The French ski resort of Les Arcs has been awarded the Flocon Vert (Green Snowflake) label, the first resort in Savoie to attain the mark which shows a commitment to sustainable development.
“Obtaining this label, which is awarded by the long-established Mountain Riders organisation, which has worked for nearly 20 years to encourage ski resorts to work to minimise their impact on the environment, is an important step in Les Arcs’ goal to become a more responsible destination and is part of a continuous improvement process,” a spokesperson for the resort said.
It has been almost a year since Les Arcs launched a bid to be awarded the Flocon Vert. In that time the Mountain Riders team have regularly met with local figures and businesses to construct action plans, as well as making field visits to the resort, before finally making the award this month.
The Flocon Vert label was created in 2011 to support ski resorts making eco-responsible actions. The label is issued based on compliance with 20 criteria divided into four themes: local economy, social & cultural, governance & destination and environment & natural resources.
Obtaining the Flocon Vert label allows Les Arcs to better formalise its objectives, knowing the resort’s strengths and where they need to improve. After being awarded the Flocon Vert, the real hard work then starts. Mountain Riders will continue to support Les Arcs and follow the actions put in place. Every three years, the resort will also be re-challenged and will have to engage in more and more demanding actions.
Several sustainable actions will be carried out this winter in Les Arcs. A new, key project for the resort is the # Drinklocal campaign – and will start the resort’s journey towards “Zero plastic”. Considering that more than 1,000,000 plastic bottles are consumed each year in the area of Les Arcs – Bourg Saint Maurice, and that these polluting bottles travel on average 300 km, the environmental impact of water in a bottle is 450 times that of tap water.
Visitors to Les Arcs are being encouraged to drink tap water, and new water fountains have been installed in the ski area (departure of the Cachette, Pré Saint Esprit and Marmotte chairlifts). Skiers can also buy reusable water bottles in shops across the resort.
At a municipal level, there are projects such as Cap Energie – which aims to reduce the energy impact of tourist, cultural and educational infrastructures, as well as street lighting. Plus, the installation of solar panels on ski lifts and updates to the funicular from Bourg Saint Maurice to Arc 1600.
On the slopes the first ‘high performance energy chalet’ has just been built at the start of the chairlift of Lanchettes. Particularly efficient in terms of insulation, this type of construction means energy consumption is halved compared to a classic installation. This chalet is a pilot project which will then be rolled out across the ski area.
The ski area has also carried out a carbon review of its activities. Not surprisingly, transport is one of the most polluting factors. The resort is therefore committed this winter to equip itself with a fleet of electric vehicles for the Les Arcs team. A hydrogen-fueled vehicle will also be even tested.
In Les Arcs, all events hosted in the resort must respond to clear eco-commitments. Some of the resort’s events are leading by example:
Les Arcs Film Festival in December offers the “Green Lab Cinema”: films dealing with the environment and a “Cinema and Environmental Commitment”: film debates and meetings with committed personalities.
Les Arcs Feel Good Village, taking place in April 2021, is an eco-village run in accordance with a sustainable vision of outdoor practices.
Stop Waste Tour Les Arcs is an operation to collect waste from the mountains in the spring. The 2020 edition brought together more than 300 participants who collected almost 700 kg of waste.