There are 313km of marked pistes in Zermatt and Cervinia. To support skiers, there is a one cog railway, an underground funicular railway, nine cable cars, five gondola-lifts, eight chair-lifts and nine drag-lifts. Due to this usage, environmental management of these slopes is very important.
In 20002, Zermatt Mountain Cableways (ZMC) appointed a party composed of environmental and planning firms to work out an overall plan for “sustainable skiing areas around Zermatt”.
Tourist developments have previously left masses of waste behind on the mountains. IN 2002, the ZMC made an inventory of the leftover remains. By the end of 2004, half of the damage they prioritised to repair had been. In 2005, the route of a lift for snowboarders, the Blattenlift, was restored by landscaping to make the area appear more natural.
Protection of forests and wild game
In 2003, the ZMC collaborated with various conservationists to draw up a forest wild game protection programme to aid conditions for wildlife in the winter. Segregated conservation areas were fenced off from ski routes and marked with notices. Game observation points were made off the normal pathways allowing animals to be watched with minimal disturbance to them. An information campaign has been made to make visitors and locals more sensitive to the needs of the wildife. Off route skiing can be fatal to wildlife.
A dry-stone wall has been built at Lower Schwarzee to protect marginal vegetation from being trodden on and contaminated.
A restoration project took place in the Gant region in 2005. A large number of ski routes were restored.
Replanting damaged areas on high ground can be very difficult. It is essential to reduce erosion caused by afforestation- afforestation in mountainous environments can increase the rates of avalanches and landslides. By sowing seeds and bringing in young plants, the group covered holes in the vegetation to help secure the slopes.
Monitoring building works
All building work, and replanting of areas is monitored by scientifically trained specialists. Buildings have to comply with environmental legislation, aiming to work long term with consideration for conservation and the environment.
ZMC is placing emphasis on communicating the importance of the local ecology. Information boards have been placed through the Schwarzee Nature Conservation Area (SNCA). In 2005, a glacier path was opened so visitors could see the Gant-Findel glacier region’s glaciers.