In Conversation With Chemmy Alcott Four-Time Winter Olympian

Chemmy Alcott, is a four-time Winter Olympian who represented Team GB throughout a 20-year sporting career. Reaching a high of 8th in the world, she became the first British ski racer to win a run in a World Cup.

Following her retirement in 2014 from alpine skiing, Chemmy has challenged herself to partake in the World’s Toughest Ski Race in Greenland in March 2015, 100-mile road race, Ride London, The Great Amazon Raft Race in Sept 2023 and other sporting endeavours. Alongside this, Chemmy is also a well-known TV presenter, prominent public speaker and founder of the initiative X-Elle.

She is also passionate about sustainability and making the right choices to protect the world we live and the mountains that she calls home. Read our interview with Chemmy to learn more about how the snow holidays market is adapting to the changes of the natural environment

How do you think consumer behaviour has changed in the last three years in terms of (luxury) snow holidays?

The variability of the winters, the retreating glaciers has made the impact of climate change incredibly apparent. Seeing the mountains change is an unavoidable, in your face evidence of climate change. Once you see it, you can’t ignore it which is why I believe many are looking at more sustainable options when booking snow holidays.

Winter holiday goers are incredibly passionate and family-driven, so imagining a future where the choices we make today may negatively affect the generations to come is really worrying. Which is why there have been changes in habit of consumers from how they travel, where they go, the questions that are being asked.

And what initiatives are Tourist Boards and Accommodation providers implementing to address these changes? 

We know from research recently conducted by the Austrian National Tourist Office that 80% of British winter sports fans say they factor in sustainability when booking their holidays yet one in five are unaware of the potential impact of climate change on our winters. This is why it’s important to promote different options of travel and give incentives to those coming by train. Highlighting and celebrating regions at the forefront of positive change. For example, SkiWelt is one of the world’s most sustainable winter resorts. It is powered by 100% electricity from renewable hydropower since 2002, opened the first solar-powered ski lift in 2008 and much more. It’s measures such as these, but also introducing sustainable food sources and focusing on local produce, reducing waste and implementing other practices that can all add up to make a big difference.

Listening to consumer demands and offering more sustainable alternatives and options is incredibly important. As mentioned above, many winter sports fans are unaware of the impact climate change has on our winters, but with 40% of skiers wanting their children to learn how to ski, it is important processes are put in place that will help future generations continue to enjoy this style of holiday and activity.

Accommodation and regions are helping consumers to be more aware of this via changes that may seem small but can make a big difference. For example, Hotel Klosterbräu grow their own fruit and vegetables in their gardens, have their own chickens, a bee farm and 50% of the menu is vegetarian or vegan. 100% of the hotel’s electricity comes from a mix of solar, wind and hydro power while the heating runs on chipping fuel.

Luxury is a highly subjective concept – what does it mean to you?

Luxury is above and beyond expectations. Bliss. Comfort. Indulgence.

What is your life motto – if you have one?

I never lose. Either I win or I learn.

Note: Chemmy Alcott is working with The Austrian National Tourist Office to highlight the incredible work being done by initiatives to protect our environment and the future of winter sports.

Photo Credit: Chemmy Alcott

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