If you head to Colorado’s ski country the moment the first snowflake falls, you will want to keep reading for suggestions on incorporating sustainable skiing practices into your next trip.

At MER, we take our role as stewards of the great outdoors seriously. That means finding ways to enjoy Colorado’s natural resources while leaving no trace, no matter the season.

But in winter, we turn our attention to Colorado’s great winter sports, including skiing and snowboarding. And with growing concerns about climate change, understanding our environmental footprint becomes even more critical.

The solution lies in sustainable skiing—a responsible approach that allows us to enjoy skiing and snowboarding while minimizing our impact on the environment. This article will give you everything you need to know about sustainable skiing and provide tips on how you, too, can be a steward of the outdoors while still enjoying maximum time on the slopes.

What Does “Sustainable Skiing” Mean?

Sustainable skiing means making conscious choices limiting the environmental impacts of skiing and snowboarding.

These impacts range from carbon emissions due to travel, energy consumption at ski resorts, using ski and snowboarding equipment responsibility, and adhering to the Leave No Trace principles while on the hill.

The ultimate goal for all skiers and snowboarders is to align our love for the slopes with protecting these natural habitats for future generations.

Why is Sustainable Skiing Gaining Popularity?

The popularity of sustainable skiing stems from climate changes that result in unpredictable snowfall patterns, impacting the ski season’s length and quality.

Moreover, ski resorts’ extensive energy usage for snow-making machines and lifts contributes to the carbon footprint. Thus, as outdoor enthusiasts, we are responsible for adopting practices that ensure future generations can also enjoy Colorado’s winter mountain sports.

Carving Out the Future on Colorado’s Slopes

Now that we know why sustainable skiing and snowboarding are essential, what practical steps can we take to mitigate our impact while maximizing our enjoyment? Here are seven steps:

Choose Sustainable Ski Resorts

One way to show your support for sustainable skiing is by choosing to ski at resorts that demonstrate a commitment to the environment. They may do this by reducing their carbon footprint, implementing renewable energy sources, and employing eco-friendly practices, such as relying on natural snowfall. For instance:

Vail Resorts’ EpicPromise initiative began in 2017 and promises to reduce its operating footprint to zero percent by 2030. In 2023, it hit a significant milestone with 100% renewable electricity at its Colorado Resorts.

Likewise, one of our all-time favorite resorts, Monarch, strives to continue as Colorado’s last ski and snowboarding destination with 100% natural snow. By not using snow-making machines, Monarch Resort is significantly cutting its carbon footprint.

Consider Your Travel Impact

Let’s face it: travel to and from ski resorts contributes to carbon emissions, and the drive time can be exhausting!

One of the easiest ways to eliminate both issues is by joining our friends at Rocky Mountain Ride on their regularly scheduled ski shuttles to Monarch and Breckenridge. MER uses their services for our yearly staff ski trip, and we wouldn’t have it any other way! The friendly, knowledgeable drivers and staff even provide snacks and drinks, so all you have to do is sit back and relax!

Schedule your roundtrip shuttle online today!

MER sustainable skiing by buying used gear

Buy Used Ski Gear

Instead of buying new ski equipment every season, consider buying used gear. This not only extends the equipment’s life span but also reduces the demand for new production.

When you purchase used outdoor gear from MER, you save money, contribute to our local Colorado Springs economy, show yourself to be environmentally responsible, and support great local charities.

Related: MER’s Ultimate Guide to Buying Used Skis

Maintain Your Ski Gear

Now that you have purchased the best used skiing and snowboarding gear from MER, sustainable skiing requires regular maintenance of that equipment. Our recent blog, Outdoor Gear Maintenance Tips to Extend the Life of Your Equipment, has great suggestions for maintaining all your outdoor gear.

Incorporate Leave No Trace Principles

Once on the slopes, you can support sustainable skiing by incorporating some Leave No Trace principles. How?

First, dispose of your waste responsibly. If you pack it in, pack it back out. When you return to the resort, look for recycling and composting facilities and dispose of your trash there if possible.

Second, respect local flora and fauna by staying on designated slopes and trails. If you see a sign that indicates an area is closed to skiers (especially if the reason is for reclamation), stay on the beaten path. Doing so protects fragile alpine ecosystems and avoids disturbing local wildlife. MER sustainable skiing stay on trails

Support Environmental Initiatives

Participate in environmental initiatives offered by ski resorts. These could include clean-up events, educational programs about local environments, or carbon offset programs.

Advocate for Sustainable Skiing

Spread awareness about sustainable skiing. Educate fellow skiers about the environmental impacts of skiing and how they can make a difference. Share information on social media and encourage others to make sustainable choices.

By making small changes, you can enjoy your favorite winter sport while preserving the environment. Remember, what we do today can ensure that future generations will also have the chance to experience the joy of skiing.

MER: Where Sustainability is More Than a Catch Phrase

At MERecyclers in Colorado Springs, we take outdoor stewardship very seriously. We know that sustainability is more than a convenient catchphrase; it is a conscious choice we all can make each day to ensure our children, grandchildren, and all future generations can enjoy the pristine Colorado wilderness as we do.

When you come to MER for used outdoor gear, you demonstrate your commitment to sustainability. Stop by today to see what we have in stock for your next great Colorado adventure!

MER. Great Gear. Greater Cause.