Imagine this. A mountain resort made for riders where there is amazing modern facilities, plenty of fresh snow, the latest technology, designer hotels, chic restaurants, friendly people and a welcoming vibe. This utopia is called Laax. This progressive Swiss paradise has pushed this mountain dream even further by fast becoming the most eco resort. Realisation that our everyday actions are likely to be changing the climate and melting away the snow right from under our boards has moved this mountain into action. Laax is ready to be part of the solution, but with style, Laax Greenstyle.

Reto Fry, sustainability manager at Laax, wants to “create environmentally friendly holidays and to protect nature and the animals living in the mountain region.” Greenstyle aims to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy by using hydro power and photovoltaic systems on the mountain to power the resort. 100 per cent of the resort’s energy needs already come from CO2-neutral sources. Its next project, a wind farm on the Vorab Glacier to generate the resort’s own energy from wind power.  A multitude of large and small innovations are in place to revise our resource consumption all over the mountain.

DSC08953
Trash sorting points in the gondola stations make it easy to recycle.

The super halfpipe is more sustainable than most since the soil and rocks have been dug out and build up beforehand to avoid making too much snow during winter. The infamous Snowpark Laax is shaped and groomed by hybrid groomers.  Right above the halfpipe the the best place to take a break is above the Caffé NoName where they have begun serving up sustainable dishes. They offers regional products involving short transportation, ensuring an environmentally friendly approach and high-quality food. Everything possible is done to reduced waste and create a functional recycling system. Drink Water points are available all over the hill to avoid bottled water.

DSC08939
Drink Water stations are great for a quick sip or to refill your bottle.

Reto Fry tells us that all these efforts are foremost “trying to ensure a good life for my children and I want them to be able to breathe clean air.” And if all the right steps are taken, these massive efforts to make the mountain more sustainable should pay off in the long run. The investments in the transition will reduce the cost of running the resort, improve the community and ease its footprint on the planet. This is when, what Emmanuel Druon calls, the ecolonomy thrives and the idea that respecting the planet becomes the wisest course for all business from this point forward.

laaxsolar-2
Thanks to these solar panels your chairlift is powered up the mountain.
DSC09002
Anne-Flore Marxer & Aline Bock enjoy a sustainably powered chair lift ride.
Anne Flore Marxer Laax
Let’s hope all this innovation can equal more powder. Anne-Flore Marxer dives in.

This past weekend we spend some days on the hill at the Sudden Rush Banked Slalom exploring the Greenstyle features of the resort with many eco-minded progressive snowboarders like Nicolas Muller, Terje Haakonsen & Anne-Flore Marxer just to name a few. Greenstyle is all around. Its on the rider’s minds, in the conversations at Caffé NoName and in the riding of the people at Laax.

DSC08982
The recycling point at Caffe No Name is quite decorated.
DSC08963
Inside No Name the LED bulbs are bright & energy efficient.
DSC08973
Nicolas Muller & Lenn Vervains discuss off-season organic farming in before getting back on their boards.
DSC08967
The Better Bottle concept of reusing glass bottles for water is easy to practice with some of the products the sell and the water fountain points made available.
DSC09012
Olivier Gittler enjoys a locally sourced sandwich as he reviews the day’s photos.
DSC09014
Terje Haakonsen is one of the great advocates of sustainability in snowboarding.
terje
Terje sends a backside air with loads of Greenstyle to say “Goodbye”.

Come to Laax & you too can start riding with Greenstyle!
Photos & words by Alexis de Tarade