If you like snow sports and you have a conscience about the environment, undoubtedly winter eco resorts will be of interest to you. It’s great to know that while you are swishing about the slopes on your skis or turning your favorite tricks on your trusty snowboard, you aren’t doing any damage to our fragile environment, but where are the best winter eco resorts? Let’s take a look at a few.
1. Kolarbyn Eco-lodge, Sweden
Nestled alongside Skärsjön Lake in Sweden, Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge is one of the innovative new winter eco resorts consisting of 12 wooden huts. Each hut is outfitted with only the most primitive technology and furnishings, allowing visitors to truly connect with their natural surroundings. Simple wooden platform beds and fur blankets make up the sleeping arrangements. With no electricity, sleeping by candlelight, chopping wood for fire and cooking outdoors are all part of the Kolarbyn experience. The challenging environment is not only environmentally friendly, but is educational as well. In addition to the accommodation, the resort has plenty of hiking trails and other outdoor activities to offer.
2. Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, Chile
Internationally recognized for its sustainability efforts, the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve is one of the shining examples of luxury environmentally friendly winter sports resorts. Set within 100,000 hectares of protected forest in the middle of the Andes, the striking reserve includes numerous eco-friendly accommodation options ranging from luxury lodges to simple cabins, hostels and camping sites. The area supports activities such as trekking, snow trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking and kayaking. These excursions are not only eye-opening, but also help the Huilo-Huilo foundation. They focus on conservation and research within the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve.
3. Whitepod Ski Resort, Switzerland
Characterized by 15 geodesic domes overlooking the Swiss Alps, Whitepod Ski Resort is redefining what a true eco winter sports resort is. Each dome “cabin” is simply furnished but luxurious, and features a king-sized bed and wood-burning fireplace. Because of their unique construction, Whitepod’s domes have minimal impact on the pristine Alpine environment and have been built for peak efficiency and sustainability. Guests at the resort can partake in dog sledding, ski trekking or relaxing in the onsite spa.
4. The Treehotel, Sweden
Giving guests a chance to live in the trees, The Treehotel in Harads, Sweden is a minimalist design eco resort elevated in the forest. Each structure has been designed with the environment in mind and contains no harsh chemicals or paints. Waste is dealt with through high heat incineration and the resort endeavors to be as sustainable as possible. Rooms at the resort are all unique in terms of design and architecture, and range from the quirky “UFO” room to a mid-century modern cabin. The beautiful forest surrounding The Treehotel presents many opportunities for exploration on foot, mountain bike or horseback.
5. Monte Rosa Hütte, Switzerland
The history of the Monte Rosa Hütte (Monte Rosa Hat) near Zermatt, Switzerland goes back to the late 1800s. It was originally built as a simple lodge and expanded to accommodate more and more guests as the decades wore on. In 2009, it was replaced by an eco-friendly structure made from prefabricated materials and has been described as the most complex wooden structure in all of Switzerland. With the use of solar power and melted snow, the building is nearly 100% sustainable; and with its silver aluminum coatings, it is a sparkling gem in the Alps and one of Europe’s leading eco winter resorts.
6. The Hotel Salto Chico, Chile
Located in Torres del Paine National Park in Central Patagonia, the Hotel Salto Chico sits in the midst of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Adjacent to the breathtaking Salto Chico waterfall, the eco friendly winter resort offers unparalleled views of the Cerro Paine mountain range. There are 49 luxury rooms at Hotel Salto Chico, all featuring organic modern touches. The stables located next to the resort lodge allow visitors the opportunity to ride horses and learn about the ranching lifestyle in this part of the world.
7. Hotel De Glace, Canada
Hotel de Glace is an ice hotel featuring incredibly ornate ice sculptures. Thanks to its eco-friendly building material, the hotel has minimal impact on the environment while still managing to be a full-service hotel. Just 10 minutes from central Montreal, it’s a common tourist attraction that is surrounded by a number of winter activities like dog sledding and skiing.
These eco winter resorts are all stunningly beautiful and designed so you can enjoy your snow sports without guilt. Have you been to any of them or do you have another recommendation to share?