- 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.