Letter; Stripped ski piste is eco-rape

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The Independent Online
Stripped ski piste is eco-rape

Sir: Well done for shedding light on the environmental problems of skiing ("Whatever happened to green skiing?", 2 November).

However, the "canny initiative" reported at Les Arcs of stripping the piste of topsoil, removing the rocks, and replanting with hardy alpine grass, is not what I would call an enviromental solution.

The plants that had naturally colonised the piste over thousands of years have been replaced with a monoculture of one species. This is not conserving biodiversity. The "environmental" benefit seems to be that less snow needs to be "made".

The rape of the piste is irreversible (and must have required a prodigal amount of energy-wasting earth-moving vehicles into the bargain).

I hope this does not become "good practice" - please do not encourage it by calling it an environmental initiative.


Swindon, Wiltshire