The MoonBike

There’s a new, sustainable way to get around in the Alps: the MoonBike. If you have never heard of it, read on.

As we found out in this article on Euronews, the idea of building an electric snow bike came to Nicolas Muron – CEO of MoonBikes – in 2015, when visiting his grandparents’ home in the French Alps. He made a simple observation: transportation options are infinite in the summer months, but when winter comes around, heavily polluting cars and snowmobiles are the only viable option.

Nicolas took on the challenge of finding a solution. He created the world’s first electric snow bike – an ambitious undertaking aimed at protecting the environment he calls home, and having some fun along the way.

A sustainable solution

At just 87 kilograms, the MoonBike provides a speedy alternative over three times lighter than a conventional snowmobile. But while ergonomic factors remain a key selling point for Muron’s design, his main drive lies in bringing sustainability to an industry infamous for its gas-guzzling.

Fossil-fuel powered skidoos cause significant damage to land cover, affecting vegetation growth throughout the year. In one hour, a typical snowmobile can emit as much hydrocarbon as a 2008 model automobile emits in 86,000 kilometres of driving. Their exhaust fumes contain dangerous levels of toxins, degrading air quality and altering snow chemistry for good.

The MoonBike, meanwhile, can cover up to 64 kilometres with a single 2.5 kilowatt battery. It can climb groomed slopes with a 40 per cent steepness, and boasts top speeds of up to 42 kilometres per hour. “In the powder snow, it seems like skiing or snowboarding,” says Muron. “Because it’s completely silent, you really feel like you’re sliding, you can really curve lines just like you do when skiing.”

You can watch a video of the MoonBike in action here.

Sustainable ski resorts

With shorter winters, decreasing snowfalls and warmer temperatures, the effects of climate change in the mountains are becoming increasingly visible. It is likely that only high-altitude locations will be able to offer skiing as the seasons go on, or that skiing will be entirely replaced by other sport activities.

While the effects of global warming are unlikely to disappear, can ski resorts implement sustainable measures to delay such effects? In this article by National Geographic we have found a list of extremely sustainable ski resorts.

Zermatt, Switzerland. This car-free resort is easily accessed by train and has impeccable eco credentials: a photovoltaics (solar) system powers its gondola lift station; electric buses take skiers from A to B; snow groomers run on eco-speed diesel; and environmental experts oversee construction work. 

Flims Laax Falera, Switzerland. This resort is taking the fast run towards self-sufficiency and 100% renewable energy. Its electricity already comes from CO2-neutral sources and all new lift facilities are equipped with photovoltaics. There are e-vehicle and e-bike charging points, recycling stations, drinking water fountains and protected zones for animals and plants. Even the ski wax is biodegradable. 

Saas Fee, Switzerland. This is the world’s first carbon-neutral municipality. The car-free resort runs on hydropower and has nailed it transport-wise, with an e-car sharing service and emission-free ski buses. 

Wolf Creek, Colorado. Deep, steep and snow-sure, Wolf Creek is a shining model of sustainability. The resort is carbon-free, conservation-minded and runs on 100% renewable energy. Its snowcats even use biodegradable grapeseed oil.

Kaprun, Austria. Cue high-elevation recultivation projects, lifts running on 100% ecologically generated energy and free ski buses. 

Pejo, Italy. This green-minded resort in Stelvio National Park, in Trentino, is plastic-free and has hydroelectric plants providing renewable energy. Plans are in place to introduce hybrid snowcats.

Avoriaz, France. The greenest of France’s Portes du Soleil ski resorts, Avoriaz has launched projects to revegetate slopes, protect natural snow and keep snow-groomer emissions to a minimum.

Environmental tips

Climate change is becoming one of the world’s major issues and talking points. The development of ski resorts creates significant pressure on the mountains and their eco-system, and it is an undisputable fact that the glaciers are retreating. We found some useful environmental tips in this article on seechamonix.com to help preserve the mountains for future generations.

  • Be aware of your environmental impact as skiers and boarders. Educate yourself about your environmental impact on the mountains, and what you can do to minimize it.
  • Leave no trace – do not litter the slopes. When the snow melts at the end of the season, litter left behind will remain. Bin it or take it home with you. Did you know it takes up to two years for an orange peel skin to be absorbed by the earth? While a cigarette butt takes up to five years. If you find litter on the slopes, be responsible, do the right thing – pick it up.
  • Do your bit to reduce global warming on holiday and at home. In hotels, re-use your towels each day, and where possible recycle your household waste. Many French ski resorts now have excellent recycling facilities for plastics, cans and paper, glass and other waste. Additionally, if you’re not in your chalet or hotel room, switch off electrical appliances. A TV can use more energy when left on standby than it does during the time is being watched.
  • Encourage tour operators to adopt green policies. Find out if your tour operator offers train travel as an alternative to flying; if they use paper from sustainable forests for their brochures; if they use low-wattage light bulbs in their chalets and bio-degradable detergents.
  • Investigate whether your chosen resort uses environmentally friendly practices. Many resorts now use bio-diesel fuel in piste-bashers, solar panels for heating, hydro-electricity/wind energy for power and a host of other initiatives. Some resorts use the International Standards Organisation (ISO) 14001 as a mark of their environmental credentials.
  • Reduce CO2 emissions. By flying fewer miles or switching from air to rail, you can help reduce the volume of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Whenever possible, use your bike instead of your car.
  • Respect the natural habitat of mountain animals and plants. If you ski through trees, you can damage them by knocking off branches and killing young shoots under the snow. Take care. Many areas are out of bounds to protect the natural habitat of animals and plants – not just safety reasons.

As mountain lovers, let’s all make an effort to follow these simple, impactful environmental tips and make the Alps a better place for those who will visit them in the future.

Make events sustainable!

A plethora of new event management apps are revolutionising the digital side of events such as forums, conferences and corporate incentives. Imagine offering your clients a platform where they can engage with each other throughout the event, adding a fun and personalised touch to the experience!

evenTwo is the one of the leading platforms for developing native apps for events, conferences and congresses. The app can be manipulated according to client’s preferences, from design to special features, for example, agendas, attendee lists and contacts, in-app messaging, event images, destination expertise and live polls.

Recently, I was on an event in Cascais, Lisbon, for the Iberian MICE Forums, with 70 guests. The evenTwo app added a fun, interactive dimension, as delegates were constantly updated and entertained, thus wowed by the slick organisation and inclusiveness. Ten80 Events have built solid relationships with the evenTwo International Business Developers and will definitely be recommending to incorporate the app into future events!

Penelope Mirotti, Event Planner