The temperature drops and summer comes to a close, for many of us our favourite season is approaching. Winter is on its way and I find myself in the market for a new pair of skis. After trawling through hundreds of reviews and articles on the latest gear, I decided to jump on the eco bandwagon and plumped for a more environmentally friendly set of equipment.
Now when it comes to ski equipment and clothing, there is a very broad spectrum of consumers. From the neon one-piece wearing generation to whom gore-tex and anti camber might be recent bands, all the way through to the hoody wearing, pockmarked teenagers that inhabit the local snow parks. Unless you’re willing to turn up in the après bar soaked through and shivering, most of us fall somewhere in the middle. We want functional and usually fashionable clothing and equipment, incorporating the recent advances in technology. Up until the past few years it wasn’t possible to do this and save the environment we’re all so fond of tearing up on fiberglass sticks, but times are definitely changing!
My recent purchases made me take a closer look at a few companies who are doing their bit. In this first part we take a quick glance at skis and snowboards, and which companies are using greener methods to produce them.
Colorado based Liberty Skis is the first contender in the lineup with a full quiver of skis for every condition. Liberty are the only company to make its entire range of skis with sustainable bamboo cores and UHMW sidewalls (a plastic that doesn’t require the use of toxic adhesives used in traditional ABS skis). Liberty has won a handful of awards from top names in the ski media with Freeskier magazine voting its Helix as ‘Probably the most versatile ski ever’. If that isn’t enough, they’re handmade, use 100% wind power during manufacture and also provide the longest warranty in the industry of 3 years!
Movement, the ski touring favorite makes the cut with the use of pure wood cores from certified sustainable forests. They use a combination of woods, but use no toxic adhesives in the assembly as well as no injected foam, a far too common and environmentally damaging material. Movement are a well established company with a devout customer base. A great selection of ultra light touring skis, piste carvers, even modern powder twin tips like the bibby pro. It’s just a shame they’re one of the few bigger brands making an effort.
Last on the list but definitely not least, is German Ski maker, Grown Skis. Founded in 2007, they use 70% sustainable wood, recycled bases and basalt fiber reinforcement (lower emissions than fiberglass). They have a small collection to choose from, but if the shoe fits and you want a solidly built timeless classic you’ve come to the right place. Grown also offsets the tiny carbon footprint it creates by paying into non-profit organization My Climate and for their hard work were awarded the first eco design award at the major sporting goods industry fair in 2008.
For all you snowboarders out there, Arbor snowboards produce most of their boards with bamboo cores and recycled bases and Venture produce a range with sustainable wood and even recycle scraps to produce bird boxes. Even big guns Salomon have produced a selection of bamboo boards for every budget with the ‘SlickStick’ winning the Volvo eco design award.
As of yet industry pioneers Rossignol haven’t shown any real advancement in the green arena and Head skis are yet to produce a green ski but do offset their carbon emissions through their charity Cool Earth which protects areas of rainforest. Up to date there isn’t much greener on the other side when it comes to binding manufacture but who wants wooden bindings at 50 mph?
So if all this was over your head or your skis are still in good nick, maybe a pair of bamboo poles?
Looking for a ski chalet still? We can make finding one a breeze.
Thanks to George Andrews for sharing his ski insights with us!