Guest article: Faction Skis - 1% For the planet
“United by a love of the mountains, and the tools that allow us all to escape there, the Huts project challenges our personal choices and how each individual can reduce the carbon emissions to make a collective impact to protect our winters.”
- Nicholas Bornstein, Founder of Protect Our Winters Switzerland.
Faction Skis and FW Gear have teamed up with Protect Our Winters Switzerland to motivate skiers and snowboarders exploring and staying at Swiss Alpine Club (SAC) huts. The goal: to raise awareness about the biggest environmental impact of their ski touring and split-boarding adventures: transportation of food and the food itself.
The Swiss diet is often rich in meat, which leaves a bigger carbon footprint on our environment. We worked with Maighels Huette (SAC Hut) to design a vegetarian menu for the weekend’s hungry ski-tourers. To avoid using helicopters to transport the food for 100 people, we enlisted the help of POW Ambassadors and the patrons themselves. By mobilizing the adventurous ski-tourers and split-boarders to carry in vegetarian food, we avoid the use of helicopters and the impact of meaty diets.
Far from deterring the adventurers at Maighels Huette, the POW meat-free weekend was sold out. Hut Warden, Nora Honegger phoned all of the guests to explain the plan for the weekend's sustainable food and transportation. The guests were tremendously excited about the use of local produce, and many volunteered to carry up vegetables alongside the POW Ambassadors.
Joining us to shout about sustainable choices were POW Switzerland Ambassadors: Simon Charriere, Elena Koenz, Mauro Dotta and Daniel Loosli. This crew hail from diverse snow sports backgrounds from freestyle skiing to free ride snowboarding. They were truly inspired by the terrain in the valley: immense north faces and steep couloirs tower over the Huette keeping the stoke alive.
We broke into two groups to session couloirs and faces on opposing sides of the valley. The Faction skiers and FW split-boarders were touring up, approaching a big avalanche start-zone when they noticed the fleeting sunshine had destabilized the snowpack. And while sustainability never sleeps, safety also never takes a holiday and so they elected to adjust their route to minimize risk of avalanche.
The alternative couloir they chose required a bit of tricky ridge climbing, which meant that the skiers had to lead the way and kick steps into the hard snow. The pay load was epic - there were hoots and hollers as the team rode the couloirs brimming with cold winter snow.
As the storm closed around them, they turned to watch their friends Simon, Elena and Daniel shred the gnar on the opposing face. After these big lines, their stomachs now screamed the loudest, so they returned to Maighels to exchange stories, eat delicious vegetarian fare and play a few games of pick up sticks.
POW Switzerland founder, Nicholas Bornstein delivered an inspiring speech about personal choices and how to influence their community and local government policies on sustainability issues. The avid ski-tourers and split-boarders in the audience took home valuable knowledge about how they can all be 1% better with regards to sustainability choices at home and in the mountains.
The Huts project was a true collaboration at the passionate core of skiing and snowboarding. Friends were made and ideas exchanged about how to translate sustainability practices into daily life to make positive changes for our planet.
WHO ARE WE? FACTION SKIS + FW GEAR + PROTECT OUR WINTERS SWITZERLAND.
From winter 19/20, Faction Skis and FW Gear have joined 1% for the Planet. As manufacturers of quality gear for winter sports (Skis and apparel), they are passionate about mountains and the communities that support them.
Faction Skis began in 2006, founded by a rag-tag bunch of Australians, Canadians, English and Americans who spent their first winter testing, learning about materials and refining shapes in one of the biggest winter playgrounds in the Swiss Alps, Verbier. As the years went by, their design and production processes became more sophisticated but they never lost sight of why they started Faction. Striving to make products that push boundaries and rebel against the norm: tools of escape.
Now firmly established as a disruptive ski brand that is challenging the status quo set by the big brands, Faction view things differently. Not resting or ignoring issues such as climate change that effect the lifestyle of the community they come from.
FW make gear for Alpine living, wherever you are. Launching to public this fall, the premiere collection is inspired by, and made for the core of Winter Sports: true products for skiers and snowboarders that encapsulate technicality and style.
FW’s premiere range combines minimalist, modern silhouettes with highly technical fabrics that look, feel and perform exceptionally. The alpine/urban duality of this gear means that it’s fit for purpose outdoors, but also styles seamlessly into your street silhouette on down days.
The collective mindset of FW and Faction has driven them to join 1% for the Planet and take on social awareness projects in partnership with Protect Our Winters Switzerland.
Protect Our Winters Switzerland is the outdoor sports community’s leading voice against climate change. The non-profit-organization was founded in 2017 and is part of the global POW network. POW Switzerland turns passionate outdoor people into effective climate activists. Together with their athletes, members and partners they campaign for comprehensive climate action and act on systemic solutions against climate change.