Four ENSA speakers participated last night to raise awareness of the negative impacts of ski resorts on the environment.
Christelle Bakhache, who is in charge of natural sports mission at Asters, the Conservatory of Natural Areas in Haute-Savoie, draw attention to how climate changes affect winter sports practices, determining snow enthusiasts to climb at higher altitudes. But how does this affect the wildlife?
Ecologist Daniel Rodrigues presented an anthology of endangered species, including the black grouse. Researches of negative impacts of skiing on wildlife had shown that stress levels in black grouse were increased by disturbance from skiers and snowboarders. This might account for the sporadic population of black grouse in the Alpes and it might also be applied to other species of birds.
What can be done to preserve the natural habitat while still enjoying winter sports in Chamonix?
When skiing or snowboarding, it is recommended to use the open slopes and to avoid the wooded area, where animals usually live.
Also, avoid skiing on areas which are not fully covered by snow, as this can damage the vegetation.
Travel smart. As a top ski destination, Chamonix can be reached from many different cities (e.g. London, Paris, Geneva) by train or by bus. Also, inside Chamonix, there are many bus lines, including "le Mulet", a bus that allows you to reach the main areas of Chamonix and which is free for both tourists and locals.
Educate yourself about the environmental impact you have on the mountain as a skier or snowboarder and what you can do to minimise it.