Photo by Sally Guillaume.
These three travel companies offer sustainable opportunities to see — and even help save — the planet.
Ahead of its time when it was originally founded in 1996, South American travel operator Aracari is highly regarded in the sustainable travel industry. Founder Marisol Mosquera defines sustainable travel simply as travel that does not destroy the
destination, which in today’s standards means low impact, low-volume tourism. These pillars of tourism have been part of Aracari’s mission since it began, in order to promote natural landscapes.
One of the most important ways Aracari maintains such high standards of sustainability is by educating guests throughout their trips, to “treat the local communities and sensitive environments with great respect,” Moquera states. To follow through, the company works tirelessly with the other businesses they work with to help ensure their self-imposed regulations are effective across the board. For example, Mosquera says the company seeks boutique hotels that are more stringent on standards like waste management, energy consumption, community involvement, et cetera. With these methods incorporated into their business model, Aracari is able to fulfill
clients’ travel needs while making a smaller impact on the surrounding environment.
“People travel to learn and experience new things, and our region is very rich with cultural and natural attractions,” Mosquera says, attractions that they strive to find new ways of highlighting through their bespoke travel tours. One upcoming tour in May 2020 is an eight-day excursion in Bolivia, hosted by National Geographic photographer Max Milligan, based in Kachi Lodge which is located on Sachar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Nestled next to Tunupa Volcano, these transparent igloo tents afford wonderful views and a unique sense of isolation while guests enjoy delicious food, hot water and comfortable accommodations.
Kachi Lodge | Bolivia
Kachi Lodge is located on Sachar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat.
Photo courtesy of Aracari.
Guests can travel to archaeological sites like Machu Picchu with Aracari’s Peru tours.
Photo by Marcella Echavarria.
Another tour featuring Milligan is an adventure through the mountains of Peru at El Albergue Ollantaytambo, where guests can visit local communities, archaeological sites like Machu Picchu, and an organic garden that stretches from the glacial snowline to the tropical cloud forest.
Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp | Kenya
Photo by Stevie Mann.
Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp | Kenya
Cottar’s Safari Camp provides an authentic and individualized safari experience by ensuring a legacy of wilderness, wildlife, comfort and security.
Photo courtesy of Steppes Travel.
Steppes Travel creates eco-luxury holiday trips that are tailor-made for people who are interested in wildlife. While it highlights giving a behind-the-scenes look into many different sensible wildlife environments and discovering different cultures, at the core, Steppes Travel focuses on giving back to the environment and communities their teams visit. An avid traveller himself, Rob Gardiner fit in perfectly at Steppes Travel as the Commercial Manager for the Africa sector with his overall knowledge and love for travel. “I love the people that you meet, I love the lessons that you learn from it, and I think it breaks down barriers, changing our perception of different places and alters our prejudices,” Gardiner says.
Gardiner says that the company’s focus on sustainable travel is driven by a need to look after the communities they visit and keep those wilderness areas as pristine as possible. Steppes Travel also works with community members and conservation groups to ensure proceeds are given back to those areas, noting that, as a whole, travel can be a force for good. “If you’re lucky enough to go to Zambia, Tanzania or Botswana on safari, for example, there should be money that goes back into the local economy so they too are incentivized to look after what they have.”
Regarding the tours, Gardiner says that the wildlife aspect is what helps keeps sustainability in mind for both guides and travellers. He notes that often these trips provide a unique educational experience, granting travellers a new, real perspective on conservation while taking part in projects like tracking rhinos in South Africa or working on a jaguar safari project in Brazil. Tourists can go further by becoming ambassadors for certain regions and work with communities around the world to be more conscious of endangered environments.
“As much as possible, we don’t believe in cocooning our clients away from the streetlife in Delhi or living with a nomadic family in Mongolia,” Gardiner affirms. “I think it’s about getting to know the people and about having that personal human connection.”
According to Sally Guillaume, owner and founder of sustainable travel company Undiscovered Mountains, her reasons for starting the company were driven by a personal drive to create a better world, “to do things in a way that everyone benefits without exploiting people or environments.”
Focusing on trips located in and around the French Alps, Guillaume wanted to steer away from mass tourism and “build a sustainable approach to tourism both for the communities and the rich natural environments they live in.” In doing so, she built a business that not only focuses on preserving natural environments, but also helps clients to discover authentic Alpine communities, not usually found in mainstream Alpine travel.
Guillaume’s vision of a sustainable world includes less consumerism and a deeper appreciation for experiences. And while Undiscovered Mountains, Steppes Travel and Aracari are all model companies, there is a long way to go in sustainable tourism — from updating local infrastructure to promoting lower-impact travel methods such as train or “green” vehicles. She notes, however, the ethical standards of travel companies have become more and more important consumers in recent years, as well as the destination and activities involved.
From touring preserved natural environments with abundant wildlife and flora on the southern French Alps, to immersive tours in both Nepal and Norway that are launching soon, Undiscovered Mountains will continue to make its mission about serving the environment, which has always shaped the culture around them. “The type of food people eat, the architecture of old buildings, the choice of where villages are situated is all to do with how people have survived living off the land of the mountains for centuries.”
The French Alps
Travelers can learn to paraglide and fly above the mountains on one of Undiscovered Mountain’s paragliding courses.
Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.
The French Alps
From ski touring to dogsledding with huskies, …
Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.
The French Alps
Undiscovered Mountains offers a wide assortment of winter activities that are fully customisable, all in the French Alps.
Photo courtesy of Undiscovered Mountains.
Maroon Bells ASPEN / COLORADO
Photo: Vkoulampet / wikimedia commons
Originally named for the abundance of aspen trees in the area, Aspen’s abundance has grown exponentially in terms of luxury, from fine restaurants and world-renowned ski resorts to some of the most artistic and culturally stimulating experiences. These aspects and more are appealing to buyers and continue to shape Aspen’s diverse, high-end lifestyle.
Though the market is plentiful with a large inventory of luxury property options, the Aspen market is finite due to local and state development rules that restrict building in certain areas of the town, according to Craig Morris of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. “Supply and demand are always in favor of our sellers,” he says, but adds that what people want is nearly always achievable. These demands result in an interesting balance of both classic, historic homes with original architecture, and newer construction primarily built on “teardown” properties.
This interweaving of old and new structures is special to Aspen, says Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate, as it further adds to the character of the town and continues to bring in affluent buyers seeking luxury amenities. She notes that particularly in downtown Aspen, the “core,” new residential developments are not permitted and current properties have become more valuable. Wells, and other agents like Robert Ritchie of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, say buyers have grown to cultivate lifestyles in Aspen to fit their own needs. Bespoke estates are either renovated internally, increasing their worth, or new homes are being built more beautiful and upscale than the last. Though Aspen seems to be constantly changing, Ritchie says changes help “shine it up” and ultimately makes the town look good.
And truly, “looking good” is an understatement when considering the luxury and culture that exist in every corner of the city. From an exclusive G650 club and top-rated restaurants to a variety of world-class ski resorts and outdoor amenities, Aspen’s elite can find their true home in a place like this. Whether you hit the slopes or visit the Aspen Music Festival every year, Aspen is a place that can fit any lifestyle, which to buyers is often a priority. “We live in our own little fantasy world and people often suggest that living here is not ‘the real world,’” Morris says. “It’s the ‘real world’ to those that decide to put living and lifestyle at the top of their list, and when they do, they never look back.”
Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate
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People who come to Tamarack rarely want to leave. A fortunate few don’t have to.
The Village at Tamarack is the latest ski-in/ski-out residential addition to the renowned Tamarack Resort in Idaho’s scenic Valley County. Located 90 miles north of Boise and nestled at the base of the Payette River Mountains at an elevation of 4,900 feet, Tamarack is more like a small, inviting hometown than your typical sprawling, mega-resort destination.
Surrounding The Village is Tamarack Resort, a four-season, boutique-style resort with world-class skiing for every skill level. This area welcomes families to the good life without pretense. Here, what you see is what you get. And what you see is nothing short of spectacular, no matter which direction you turn.
There’s the towering beauty of the mountains, the quiet majesty of the pine forests, the peaceful depths of Lake Cascade, and the rushing waters of the Payette River. Many of these vistas can be taken in from the comfortable perch of your own inviting residence at The Village at Tamarack.
This pedestrian-friendly alpine town is home to narrow, winding lanes, unexpected shops, eclectic dining options, and 129 well-appointed condominium residences—all just a few hundred skiable yards from the nearest lift.
3,600-Acres. Four Distinct Seasons. Unlimited Possibilities.
When you live at The Village at Tamarack, you can ski out to the lifts in the morning and ski in from the slopes at the end of the day. Then again, skiing is just the beginning of a long list of outdoor activities your family will share at The Village.
In addition to Alpine, Nordic and backcountry snow skiing, Tamarack boasts snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and snowboarding in winter. In the summer months, there’s water skiing, wake surfing, sailing, and paddle boarding on beautiful Lake Cascade, as well as fly fishing and white water rafting on the renowned Payette River. Zip-lining, golf, mountain biking, birding, hiking, and guided adventures can be enjoyed from spring well into the fall.
For you, downtown is downstairs.
After a day of nonstop activity on the mountain, slow down and relax in The Village’s retail district, located just below your residence. Mingle with neighbors at one-of-a-kind boutiques, bars, and coffee shops. Escape to the spa to relax and unwind after a long day on the slopes. Enjoy family-friendly meals at restaurants ranging from casual cafes to gourmet dining establishments.
Not far from Tamarack, there’s even more to see and do in the laidback, western-style towns of Donnelly and McCall. Boise, America’s most livable city in 2019, is also just an easy road trip away.
With so much to do outdoors, you may never want to come inside. Once you do, however, you’ll be met by warm, inviting, carefully considered interiors.
The Village’s first offering of luxurious, fully furnished condominium residences ranges from comfortable studios to spacious penthouses with multiple indoor and outdoor living areas. Most floor plans feature natural stone accents, full kitchens with waterfall islands, and inspiring views from nearly every angle.
Select floor plans include outdoor dining spaces and additional interior lock-off areas—which can be treated as guest space when needed or separated for rental use in the property’s management program.
Whether The Village at Tamarack is your primary residence, a second, or even third home, it’s likely to be one your family returns to for generations to come. Given the area’s low cost of living and family friendly environment, there’s no better place to raise kids. For adults, Tamarack is an ideal location for refreshing the spirit, rekindling connections and strengthening family ties.
Ready to make this enviable resort life part of your life? Get in touch with Trisha Sears,
The Village at Tamarack’s exclusive onsite broker.
Owning a home at Tamarack Resort may well be the chance of a lifetime. But with only
a limited availability of residences, the opportunity to own at the Village won’t last anywhere near that long.
From California and Utah to Vermont and Upstate New York, ski lodges throughout the country are embracing luxury mountain lifestyles.
Translating into residential real estate, it is no surprise that ski lodge mountain-style design continues to grow in popularity among homebuyers.
Blending rustic style with modern features, this stunning cabin — located in Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, California — is the epitome of a luxury mountain living.
With a pitched roof and oversized deck, granite chimneys on either end leading to generous fireplaces, and a warm-toned interior, the 4,200-square-foot estate was designed by BCV Architecture + Interiors. Boasting a bright and airy floor plan, the home’s design was inspired by a traditional ski lodge. From the large windows, cozy fireplaces, and the use of wood and stone, no detail was forgotten.
We spoke with Hans Baldauf, co-founding principal at BCV Architecture + Interiors, who shares must-have design elements when creating a traditional ski lodge. He also predicts a few upcoming mountain living design trends for 2019.
Incorporate Wood and Stone
In 2019, Baldauf predicts that homebuyers will lean toward “the balance of classic, organic materials — like wood and stone — used in a modern way, with clean lines.
Embracing stone accents, this home features granite chimneys on both sides of the house.
“The rugged natural quality of the stone felt appropriate because of Overland Trail Cabin’s setting high in the Sierra,” says Baldauf.
In terms of the use of wood, “cedar was a natural choice for BCV when designing the exterior because it adapts well to the climate and looks beautiful over time.”
Embrace Natural Light
Homebuyers are also looking to embrace natural light and expansive glazing in 2019. “Whereas traditional mountainside dwellings might feel more closed-off or protected, BCV finds that our clients increasingly want to bring the experience of living in the forest/mountainside into the home. Large windows and glass doors help to create a better connection with the outdoors,” Baldauf says.
Overland Trail Cabin was designed to take full advantage of its unique site, which includes stunning views of the surrounding forest and the nearby slopes of Mount Disney.“Windows at each level bring an abundance of natural light into the interior, and the orientation of the home creates a wonderful change in light throughout the day,” Baldauf says.
Stick with Warm and Neutral Colors
The use of warm and neutral colors helps to create an inviting and relaxing atmosphere, perfect for a traditional ski lodge. “Overland Trail Cabin incorporates natural materials with a regional focus, and BCV found that these colors complement the use of stone and wood throughout the house,” Baldauf says.
Stay cozy with fireplaces
The use of fireplaces is also very important when creating a warm and intimate home. “BCV designed this home as a place that would feel appropriate in hosting large groups and gatherings as well as providing a cozy mountain getaway. With this in mind… a fireplace anchors the living area and contributes to a cozy, intimate feel to this part of the great room,” Baldauf explains.
Build a Pitched Roof
Both practical and aesthetic, the home’s pitched roof “works to shed snow away from the deck and entry areas of the home, while also referencing the pitched roof of the Wurster-designed village lodge,” according to Baldauf.
Photos courtesy of Vance Fox
South Korea’s hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in February offered an opportunity to promote winter sports to the world while demonstrating the diversity of today’s skiing destinations, according to Skiingproperty.com.
“The Winter Olympics is always exciting and it will be no different in PyeongChang,” said Skiingproperty.com director Julian Walker. “This hugely popular quadrennial event was in fact born in the French Alps, specifically in Chamonix in 1924. It returned to France in 1968, to Grenoble, and then again in 1992, to Albertville. For those French resorts that were fortunate enough to participate, the Olympics helped put them on the map and have become an important part of their history.”
Les Arcs — Speed skiing
Part of the Paradiski ski area in the Savoie region, Les Arcs hosted the exhilarating speed skiing at the 1992 Winter Olympics. The event involves skiing as fast as possible down a straight downhill run, such that competitors often exceed 200 kilometres per hour. The resort’s Olympic speed run, known as the ‘Kilometre Lancé’ (Flying Kilometre), is in the Aiguille Rouge area of Les Arcs 2000, where the slopes are especially steep. Pro speed skiers still use it today while the public can use it under supervision. Skiingproperty.com has new-build apartments in Les Arcs, available from €200,000.
Méribel — Ice hockey and Alpine skiing
Picturesque Méribel, a favourite with British skiers, is located in the centre of the vast Trois Vallées ski area, making it ideally placed for hosting two events at the 1992 Olympics — the ice hockey and women’s Alpine skiing. A legacy of this is the resort’s impressive indoor ice rink, the Patinoire Olympique, built for the Olympics and which now includes a swimming pool and restaurant. Skiingproperty.com has luxury property for sale in Méribel, including the newly built 4-bedroom chalets from €2.9 million.
Val d’Isère — Alpine skiing
Testament to the quality of the slopes around trendy Val d’Isère, the resort played a key part in the 1992 Olympics. Part of the Espace Killy ski area, which includes Tignes, the resort hosted all bar one of the men’s Alpine skiing events, including the downhill, super-G, giant slalom and combined. The resort’s famous Face de Bellevarde, a thrilling black run, was integral to these events and today remains a highlight of skiing at Val d’Isère. Skiingproperty.com has luxury off-plan apartments in Val d’Isere, available from €1.3 million.
Courchevel — Ski jumping and Nordic combined
Internationally exclusive Courchevel played its part in the 1992 Olympics by hosting the jumping and Nordic combined at its Le Praz (1,300) village. The Courchevel Valley also benefited from the creation of accommodation for competitors in the village of La Tania. Skiingproperty.com has new luxury apartments in Courchevel, available from €825,000.