The most highly-rated ski chalet in the French Alps is only available to a select few.
Winter sports enthusiasts clamor for a spot at Morzine’s alpine paradise at least a year in advance, and Ferme à Jules is always full. Cheese boards, smiles, and wine were the order of the day in electric vehicles. However, not everything is fun and fine dining. According to Al Judge, the founder of AliKats, the mountain vacation specialist behind the chalet, “what makes us unique is that we have a luxury high-end service, but we’re doing it sustainably.”
Can eco-friendly ski trips exist?
AliKat’s dedication to sustainability is unparalleled, just like the level of service at Ferme à Jules.
“One of our most important initiatives has been to bring a lot of businesses together to offer an Alpine Express Pass, which basically gives you 10% or more off ski passes, lodging, restaurants, and renting equipment if you come here by train,” says the company.
The way skiing interacts with the environment has been the subject of scrutiny for a long time. The sport that uses a lot of carbon dioxide is against the natural world which makes it possible. This includes gas-guzzling chairlifts and artificial snow cannons.
The French Alps’ annual snowfall has been decreasing at a rate of five days every ten years since the 1960s.
As we tackled the slopes of Morzine, I would have felt at ease wearing only a t-shirt.
This is a common tale in the Alps, where ski resorts are taking increasingly drastic measures to reverse the effects of years of emissions. A biomass heater now generates 90% of the resort’s energy from organic matter in La Plagne. Morzine is no different. A new snow park high in the mountains is rewilding some of Europe’s most endangered birds of prey, and the resort is planning to pedestrianize its town center to reduce car use.
These initiatives offer eco-friendly solutions to some of skiing’s most difficult problems, in Judge’s opinion. However, despite their noble intentions, they do not address the real problem that lies at the heart of the sustainability crisis affecting the ski industry.
We want to target the most carbon-intensive part of a ski vacation with the Alpine Express Pass.
The AliKats Climate Action Plan, a framework designed to assist the chalet service in reaching net zero waste, is at the center of this environmental movement. AliKats is on a mission to eliminate all waste. Judge desires to neutralize the idea that skiing must be awful for the climate by extending the organization’s armada of electric vehicles, driving all chalets from sustainable power, and making practical waste targets.
“We want to make sure that our food practices work in harmony with nature and take care of the environment and other animals as much as we can.” We will be able to continue producing food in this way for future generations.”
The compost heap transforms any leftovers into organic matter, including breadcrumbs and meat slivers.
It’s a wonderfully efficient cycle: “The food waste from our chalets feeds our chickens and provides nutrients for the soil in which we grow our food, which in turn feeds us and our guests.”
From the environmentally friendly heat pumps used to keep the chalets warm to the electric vehicles coffee roaster that provides beans throughout the resort, this attention to detail permeates the entire business.
The chalet has ten spacious rooms with private bathrooms that can accommodate up to 26 people, making dinnertimes lively gatherings with new friends.
Guests chat about the day’s activities while the three-course meal is served. The best ski runs. The greatest drops. the state of the slopes. As if by magic, wine glasses are refilled, and the conversation continues well past bedtime.
The AliKats staff is always available to answer questions about the resort or just say hello and smile. They’ll try and drop your ski pass off at the lower part of the slant for you if – like me – you end up abandoning it.
Nothing is too enormous or little to request their consideration. One of the chalet’s hosts gave me a cheese board one evening as I sat next to the roaring fireplace.
Her smile returned.
“All of it is vegan.”
I ought to have known. “When you come here, you can leave your brain at the door,” said one guest.