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Green winter sports

Lift systems in French ski areas must from this winter provide information about their CO2 emissions. © twicepix / flickr.com

Ski areas are constructing climate-friendly lift facilities and France has now introduced a new law that obliges lift operators to provide information on CO2 consumption. A report on how ski areas are attempting to be environmentally friendly.
Most people know it's travelling to and from the destination that accounts for the majority of CO2 consumption during skiing holidays. France is now raising awareness of the levels of CO2 emissions caused by lift facilities - as from October 2013, lift operators will have to indicate their carbon footprint on ski maps and lift signs. Both the carbon dioxide consumed during the production and transport of fuel and that consumed during operation will be made public.
At the same time, ski areas in several Alpine countries are trying to improve their carbon footprint by using energy generated from renewable sources, for example the ski area of Les Carroz in the French department of Haute-Savoie, which recently commissioned a plant to produce energy from water and wind power, as well as using photovoltaic technology. There is also the "Magic Carpet" in the Austrian Zillertal Valley, a conveyor belt in the form of a 180-metre long tunnel whose photovoltaic system produces some 6,000 more kilowatt-hours of electricity than it consumes. Not so efficient is the attempt by the Salzstiegl ski area in Austria to cover all its electricity needs with a specially installed wind-power plant - although almost all the energy can be fed into the public grid during the summer months, additional energy is needed for the artificial snowmaking equipment in winter.

Sources and further information: http://legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte (fr), www.smartplanet.fr/smart-technology (fr), www.energiesystemederzukunft.at/results.html (de), http://i-magazin.at/erneuerbare-energie (de)