Conscious of skiers' impact on the natural surroundings, the French ski resorts of La Plagne, Risoul, Tignes, and Les Arcs are doing their bit to help protect the planet.
Risoul, in the southern Alps, is planning to start building a 76-unit apartment residence that complies with France's strictest environmental norms. Construction begins at the end of the season and this building will be the second of its kind in all of France.
La Plagne chose to outfit itself with a biomass heater which replaces the petrol heating system formerly used. The installation cost €4 million but supplies heat to nearly 90 percent of the resort. The biomass system burns mainly wood collected from freight palettes or debris from local saw mills. Two petrol heaters act as supplementary sources for end of the day heating or for extremely cold days.
Tignes and Les Arcs have both taken down lift towers, leaving less mark on the landscape without sacrificing their ski services. Tignes has taken down around 100 towers since 2004. Les Arcs has reduced its towers by nearly 10 percent and has taken down six lifts altogether. Les Arcs' lift authority has also signed agreements with local associations to promote the protection of local wildlife.
Transport remains the field in which French resorts must make the most improvement, with only 25 percent having easy access by public transportation.