European Ski Tourism

Europe’s mountains make popular touristic destinations. The Alps receive 100 million tourists annually; some areas have 80% of their jobs reliant on tourism.

Environmental impacts

  • Construction of ski pistes and other features cause damage to the environment
  • Skiing removes habitats and removes natural protection against avalanches and degrades the natural landscape
  • Most visitors travel in by car, so exhaust fumes lead to further forest damage and air pollution
  • Air travelers to the region can cause more harm by emission at high altitude
  • Skiers can damage trees by knocking off branches and killing shoots underneath the snow
  • Littering
  • Forest clearance has led to an increase in the incidence of avalanches.. Over 100 km^2 of forest has been removed throughout the alps.
  • New resort construction means that slopes have to be bulldozed, blasted and reshaped, increasing slope instability and the rate of avalanches.
  • Water pollution has increased. Chemicals used for preparing 36 glaciers for skiing have increased nitrogen and phosphorus levels in drinking water
  • Sewage disposal creates an engineering challenge
  • The increasing popularity has created a demand for larger accommodation blocks to be built in popular resorts. Limited space on the valley floor, forces more development to occur on surrounding hillsides.

In 1954 there were 200 ski installations and in 1990 there were 2000.


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