The UIAA Respect the Mountains project encourages all its national member federations and mountain stakeholders to adopt the 7 Ways to Respect the Mountains practices by following these simple yet effective actions and to build a sustainable future.
The Seven Ways to Respect the Mountains:
1. Book Smart – Why not explore a less known mountain resort/range and travel at low season or off-season? This will have less impact on the mountains in during peak season. Research and book ski holidays based on sustainable practices and ethics of the resort.
2. Travel Wise – UIAA Respect the Mountains encourages tourists to use lower carbon transportation methods. For example, take a bus, train or carpool with friends to the mountains from home. When at the resort, use public transport, walk, hike, bike and skateboard to get around.
3. Support Sustainable Practices – Seek out and support sustainable businesses that are servicing the mountain tourism industry. Choose skiwear brands, hotels, adventure companies, travel services etc that are actively contributing towards sustainable development. Buy locally grown produce whilst at the resorts. Be knowledgeable of alternative energy solutions.
4. Be a respectable and responsible mountain tourist –
Respectful – Too often the tourist mentality is: ‘This is not my backyard, I don’t care’. This affects how tourists treat locals, culture and the environment. Be respectful of locals and their customs and considerate of other mountain users.
Responsible – Educate yourself on local mountain conditions: research weather forecasts, consult local park services/ or guides, and be well prepared before going into the mountains. If you plan to leave the ski area boundary, realize that an expensive search and rescue operation can be easily avoided with proper knowledge, guidance, weather forecasts and preparation. If inexperienced, go with a guide.
Always Respect the Mountains…
5. Leave no trace – Mountain environments themselves are under threat with so many tourists each year. The visiting tourists come for a wide variety of reasons. They seek adrenaline, challenge, enjoyment, connection with other people and the beauty of nature, and more. Flora, fauna and wildlife also live in the mountains, and mountain communities, countries and cities downstream depend on glacial water for their livelihoods. What you take with you to the mountains (rubbish, plastic), take away with you from the mountains. Stay on the paths created by local authorities. These have been created and maintained to keep tourists safe, to protect local flora and fauna and avoid unnecessary conflict between wildlife and humans. Also consider this when going off-piste.
6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Upcycle (RRRU) – This is the 21st century. Let’s not ignore the global knowledge, understanding and technologies that are available.
Reduce your impact, Reuse items, Recycle the waste you cannot reuse, Upcycle what you can to reinvent waste into something of new value.
7. Spread the Word – There are few people that visit the mountains that don’t love the mountains. Share your experiences with friends, family, colleagues and business partners. Inspire, encourage and act as good role models for others so that they too respect the mountains, so that future generations can play, work, enjoy ‘enjoy being in the mountains. Share how this organisation is meeting the need towards a positive, thriving and sustainable mountain tourism industry.