Outdoor education: how to reduce the environmental impact of snowsports
Method of travel, choice of resort can help significantly…
The OEAP National Guidance document 7.1v Snowsport Visits, has been updated to give more advice on reducing the otherwise significant environmental impact that these activities can have.
This guidance defines ‘snowsport’ to cover both skiing and snowboarding activities.
There are huge benefits to be achieved with a snowsport residential visit says the guidance – not least by a significant contribution to a young person’s personal and social development. Plus points often include for example, respect for self, others and the environment, self-awareness and self-confidence and an interest in a healthy physical activity that may become a lifelong pursuit.
Considering the environmental impact
The update with this particular document deals specifically with ways to reduce the potentially high environmental impact of this otherwise worthwhile form of outdoor education.
“The development of snowsport resorts can have a significant negative impact on the mountain landscape and wildlife, snowmaking uses large amounts of energy and water, and travelling (especially flying) to a resort has a high carbon footprint.”
Example given of ways to mitigate the impact include:-
- A careful choice of destination
- Consideration regarding the means of travel
- Choosing activities such as cross-country skiing instead of mechanised downhill skiing.
Other topics covered include:-
- Preparation for Snowsports
- Planning the Visit
- Leader Competence Requirements
- Equipment and Clothing
- Safety In and Around the Resort.