A person's hands opening a reusable water bottle backdropped by mountain peaks.

  • Reusable Containers and Cutlery: Use your own water bottles, silverware, and containers to minimize plastic waste. Carrying a thermos for coffee and using reusable containers for snacks significantly reduce single-use plastics.
  • Eco Skiwear and Gear: Choose sustainable brands, rent equipment, or buy secondhand. If you’re skilled with needle and thread, you can repair minor damages yourself. Programs like Patagonia’s Worn Wear and The North Face’s Clothes the Loop help prolong the life of your gear. Supporting brands committed to recycled materials and ethical manufacturing practices ensures both durability and responsible consumption.

Plan Efficient Ski Vacations

Minimize your environmental impact by planning more efficient ski trips:

  • Reduced Vacation Commutes: Opt for longer stays at the slopes instead of multiple short trips. Choose accommodations close to ski areas to cut down on daily travel. By packing ski days back-to-back and sharing lodging with friends, you reduce both your lodging footprint and travel emissions.
  • Shop Local: Support local ski shops and reduce shipping emissions and packaging waste. This not only supports the local economy but also ensures that you contribute less to the carbon emissions associated with long-distance shipping.

Eco Eating on the Slopes

Sustainable eating is crucial for eco-friendly skiing:

  • Self-Catering: Prepare meals with locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients to lower your carbon ‘foodprint.’ Simple, nourishing meals like porridge, soups, and stews made from seasonal vegetables are ideal for fueling your ski activities.
  • Eat Local: If self-catering isn’t for you, opt for eco-friendlier dining options. Choosing locally sourced food, which has a lower carbon footprint due to reduced shipping, is a sustainable choice. For example, Ski Beat demonstrates how avoiding plastic and using local ingredients can decrease the carbon ‘food print’ associated with skiing. This company uses ceramic or biodegradable cups for hot drinks and collaborates with nearby suppliers and producers.

Your next ski trip can be an eco-friendly adventure that’s as exhilarating as it is responsible. By making small but impactful choices, from the way you travel to the way you eat, you help preserve the pristine nature of our beloved slopes. Embrace these sustainable practices and enjoy your ski vacations knowing you’re doing your part to protect our winter wonderlands for future generations.

Featured Resorts

More from the Blog