Winter season despite summer weather: skiing in the heat of Kitzbühel - Best Places To Visit
Winter season despite summer weather: skiing in the heat of Kitzbühel

Winter season despite summer weather: skiing in the heat of Kitzbühel

October 17, 2018 Off By admin


Skiing in the heat of Kitzbühel


Cable car Kitzbühel starts in ski season



At up to 21 degrees, two runs were set up on the Resterhöhe.

(Photo: dpa)

  • Operators and hundreds of winter sports enthusiasts did not stop at the late-summer rather than early winter weather: Kitzbühel opened two ski runs.
  • The snow came from the camp.



Up to 21 degrees, blazing sun nine hours a day, excellent panoramic views – also in Kitzbühel summer conditions prevailed this weekend. Best ski weather! At least one thought of the cable cars Kitzbühel and started the ski season ice cold on Saturday. The ski season?

On the Resterhöhe, an eight-person chairlift transported skiers and snowboarders to the mountain station. Two pistes on a steep northern slope are already prepared, they run as a white ribbon through the green landscape. While hundreds of summer winter sportsmen slipped on the leveled snow surface, hikers in shorts could be seen beside the runway.

For snow cannons it is still too warm. So you put on “snow of yesterday”

That some high-altitude ski resorts in the Alps in the middle of October, the lifts in operation, which is not unusual in itself. However, these are almost exclusively glacier ski areas over 3000 meters, such as Sölden, Hintertux and Saas-Fee. The mountain station of the Resterhöhe at Pass Thurn lies at only 1890 meters.

And because the air is warm in late summer, you can not produce artificial snow with snow cannons at this time, that’s only possible at temperatures around freezing. So the slopes were laid out with snow from yesterday – old snow, which had been stored in depots in the spring. Rollers distributed him on two descents up to 100 centimeters high.

And indeed: Nearly 2000 winter sports fans traveled from far away on the weekend, including many ski clubs and racing teams from Germany, to pull the first turns on the Resterhöhe. Environmentalists, however, were stunned by the early start of the season.

“Winter tourism in Tyrol is becoming increasingly grotesque”, wrote the Green Tyrolean Member of Parliament Michael Mingler on Twitter. Although the Resterhöhe actually belongs to the Salzburger Land, he hit a nerve. The operators of the Kitzbühel cable cars went down a snow-shitstorm.

Georg Kaltschmid, the Greens’ tourism spokesman, spoke of a “massive damage to the image”: “It’s actions like these that cause enormous damage to tourism, because these pictures go all over the world.” The pictures are actually absurd, and it seems almost like a reaction of the tourism industry to start the ski season just on a weekend, where you can sit outside in a T-shirt.

Because apart from the unusually warm autumn of this year, the future forecasts due to climate change for low-lying ski resorts such as Kitzbühel are generally not so rosy. Climatologists predict that barely enough snow below 1200 meters in height will be available in 50 years’ time. Winters in the Alps are already 10 to 30 days shorter than they were in the 1960s.

The entire snowpack in the Alps will decrease by 70 percent, according to recent studies. To ensure winter tourism in the Alps at the end of the century, global warming would have to be limited to below 1.5 degrees.

Recycling snow or ecological madness?



Tourism destinations like Kitzbühel are therefore trying to secure their ski business as a precautionary measure by technical means. “After all, we are a service provider, and we promise the customer peace of mind and 200 ski days per season,” says Josef Burger, CEO of Bergbahnen AG Kitzbühel, the largest cable car company in Austria. If the snow does not fall naturally from the sky, snow cannons and snow arms help.


THEME Piste caterpillars prepare the snow from the snow deposit taken on the summer of 12



A snowcat distributes a mix of real and artificial snow.

(Photo: imago / Eibner Europe)

Many ski resorts have installed miles of water pipes, built reservoirs and pumps to produce enough snow. The ski resort operators bunker as much old snow as possible. The art trails on the Resterhöhe would be made possible by a “sophisticated, ecologically meaningful and economically sustainable method of snow conservation”, says Burger. After the end of the winter season, snow groomers push old snow together, which consists of 80 percent artificial snow and 20 percent natural snow.

The stuff is stored on plastic plates and covered with waterproof silage film, above it comes “glacier fleece”, a water-storing and wind-repellent plastic film. So the snow survives the summer, only 20 percent of it melt away.

The tourism managers think nothing of a time limit of the season

Nature conservation organizations such as the International Commission for the Protection of the Alps (CIPRA) criticize snowmaking for its enormous energy consumption and interference with the ecosystem. The cannons disturb, for example, wild animals during their rest periods. Since the snow from the depots for the most part consists of artificial snow, the criticism also meets the supposedly ecologically correct snow arms. “This criticism is completely in vain,” says Josef Burger, “that is the recycling of snow already produced, the ecological footprint is very close to natural snow.”

The Tyrolean Greens have now proposed a limitation of the winter season, preferably as a voluntary agreement among the cable car operators. But the tourism managers seem a long way from that. As long as the guests accept the offer so well and the conservation of snow is further optimized, they want to continue to open so early, says Josef Burger.

On the famous Hahnenkamm, snowfarming last summer was not quite as good as planned. During a thunderstorm, the insulating foil caught fire. It sounds like a joke, but the snow depot almost burned down.

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