Our snow sports experts Amelia, Johnny, and Jean-Luc, are united by their passion for the mountains, and between them, they have visited resorts across the world and racked up years of experience carving up the slopes. In recent years, they’ve become aware of the devasting effects of climate change on the mountains and are all keen to do what they can to minimise the damage.


Here they share their expert tips, discuss what sustainability in snowsports looks like and explain how investing in quality gear and prolonging its life can make a difference to our winter playgrounds.

Johnny Jennings

Store Manager

Snow+Rock Bristol

Amelia Newbould

Assistant Manager

Snow+Rock Covent Garden

Jean-Luc Ramar

In-Store Expert

Snow+Rock Hemel Hempstead

What does sustainability in snowsports mean to you?

AMELIA: To me, sustainability means trying to give back more than we take away. Unfortunately, snowsports aren't the most sustainable of hobbies and often involve flying to a country and using power-operated chairlifts to get us up the mountain. Then there’s all our equipment and clothing too! Everyone who loves snow sports knows the glaciers are receding, and climate change is a real problem.


Changes are taking place, and more resorts are using solar, green or biomass power for the chairlifts and town buses that cover the ski routes. More clothing brands are using recycled or repurposed materials too, which is phenomenal.


So, I think it’s just trying to find ways you can give back more than you take away when you go on holiday, through your individual choices and through the resorts you visit.


JOHNNY: Sustainability is something that’s become more important to me since becoming a dad because I’ve got to look after the planet for my boys. Before then, we’d drive and fly everywhere without thinking, but now we consider what we can do differently. I don’t want my children’s generation to spend their time cleaning up after us.


We can already see the changes in the mountains. I have friends in Chamonix who have shown me pictures of the glaciers, which have almost entirely retreated. You don’t get a starker wake-up call than that.


JEAN-LUC: I didn’t pay much attention to sustainability when I was younger, but as I’ve got older, my friends and I have noticed the glaciers receding quite a lot. On the last trip, you could see the crevasses opening on the glacier.


What changes are you making to protect the mountains?

JEAN-LUC: Snow lovers know that ski lifts aren't great for the environment, so something my friend and I have started doing is ski-touring– hiking up the mountain instead of using lifts to try and reduce our impact.


I’m trying to make small changes to my equipment too. I use non-fluorinated wax on my skis now and save my older skis to use to repair my new skis.


JOHNNY: We’re thinking more about the things we buy and try to avoid plastic where possible. I try to make the most of our gear too. My boys are a good example - my youngest doesn’t get much new stuff because everything gets handed down. So, rather than a t-shirt getting one year of use, my boys might get three or four years out of it. We’re moving away from a throwaway society where we buy new things every year for the sake of it.


AMELIA: I'm trying to do my bit by recycling, minimising my plastic use and generally being more conscious about my actions. I used to love clothes shopping, but now I'm very conscious about what I buy. I look for brands using recycled and repurposed materials.


When it comes to getting to the mountains, I try to find the most environmentally friendly way to get there. And when I do have to fly, I offset my carbon. It costs around 10 to 15 pounds, but I think if I can afford to go on a ski holiday, I can afford to try and offset my carbon intake on a plane.


I think it’s good individuals are making changes, but we also need companies and governments to change policies. Hopefully, this will happen as pressure grows from people.


Do you find customers are thinking more about sustainability?

JOHNNY: Customers shop differently now to 20 years ago. Back then, they’d buy a new jacket and pants every season, whereas now we get asked if we sell Gore-Tex patches! People are happy to patch things up to make them last. They seem more aware that keeping a jacket or skis for another year will help protect our winter playgrounds for years to come.  


Our product range is constantly improving too. We fit ski boots that will last 10-12 years and sell jackets people can get five to six years out of, which helps keep products out of landfill.


Lots of our brands are making changes too, using recycled materials fabrics or oragnic fibres. We even get ski boots with recyclable plastics.


As in-store experts, I believe we must pass on the sustainability message, so our customers can make the best choice for themselves and the environment.


AMELIA: To be honest, our customers are driving the change. I’m getting more customers asking about products made with recycled content and vegan products. For example, fur has always been popular in the snowsports industry, but Snow+Rock only holds faux fur, so I know we can offer a cruelty-free alternative.


I know at Snow+Rock, we only stock the highest quality products, and sometimes people will question the price, but I genuinely believe good gear is an investment. You may pay more initially, but you can be confident the gear will last you longer, so it often works out cheaper. I think it’s more sustainable too, because you’re not buying the same garment and disposing of it when it gets damaged; you can get it repaired, and it will carry on performing.


I’ve had a pair of ski pants since I was 15: they’re battered and have handstitched repairs all over them, but they still keep me warm and dry. My dad's ski jacket is older than me, but he loves it so much, and it’s still insulated and keeps him warm. If you love what you’re buying, it pays to look after it, and I just think ultimately that’s better for the planet than buying new and putting good gear into landfill.


Looking after your gear is the key to keeping it at its best, and in-store, we can help offer first-hand advice about the technical washes and reproofing products we sell. Of course, for those who need more help, our Repair and Care service is great as we can get a garment looking virtually brand new and performing at its best, even if it is damaged.


We also do hardware repairs on ski boots, skis and snowboards, and services.


JEAN-LUC: I always try to encourage customers to be more conscious with their gear, whether that’s non-fluorinated wax or a clothing brand with good credentials.


Many of the customers I see don’t want to buy clothing every year, they want something more durable, so I push them to brands I know and use myself because I know they will last.


How would you feel if the mountains weren’t here anymore?

AMELIA: On a personal level, it would be devastating not to be able to do something I love, so we need to figure out how to make snowsports a less damaging and more viable hobby.


We need to act now because we can’t make up for the fact that we didn’t do anything 30 years ago. Every second we don’t start making changes, we’re increasing the damage of climate change and the loss of snow and ice.


JOHNNY: Not being able to ski in the mountains would leave a massive void in my life and the lives of many other skiers, and this is why I think we have to act now to protect our planet and future. Making the right choices, whether that’s with the gear we buy or how we get to the mountains, will help future generations.


JEAN-LUC: I’d be devastated if I couldn’t go skiing because it’s the thing I look forward to every year. Skiing in the mountains is my escape and is a good stress reliever for me, so I know I’d find it hard not to be able to go. I can also see it impacting people’s mental health because it's a form of escapism for so many people.


What does the future look like?

JOHHNY: The future of the mountains is uncertain. I hope governments make the right decisions and bring in legislation to protect the planet so we can continue enjoying the slopes. Some big players need to catch up, but we’re seeing change happen with electric cars and things. Hopefully, we’ll see more changes in the next few years, and fingers crossed, we’re moving in the right direction.


JEAN-LUC: I’m hopeful we’ll still have snow on the mountains in the next few years. I’ve noticed the younger generation care more and are more conscious about the environment, so hopefully, things will improve. 


AMELIA: You’ve got to be hopeful about the future. I think there are enough people aware and trying to change habits and scenarios to make a difference.


I’ve noticed companies are becoming more proactive about making it easier for people to be more conscious about what they're buying. At Snow+Rock, we’ve stepped up to the plate in the last couple of years with Repair & Care and Recycle My Gear services which help customers keep their gear performing for longer and ensure when they do reach the end of their life, they actually get recycled.


Snow+Rock also holds lots of brands who are doing more to try and reduce their overall environmental impact and more companies are going that way, which can only have a positive impact. 



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