Snow-sure ski resorts

1 February 2023

All-in-all, snow-sure areas will also struggle

Winter sports enthusiasts are increasingly searching online for snow-sure ski resorts. This is according to figures from NS International. The provider of international train travel sees a 133% increase in the Google search engine compared to previous years. The search term 'sneeuwhoogtes' (ie snow hieghts) has also increased by 900% in the past 12 months. If winter sports enthusiasts want to be sure of white slopes in the future, something needs to be done, warns Paul Peeters, lecturer in Sustainable Tourism and Transport.

Paul Peeters, ©BUAS/Paul van Rijckevorsel

Future lies at the summit

Even snow-sure areas like Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), Bourg St.Maurice or Ischgl (Austria) will find it more difficult, predicts Paul Peeters, lecturer in Sustainable Tourism and Transport at Breda University of Applied Sciences.
"For snow security, winter sports enthusiasts will have to go to higher areas in the future. The height increases every year,” Peeters says, "And when you climb a mountain, there is less and less space available. It also takes more energy to get people to higher areas. So, all-in-all, those snow-sure areas will also struggle more."

Winter sports resorts seek alternatives

Peeters sees ski areas searching for options as the season with snow security shortens. A good example is Austria's Werfenweng, where sustainable choices are consciously made. Here, winter athletes are picked up by a shuttle from the nearest train station free of charge. "This saves an awful lot of emissions," the professor continues. "You also see that lower lying ski resorts are looking for alternatives. Focusing less on winter sports, but offering winter walks or other winter experiences, for example."

Sustainable winter sports

If winter sports enthusiasts want to continue to have snow security every year, they should look for a more sustainable way of winter sports. For this reason, Peeters makes an appeal. “Regardless of the fact that people enjoy it and many villages have made themselves dependent on winter sports, there is a lot wrong with winter sports in terms of sustainability," Peeters explains. "Just think of snow cannons, which require a lot of water that is stored in constructed basins in summer. The result: dehydration of nature. Not to mention the transportation to get there."
Do you still want sustainable winter sports? Peeters has some tips. “First off, never go by plane. And when you reach your destination: stay on the slopes. This sounds like a simple solution, but so many people don't do this. Skiing off-slope, you not only run the risk of accidents, but you also disturb nature. You can also consciously choose areas where snow cannons are no longer used."

Compare CO2 emissions to the snow

Below is a table comparing the CO2 emissions of the train with car and air travel. The trips are measured from Amsterdam; the number mentioned is CO2 emissions in kilograms. The numbers are per person. For the car, a middle-class car for 4 people running on euro6 is used. The data comes from

Destination Train Car Airplane Header
Oberstdorf 33.5 38.1 207.4 Content
Bourg St. Maurice 37.3 36.6 207.4 Content
Landry 13.7 41.6 125.2 Content
Paradiski 13.6 41.8 125.2 Content
St. Georges de Commiers 13.5 44.5 133.5 Content
Rouen Rive Droite 10.0 24.4 108.1 Content
Zell am See 32.2 43.4 217.5 Content
Ischgl 36.8 44.1 217.5 Content
Radstadt 37.1 45.0 217.5 Content
Ötztal Bahnhof 32.5 38.8 134.5 Content
Tauplitz 38.3 45.9 217.5 Content

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