Guardian Green Travel List 2010 | Winter activities

Winter sports resorts don't have to carve up the mountainside. These places provide creature comforts while preserving their impressive eco-credentials

Mountainbug, French Pyrenees

Based at an 18th-century stone chalet in the village of Barèges, Mountainbug runs low-impact snowshoeing trips that include tracking ermine, hare, isard and fox, plus ski-touring programmes designed for skiers to discover the winter wonderland without using lifts, staying overnight in solar-powered mountain refuges. In spring, the company runs walking holidays.
• +33 5 62 92 16 3, One-week guided snowshoeing holiday from €680pp, all-inclusive.

Inntravel, worldwide

Inntravel specialises in walking, cycling and winter holidays, mainly in Europe but also in Morocco, New England, Canada and India. Many of its holidays use small, locally-owned hotels, which helps sustain local economies, especially in remote rural areas. For European destinations easily reached by train, the company has a "rail inclusive" price from London St Pancras. The company has carried out a carbon audit of its eco-friendly offices near York, and in its final holiday documents, customers receive a page on environmental awareness.
• 01653 617001, Sample trip: Seven-night self-guided Châteaux & Vineyards of the Loire Valley, from £890pp inc rail and DB&B.

Iglu-Dorf , Europe

Iglu-Dorf has six Eskimo-style, low-impact igloo villages available from the end of December to April in some of Europe's most famous ski resorts: Davos-Klosters, Engelberg-Titlis, Gstaad, St Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland, Zugspitze in Germany and one in Andorra. Tucked up in the igloos on foam mattresses and furs – you'll need to pack pyjamas and keep the down jacket to hand as the cocoons are unheated. Red velvet curtains hang across the doorways and candles provide the only light. There's mulled wine to help warm you up, and if things get really cold, jump in the energy-efficient hot tub and sauna.
• +41 41 612 27 28, From €99pp pn for B&B, fondue and wine.

La Source , French Alps

La Source is a former Alpine Savoyard hay barn that has been converted into a five-bedroom luxury chalet, five minutes from the Grand Massif ski area. The owners haven't skimped on creature comforts, providing a hammock, Wi-Fi, wood-fired hot tub plus a mini climbing wall, yet it all comes with impressive eco-credentials: the name refers to the mountain spring that supplies the lodge's water, the owners have recycled all the old wood into doors and cupboards, bought new wood from a sustainable timber yard (800m away), double insulated it with recycled newspaper, and fitted triple-glazed windows, a wood-pellet burner and a wood-fired sauna. Travel by train, shared car, hitching or bike, and you'll get a €100 discount in winter or a €50 reduction in summer.
• +33 9 79 68 41 82, Seven nights' self-catering from €2,600 in winter, less in spring (sleeps 14).

Chalet Châtelet, French Alps

A luxury catered chalet in the vallée d'Abondance near the Portes du Soleil ski area of the French Alps, including the beginners' and family ski area at Drouzin le Mont. It's a newly-built pine chalet with walls packed with lamb's wool, cork, wood-fibre and hemp for insulation. Electricity and hot water are solar-powered and the owners serve organic food cooked on a log-burning range. Also open in summer for hiking, canyoning and mountain biking. • +33 450 73 69 48, Doubles €90-€120 B&B.


Richard Hammond

The GuardianTramp

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