Enjoy winter sports responsibly
We are going to explain how you can enjoy winter sports and avoid disturbing the animals, causing them to use up valuable energy reserves, vital for the long winter months.
With your snowshoes on, you can walk in deep snow. On skis, you can leave fresh tracks in the snow. You think that you are alone in the white landscape, but you aren’t. You are surrounded by animals which you don’t always see. Winter is difficult for them and they have to fight for survival. Food is scarce and many don’t make it through to the spring.
When animals are disturbed by winter sports fans, they run, using up a lot of valuable energy. Chamois and ibexes, for example, tend to get stuck in the snow because of their slender legs. Move carefully and quietly in order not to disturb them. Careful planning and following a few simple rules will help spare the fauna.
Here are a few suggestions for looking after and respecting nature, thus enabling all winter sports fans, including yourself, to enjoy future experiences in the snow.
1. Respect the restrictions
Respect the areas reserved for the wild animals. These provide refuge and protection for them.
2. Use the existing paths and itineraries
This helps protect the delicate biotopes of the fauna and flora. Don’t trespass on private property and close gates behind you.
3. Avoid the edge of the forest and any snow-free areas
Animals are often found in these places.
4. Keep the environment clean
Take your rubbish away with you. Should you need to go to the toilet, avoid doing so near water courses and cover up human waste and toilet paper. Bear in mind that the snow will melt in the spring (so avoid the proximity of mountain huts for example). Paper hankies and wipes should not be used as these take a long time to decompose.
A responsible attitude and respect for nature are not only important during the outing. The preparation, the means of transport and accommodation are all essential to the success of the outing.
6. Respect any restrictions on access or parking
It is generally forbidden to drive along forest tracks. Avoid parking in unauthorized areas: this annoys farmers and land owners and can damage vegetation.
7. Eat local produce and save water and energy
Spending the night in the area and buying local produce helps support mountain regions and makes your climb eco-friendlier. Save water and energy in your accommodation: both are in limited supply!
8. Camp responsibly
If you wish to camp, check beforehand that it is permitted. Don’t leave anything behind other than your footprints. You will find more useful tips in our camping and bivouacking brochure (available in German and French).
9. Use existing campfire sites
Each new campfire destroys the soil and vegetation for years. Be aware of the risk of forest fires.
10. Keep dogs on a lead, especially in the forest
Dogs love chasing wild animals, which puts them under a lot of stress.