As part of our ongoing Sustainability Program, The Freeride World Tour has selected ambassadors throughout the entire FWT pyramid to share their eco-friendly experience and inspire people towards responsible living. Here we have a chat with Swiss Freeride Junior Tour ambassador, Frank Rétornaz.

Hey Frank, you’re our FJT Sustainability Program ambassador, can you introduce yourself?

Sure ! My name is Frank Rétornaz, I’m 16 years old, I’m Swiss and I live in the Fribourg canton. I’m a skier and I compete on the FJT series.

How did you get interested in fighting climate change ?

It was just seeing how the evolution of the surrounding glaciers from year to year that I realized that we (and I) had to act quickly! So I started to change my habits and my behaviour towards nature and the planet and I try to share it in every way possible to my friends, my family and the people I ride with.

Do you think that ecology/sustainable development should be a subject taught at school and if so, why?

Yes definitely! We miss some of that today but I’ve been lucky enough to have a great science teacher who showed us videos which increased our awareness of sustainability and really alerted us to the cause, telling us that if we wanted to keep on practising our sport for as long as we want, we had to change our behaviours now. We also did an afternoon in the forest collecting every piece of garbage we saw, we were shocked: we found everything from the smallest cigarette butt to the wheel of a car and a sofa.

Do you see the impact of humans on the planet in your daily life?

Of course, mostly when I’m out in the mountain. It's sad to find so much garbage on the snow, especially since it's not compostable garbage, so it degrades the environment and all this garbage can end up in our lakes, our rivers, our oceans...

What kind of waste do you often find in the mountains?

Mostly packaging like cereal bars package or plastic bottles and cans. But as I said, it can be anything and it’s scary to see them even super high up! In summer it’s crazy to see how much waste is left by people in the mountains, of course around the resorts but also all the way up to the top of the mountain. Some resorts are really involved and put some Summit Foundation awareness signs and a lot of trash cans which is good.

How can we avoid that?

Personally, when I go on the mountain I always have a small bag in my pocket and I pick up the garbage I see. It's not complicated, it’s a little something I can easily do for the planet.  I made the choice to invest in a metal water bottle so that it is reusable, and it prevents me from buying plastic bottles. Same for the food I eat on a riding day, I prepare everything at home, and I don't buy anything at the store. It would be very convenient, but it generates so much unneeded packaging that I prefer to bring my own. I would recommend the readers read your article How to be a Greener Freerider because I took quite a few tips from that into my daily life.

Are your friends as aware as you are or are you the only one making the effort?

At first they were laughing at me when I was picking the trash I would find on the mountain, but now I can see them play the game too so I’m pretty happy about it.

And finally, what are your daily habits for protecting the environment and that you would advise other freeriders to apply?

  • Use a reusable water bottle when you go skiing, or for any of your activities actually!
  • Don’t leave any trash on the mountain
  • Go riding by train as much as you can
  • Eat seasonal products