Skiing is one of those sports that requires a lot of kit. Besides from the obvious such as skis, ski boots and helmets, it’s a sport that requires a lot of good quality clothing for keeping warm, dry and safe on the slopes. You also need it to be hardwearing.
The trouble is, however, that much of the skiing and snowboarding clothing available today is not good for the planet. Much of it is made using fossil fuel-derived polyester or nylon and coated in harmful chemicals to ensure that it repels oil, grease, dirt and water. These two elements alone mean that your ski jacket or trousers have a sizeable carbon footprint.
It’s enough to put you off a ski holiday altogether!
Traditionally, skiing is not an environmentally-friendly sport. However, with climate change sadly showing no signs of slowing down, many in the ski industry are taking huge steps to try and reduce the sport’s impact.
From eco-friendly chalets and the revived ski train to ski lifts powered by solar panels, change is happening. The Finnish ski resort of Phya was the first carbon neutral ski resort in the Nordic countries and aims to be the “cleanest ski centre in the world”.
There are also an increasing number of sustainable ski brands that place just as much importance on environmental performance as they do high performance on the slopes.
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But where do you find them?
EcoSki is a company that was set up in 2020 by Rachael Westbrook, a mum of three young children who wanted to create a platform where it was easy to find sustainable ski wear. She also wanted to create a space where sustainable ski gear was accessible to everyone who loved spending time in the mountains.
Environmentally-friendly ski clothes can be expensive and for good reason, there’s some serious research and innovation that goes into creating technical fabrics from sustainable materials.
But the price can put people off, particularly if you’re buying new gear for kids who grow out of ski clothes so quickly.
With EcoSki, however, you can rent ski clothes.
The company stocks a huge range of ski kit for both children and adults from a selection of major ski brands that are committed to safeguarding the planet for future generations. You can rent anything from ski socks and base layers to ski jackets and trousers.
Everything arrives in environmentally-friendly packaging, with a pre-paid label for you to return your kit once your holiday is over. All the ski gear is then professionally cleaned (using environmentally friendly methods), ready for the next customer.
I’ve used EcoSki twice now and both times I’ve been introduced to ski companies that were completely new to me. I’ve borrowed an amazing matching ski jacket and trousers by German brand Ortovox and, most recently, an outfit by Swedish brand Houdini. I’ve loved wearing both outfits on the slopes (once in Les 7 Laux in and another time in Les Deux Alpes, both in the French Alps). Not only was the kit extremely comfortable and warm, but it looked great – even if I do say so myself!
Honestly, it’s the most stylish I’ve looked on the slopes in recent years!
You may also enjoy the following posts:
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- Skiing in Val Cenis: How to organise a perfect family ski holiday
- The 10 best sustainable ski brands you need to check out
- Why we love the ski rental company EcoSki
The best sustainable ski brands
If you’re looking for outdoor brands that make excellent kit and who are committed to reducing their environmental footprint then do take a look at EcoSki, who stock some of the best environmentally-friendly ski brands around.
Ever since Ortovox was founded in 1980, the company has been determined to create products that make mountain sports safer while also protecting nature and animals. The company was the first to develop the avalanche receiver that could transmit and receive on a double frequency. Since then, the company has continued to create equipment for people who love the mountains.
Their sustainability strategy, ProtACT2024, was launched to ensure that the production of all their products will be climate-neutral by 2024.
Ortovox is known for its use of wool. In 1988, the company developed functional sportswear made of milled wool and in 1995, introduce the first functional underwear made of Merino wool. In 2011 the introduced the use of Swisswool, which comes directly from Switzerland (the Merino wool comes from Tasmania).
EcoSki also stock Ortovox thermals as well as the company’s AVABAG, an airbag backpack specifically designed for backcountry skiing.
Picture Organic Clothing
Started in 2008 by three friends, French company Picture Organic Clothing has been leading the charge when it comes to sustainable outerwear designed for younger generations.
The B CORP certified company’s motto is ‘Ride, Protect & Share’ and they create sustainable, ethical and eco-responsible products that are both cool and good for the planet.
From the start, Picture used all organic cotton and a year later introduced outerwear made of recycled material. Today, almost 70 percent of the polyester used in their clothing comes from recycled plastic bottles. They also use bio-polyester a plant based material that’s partially derived from sugar cane and PFC free water repellent treatment.
Houdini Sportswear is a Swedish brand that puts sustainability at the heart of everything that they do. An amazing 100% of the fabrics that they used this season were recycled, recyclable, renewable, biodegradable or Bluesign certified.
Their main goal is to create an alternative to linear consumption – that buy, discard, repeat habit that so many of us have become accustomed to. So, in addition to offering Houdini kit to purchase, the company also offer rental, repair and second hand sales.
I loved the Houdini RollerCoaster Ski Pants and Jacket that I borrowed from EcoSki. The high bib pants are really comfortable, made in a light, stretchy silent shell fabric called Loop Hardshell. They’re made from 7-% recycled polyester, are fully recyclable, Bluesign certified and free from PFAS.
German brand Maier Sports launched their sustainable clothing recycling concept in 2021. The Design2Recycle and Recycle2Design concept is to develop products that can be recycled into new items when they come to the end of their life. Once the products are returned to Maier, they will be transformed into a high-quality new yarn, which then produces new Maier Sports products.
The company was founded in Germany over 75 years ago and are known, in particular, for their outdoor pants of which they have 61 different sizes!
EcoSki stock a range of Maier Sports ski jackets and trousers.
US company Patagonia has long been leading the charge when it comes to sustainability however the brand is not resting on its eco credentials. During last year’s COP26, the company announced that it no longer wants to be called a “sustainable brand” recognising that despite its trailblazing efforts, it’s still part of the problem. Instead, Patagonia are aiming to do better and reduce its footprint further by cutting emissions throughout the supply chain.
Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that Patagonia does already take some impressive steps to reduce its environmental impact. A significant proportion of its materials are made from recycled fabrics, it offers a repair and reuse program, and actively discourages customers from buying too many of its products.
EcoSki stock a wide range of Patagonia products including a good range of kids ski clothes. My seven-year-old son borrowed a pair of Patagonia Everyday Ready Pants and they were great on the slopes.
An impressive 90% of their collection including snowsuits, towels, summer range and coats are made using recycled plastic bottles. They partner with Ecologi and plant a new tree for every customer – so far they’ve planted over 13,000 Mangrove trees in Madagascar and Mozambique.
Dinoski also encourage customers to sell ski suits back to the company in return for a £40 store credit. They’ll clean and repair the ski suit and then find a new home for it in their ‘Pre loved’ section.
EcoSki stock a great range of Dinoski ski suits including unicorns, tigers, dinosaurs and, of course, bunnies.
Reima is another brand that make excellent kit for kids while minimising their environmental impact. The Finnish brand knows a thing or two about keeping children warm in cold weather – we’ve had several Reima coats and the quality is fantastic. They’re also highly durable as the brand believes in creating products that can be used by several kids. At the end of their shelf life, the products can be returned to Reima and recycled into new materials.
They use non-toxic materials, do not use PFCs and animal welfare is at the heart of their business; they ensure that all wool production is cruelty-free (and do not use real fur). They’re committed to fair wages and decent working hours and working to decrease their carbon footprint. You can see more about their commitment to sustainable business practices here.
Established by two university friends on a glaciology field trip in 1971, this California-based company have always been committed to creating high quality performance products following the philosophy: People/Product/Planet.
From advocating humane working conditions and promoting the well-being of their employees to initiatives designed to reduce the miles that raw materials and products travel and the use of recyclable and reusable materials, Marmot really do strive for the highest level of performance and protection with the lowest possible impact on the planet.
Holland and snow sports don’t often go hand in hand but that’s precisely where Protest was founded, by a small group of snowboarders who wanted to play their part in making “the world a better place for boarders”.
As well as making cool clothes for skiers and snowboarders (as well as surfers), the company are committed to reducing their environmental impact. Their ‘Green Up’ programme is their challenge to move towards more responsible manufacturing, better fabric sourcing and reducing the impact that the creation of their clothing has on the environment. This includes using more sustainable, recycled and environmentally friendly materials and becoming PFC-free by 2023.
EcoSki stock a good range of Protest clothing for men and women.
Swiss brand Mammut first started way back in 1862. Their sustainability motto is ‘We CARE’ – C is for Clean production, A for animal welfare, R for Reduced footprint and E for Ethical production. The company is very transparent about the journey towards becoming ever more sustainable and in doing so help to fight climate change.
Some of the sustainable initiatives include their fabrics policy, which ensures that all down products use either RDS-certified or recycled down sourced through RE:Down and that their leather suppliers have a LWS rating of Silver or higher. They’re also on a mission to continue to reduce their use of PFCs; currently between 55% – 74% of the products contained no materials with a PFC-based treatment. The 2025 target is 100% across the board.
EcoSki stock a range of Mammut products to rent and to buy.