Any vacation by a responsible tourist should respect the environment he visits and should help preserve the area in its pristine glory. This is particularly true of mountain vacations where we often visit places where very few people live. Their livelihood is often based on what they grow or make locally and responsible eco tourism means that efforts are made to gainfully employ the locals without disturbing the environment.
There are several tour operators who specialize in eco tourism. Very often they function within their own set of norms of responsible tourism. They organize skiing vacations that promote alternative versions of winter tourism where nature is admired in its unspoiled condition and nothing is done to alter it. Accommodation is organized in small villages and family run hotels that will help the local economy.
Locations are chosen for their access to unspoiled mountain terrain. They do not use fancy resorts with a number of lifts and resort facilities. Most of their skiing vacations are for cross-country skiing where there is no use of lifts. Most cross country skiing takes place at the foot of the mountains, in the valleys rather than on steep easily-eroded hillsides. Cross-country skiing brings the tourist in contact with to traditional villages that might otherwise be deserted in winter, thus encouraging small scale winter tourism.
Eco-friendly skiing vacations ensures that there is no disruption or disturbance of the natural habitat or uprooting of people. Ecotourism should be restricted to a scale that the natural environment can sustain. The type and scale of tourism should be appropriate to local conditions and operate within the limits set by local appropriate infrastructure and carrying capacity.
Cross country skiing vacation in Austria at the Seefeld Plateau offers over 500 km of groomed and marked trails in pristine surroundings. Eco tourism organizers base their groups in small villages such as the pretty village of Mosern. One can spend a week here in family run hotels with fantastic south-facing views over the Inn Valley. The village is just half an hour from the city of Innsbruck and in the heart of the Austrian Tyrol.