Its the time of year that I love best, late afternoon tours into some of the most incredible sunsets that only happen at altitude. It is at these moments that the world seems to be at its best. It seems fair then to assume that the good folk at Grown, Scarpa, Atomic, Vlkl and Arbor are also partial to a sunset in the mountains, because they have collectively decided that, in their production at least, the new dawn will be a sustainable one. SCARPA, one of the biggest manufactures of telemark and Alpine Touring boots, is making their Flash Eco and Velvet womens AT boots and T2 telemark boots out of Pebax Rnew, a 100% organic and recyclable plastic made from Castor bean. By next year they aim to use the material in most of their ski boots as well as some hiking boots. Their aim is to develop products that are green without compromising performance.This is also a central belief of Tobias Luthe at Grown Skis, a leader in sustainable ski design and winner of the first ISPO ecodesign award. We develop skis for those who demand a high performance ski on the cutting edge of technology; take responsibility for human impacts on the environment; want to reduce their carbon footprint to protect our climate; and value hand made eco-correct luxury. We love the clean lines of these skis, and the care with which they are crafted. By all reports they ski like a dream, and we hope to be able to confirm that for you next season!After winning the 2009 Eco Responsibility Award at the ISPO for the Nanuq ski, the AMARUQ ski by Vlkl represents another huge step forward in environmentally friendly and sustainable production by one of the leaders of mainstream ski production. The traditional fiberglass wrapping around the core is replaced by one constructed completely from wood. The sidewalls and topsheet on the AMARUQ Eco are also made entirely of wood instead of plastics. A solvent-free linseed oil protects the surfaces. The various layers of wood are bound using a natural, regenerative organic wood resin in the place of the standard epoxy. The ski’s base is composed of 100% recyclable material – as is the attachment system for skins and the edges are composed of up to 60% of recycled steel. Finally, it has always been a belief of mine that snowboarders should not be punished for their single plank approach to sliding, and so Ive often been seen touring with a snowboarder or two trudging away with rackets on their feet. But now Atomic has brought them a break in the form of their new split board, the Poacher Premium Renu, available for the 2010-11 season.The Poachers extreme user-friendliness is impressive: the touring ski can be converted into a snowboard – and back again – within the space of around three minutes.I used to think that splitboards were inferior in terms of performance, says Swisssnowboard World Champion and X Games winner Ueli Kestenholz,. But the Poacher is a superb freeride board which even allows you to do cliff drops and switch landings with ease.Development of the Poacher Premium Renu and Alibi Renu represents a continuation of theenvironmentally friendly route Atomic have taken. In 2009, they launched the Renu, a 100 percent recyclable ski boot. This was followed by the Nomad Renu, a ski made of 50 percent recycled materials. Even as far back as 2005, Atomics became the first ski factory in the world to heat its ski presses using a wood pellet heating system in an effort to keep CO2 emissions as low as possible.Founded in 1995, the California based boardsports design house Arbor Collective was convinced that there was a need for brands to take responsibility for the impact their products have on the environment. To this end they design snowboards (as well as skateboards) around the goal of replacing as many environmentally harmful materials as possible, with functional, ecologically based alternatives. Their mission is to deliver performance, durability, and style in the most responsible way possible. Check out the Westmark for a great park board that crusty old skiers at the side of the park will never be able to say is irresponsible. There will be those who say that a small sustainable product range from a major manufacture house is underwhelming. However, Rome was not built in a day. These high performance, eco friendly developments are genuine mainstream alternatives to the current, unsustainable designs, and therefore represent a major step in the right direction. It is our hope and belief that as more and more companies invest in green innovations, not only will they realize real savings in manufacture and resource costs, but also be rewarded with increased sales. The adventure community is at last starting to understand that products born of respect for the earth and its people feel better, perform better, and are quite simply much better.
Now that you’ve found somewhere to find your perfect ski and board equipment, why not find your perfect ski chalet based holiday!