Isère Tourism

Committed to the environment

The environment is a major concern for tourism in Isère. To maintain the natural world for future generations, the department of Isère leads the way by creating the first valley lift up to the mountains that reduces our carbon footprint and developing the first “Smart Ski Resort” in France. At the same time, our leading city, Grenoble, has been elected European Green Capital 2022.

SUSTAINABLE INITIATIVES IN ISERE

Grenoble: European Green Capital the Year 2022

Each year, the title European Green Capital is awarded to cities that demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment and sustainable development.  The city of Grenoble demonstrated its vision, enthusiasm, and ability to inspire other cities by highlighting its eco-responsible actions from the last ten years:

  • 320 km of additional cycle paths and facilities were created in 2017 and plans to replace 100% of diesel buses with clean energy in 2022; ranked 2nd city in France for commuting by bike. 
  • 23% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2018. 2030 target: 40-50%.
  • Pure untreated water thanks to a protected catchment station, one of the largest in Europe.
  • 5,000 trees planted since 2014 (15,000 by 2030), 1 organic urban farm, 23 community gardens, 8 educational gardens, 6 community orchards.
  • Zero pesticides used in the city's green spaces for 10 years.
  • Ranked 1st or 2nd position in 11 of the 12 indicators by the European Commission.

Alpe d’Huez: environmental initiatives

Alpe d’Huez strives daily to reduce its impact on the environment, to protect its privileged natural setting and to raise awareness among both holidaymakers and residents alike. 

  • Since 2005, the resort has removed 150 pylons and 50 km of cable to reduce visual pollution and the impact on the landscape. 
  • Following each new development, the area is returfed, landscaped and trees planted.
  • To limit light pollution, public lighting is switched off from midnight to 6 am in the off-season and from 2 am to 7 am in high season. 
  • The summer pasture is home to a herd of 2,000 sheep and 280 cattle supervised by two shepherds. Summer grazing prevents soil damage by removing the need for mechanical maintenance and thereby limits the risk of avalanches in winter. At the same time, it decreases the volume of grass on the ground and so prevents large snowfalls from sliding. 
  • The first hybrid bus in the French Alps, Resalp shuttle bus runs in the resort in summer and winter reducing fuel consumption and therefore helps limit greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Alpe d'Huez has the highest greenhouses in France with 2,000 perennials and 1,200 annuals growing here allowing the resort to bloom all year round.

WWW.ALPEDHUEZ.COM

Les 2 Alpes: environmental initiatives

Les 2 Alpes is working towards obtaining the Flocon Vert label, created by the Mountain Riders Association. These are a few of the resort initiatives currently in place: 

  • First resort to recycle disposable masks. Masks are collected at various locations throughout the resort and secured in sealed boxes before being sent to an industrial recycling unit, where masks are sterilised, then crushed into plastic granules. 
  • 100% electric intra-station buses - this is a first in a ski resort that helps limit the carbon footprint. 
  • Composting sites set up on the mountains and in villages. Find locations on the Les 2 Alpes app. 
  • Electric vehicle charging stations powered by 100% green electricity produced from renewable energy sources. Full list of locations on www.eborn.fr. 
  • The Les 2 Alpes ESF (French Ski School) is keeping its 2021 prices for 2022 thereby saving money and paper by not reprinting brochures.

 

Chamrousse: awarded Flocon Vert green label

Chamrousse is the only Isèrois ski resort to be awarded the Flocon Vert label by Mountain Riders, a non-profit aiming to improve sustainability in the mountains. In doing so, the resort promises to adhere to 31 essential criteria that help preserve the environment within this Sensitive Natural Area - or espace naturel sensible (ENS). 

By choosing a Flocon Vert resort for your holiday, you are supporting a region committed to putting in place concrete actions in terms of responsible tourism. Activities include installing solar panels, encouraging recycling, and maintaining the tradition of mountain pastoralism. The town has also appointed a green warden whose job it is to educate and inform visitors about the rules of the mountains. 

Alpe d’Huez has also been working with the Mountain Riders Association communicating green messages about picking up waste and not littering the slopes with cigarette ends by placing them in bins.

Eau d'Olle Express: a new generation valley lift

Eau d'Olle Express valley lift is the very first new generation valley lift in the French Alps and cuts the area’s carbon footprint. By connecting the village of Allemond in the Olle Valley to Oz-en-Oisans, and on to the Alpe d'Huez Grand Domaine area, in just 8 minutes instead of 20 minutes by road, it shaves off 10 km and reduces road traffic by up to 1,000 vehicles/day in high season. This helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 230 tons a year.  With advanced technology, no noise pollution, and little environmental impact, this 3-km valley lift is a new mode of transport that links the valleys to the mountains. Travelling at 6 metres per second, the 33 10-person gondolas whisk 2,000 skiers and holidaymakers per hour up to pedestrianised Oz-en-Oisans, awarded ‘green resort’ (station verte) ecotourism status. Access to Eau d’Olle Express is free for pedestrians (without sports equipment).

Station Verte: green resorts in Isère

Stations vertes - or Green - resorts and villages are ones that commit to sustainable tourism and work closely with locals to protect their heritage, for example running guided hikes to get up close to natural flora and fauna, exploring the historical heritage and understanding local traditions such as transhumance (the annual migration of animals), installing interpretation panels describing the landscape, creating pedestrianised village centres, and giving free access to museums. Ski resorts in Isère that have the French ‘station verte’ label include Allevard, Auris-en-Oisans, Bourg-en-Oisans, Lans-en-Vercors, Oz-en-Oisans, Vaujany, and Vénosc in Les 2 Alpes. 

Climate change, snow & carbon neutrality

Climate change and rising temperatures lead to the disappearance of snow in mountain resorts. The lack of snow has a wider impact than just in ski resorts. Snow ultimately helps cool the planet by reflecting solar energy back into space. It also acts as insulation for the soil and organisms below protecting it from changes in the air temperature, and enabling winter-grazing animals to reach the vegetation below. in spring and summer, melting snow fills rivers, lakes and reservoirs affecting our water supplies.

In association with the Domaines Skiables de France, the mayors of nine ski resorts in Isère signed a French national charter for sustainable development to preserve biodiversity and natural resources by identifying areas that produce the most greenhouse gases and to then put in place best practices with an ambitious goal of reaching carbon neutrality in ski areas by 2037 with zero CO2 emissions. 

The resorts in Isère are: Alpe d'Huez, Les Deux Alpes, Alpe du Grand Serre, Autrans, Vaujany, Oz en Oisans, St-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, Chamrousse and Les Sept Laux. 

Nationwide initiatives include introducing hydrogen-powered piste bashers as 95% of ski area GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions are linked to the use of diesel-run snow groomers. 

Other actions that Isère’s mountain resorts are implementing include channeling rainwater from the rooftops into reservoirs to supply the snow cannons, using green energy for chair lifts and closing some lifts in quiet periods, removing dozens of pylons and kilometres of cables and reseeding areas with endemic seeds where work has been undertaken, protecting local flora and fauna and their breeding areas, increasing the size of wastewater treatment centres, and installing composting toilets on the slopes, and rolling out initiatives to raise skier and hiker awareness to reduce waste. 

WWW.DOMAINES-SKIABLES.FR