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Can Skiing Be Sustainable? | Laax: “Green” Wintersport In The Swiss Alps | Euromaxx

Can Skiing Be Sustainable? | Laax: “Green” Wintersport In The Swiss Alps | Euromaxx


Perched high in one of Europe’s largest ski
areas is Switzerland’s Laax region. A prime winter sports destination, it’s set
to become the first energy-self-sufficient, carbon-neutral winter resort in the Alps. With the help of GPS, snow cannons use lesswater and energy, and these snow groomers have hybrid drive. We find it very important, that we take care
of the environment. Because we want our grandchildren to be able
to ski here too. And of course it is the essence to not destroy the planet and to not destroy a paradise like this. We’ve got to try and change how we live. And what we do. And if Laax is taking steps to do that, it
is great. But not everybody sees things quite as optimistically. Barbara Wülser of the International Commission
for the Protection of the Alps takes a more critical view of the Laax’ initiative. Sustainable relaxation is the business of
hotel buildings in Laax that were made from local materials and designed to be energy-efficient. The ‘Riders Hotel’ was conceived to impart
to its guests a holistic consciousness. The minimalistic interiors are meant to reject
a throwaway mentality. The foyer is furnished with vintage pieces. And the restaurant only offers vegetarian
dishes. Chef Pascal Bertschinger cuts back on CO-2
by cooking with the electricity supplied to the hotel by hydro-electric and solar power
plants. Even so, Barbara Wülser isn’t impressed. Tenna is in the Safiental valley, about 30
kilometers from Laax. The hamlet with barely 100 inhabitants rents
simple guest rooms to tourists. The tow lift is powered with solar energy. Edi Schaufelberger is one of Tenna’s residents. He’s committed to developing low-impact tourism. Most of the tourists who come to Tenna arrive
by bus, rather than by car. That helps cut down down their carbon footprint. But not all skieers can go to small resorts
like Tenna. The big winter sports hubs have to take action,
too. Skiing with a clear conscience? Laax is doing its part to keep environmentally-aware
skiers on the slopes.

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