Ski vacations do not have the greenest of reputations! Indeed, between pollution and the destruction of nature, ski resorts have an ecological footprint that is far from being snow-white. Every year, nearly 11 million French skiers go to the mountains to ski down the slopes. But each year, 800,000 tons of CO2 are also emitted in the resorts.
In order to fight climate change and preserve the mountains for future generations, we must act now. This is why, in recent years, more and more European and French ski resorts have been implementing environmentally friendly practices. In particular, by promoting a sustainable form of mobility: public transportation, electric vehicles and the introduction of carpooling. Therefore, the MaaS represents an interesting opportunity for ski resorts by simplifying access to these new offers.
French ski resorts attract a lot of people
As one of the most attractive ski destinations, France has the largest ski area in the world. There are more than 350 ski resorts, mainly located in the Alps and the Pyrenees. Many of these resorts also enjoy an international reputation. Equipped with modern ski lifts, small village resorts and numerous linked ski areas, the ski offer is plethoric as is the diversity of experiences to be lived there.
France is the second-largest ski destination in the world. Indeed, in the 2017/2018 season, the French ski resorts recorded 53.8 million skier days. In first position, we find Austria with 54.5 million skier days. Finally, the United States completed the podium with 53.3 million skier days that year. It is interesting to note that 3 French resorts are among the top 10 ski resorts with the most visitors in the world. In first position is La Plagne, which is visited by approximately 2.4 million skiers each year. Les Arcs is in 3rd place with the reception of about 2.1 million visitors. Finally, about 2 million skiers visit the resort of Val-Thorens annually. This makes it 9th in the ranking.
Renowned worldwide for their size and variety, French resorts attract international visitors. In total, more than one skier out of four coming down our slopes comes from abroad. The British come first, representing no less than 10% of skiers. They are closely followed by the Belgians and the Dutch who represent 6% and 4% of the skiers each year.
An ecological footprint far from snow-white
Each year, 800,000 tons of CO2 are emitted in French stations. According to a study carried out by the National Association of Mountain Resort Mayors (ANMSM) and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) in a dozen resorts representative of mountain tourism, 57% of greenhouse gas emissions come from passenger transport. The energy use of buildings accounts for 27% of CO2 emissions. Lastly, 16% of emissions come from tertiary activities, particularly accommodation and shops.
44% of travel-related CO2 emissions are produced by foreign tourists, compared with 37% by residents and 19% by French visitors. Car emits 54% of greenhouse gases, far ahead of other means of transportation. As a result, the car represents one of the major issues for ski resorts. Despite this, the car is still the preferred mode of transportation. In fact, more than half of the visitors use their vehicles to get to the ski resorts. The plane is chosen in 35% of cases by travelers. Bus and train finally represent only 11% of home-ski trips.
Promoting sustainable mobility
Because mountains are a fragile ecosystem that must be protected, some resorts have decided to react. Many of them have decided to accelerate the ecological transition in the field of mobility. Their objectives are to promote a sustainable mobility. Ski resorts are now placing greater emphasis on public transportation, electric vehicles and carpooling.
Buses and shuttles
A number of transportation operators specializing in coach fleet management are involved in the development of this sustainable mobility. The advantages for passengers include cost and the possibility of last-minute bookings. Altibus, the first shuttle reservation portal for going to ski resorts in the Alps and Pyrenees, offers services to more than 80 resorts.
By train, it is possible to reach most of the ski resorts in France. The SNCF with the Occitanie Region proposes the Skirail offer. A formula including the train trip and an all-inclusive ski pass. As a bonus, the traveler benefits from 60% discount on his train ticket and from 10% to 50% discount on the ski lift pass. With Ouigo, its low-cost trains offer, the SNCF serves 38 ski resorts from Lyon St Exupéry station.
Thalys, a consortium of the SNCF and the SNCB (Belgian railway company) offers direct trips to the resorts of the Alps via its “Thalys Neige” offer.
By opting for the train, a skier greatly limits his or her carbon footprint since, on average, a trip by train emits 25 times fewer greenhouse gases than if he or she were alone in the car.
Electric cars and carpooling
In winter, twice as many trips to the mountains and ski resorts are available on the carpooling platform, BlaBlaCar. Proof of the growing interest of skiers in these new forms of mobility.
In recent years, we have seen the appearance of charging stations for electric cars in ski resorts. In France, about ten resorts have adopted this new feature. Resorts of Courchevel, Val Thorens and Chamonix are now equipped with them.
MaaS, a solution that simplifies access to this offer
Despite the resources put in place by ski resorts to promote sustainable mobility, the car remains the preferred means of transportation for passengers. One may wonder why? One notable reason is the difficulty to access to these offers. Indeed, more than 50% of the population feels that they are poorly informed about the mobility services available. As a result, they often prefer to use their own vehicle compared to other means of transportation. This is where MaaS (Mobility as a Service) solutions come into play.
No more need to download applications or create accounts to access means of transport! Travelers can actually plan any trip from the first to the last kilometer with ease.Thanks to MaaS solutions, access to resorts is made easier. No more wasting time in traffic jams or looking for a parking space. While reducing the flow of vehicles to the ski resorts, this solution promotes sustainable alternatives.
In a few words, the MaaS is a single platform that allows you to plan your visit to the resort and to book and pay for your transportation in a single payment. It’s a solution that can be deployed on a website, an application or on kiosks directly in stations. Via a mobility service distribution system, passengers will be able to compare the means of transportation available to get to ski resorts.