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Skiing on preserved snow

Skiing on preserved snow


Skis on and off they go! The Tschentenalp above Adelboden. The first skiers are testing out
the slope made of old snow. This slope in green surroundings
is 500m long, 60m wide and almost 1m deep. The main idea is for young
skiing talents to train here. So that they can come after school,
on Wednesday afternoons… We’ve got the facilities,
they can get up here in 6 minutes, it’s a north-facing slope
so it’s ideally exposed. This gives them training options without having to
travel abroad or to Valais. So it’s easily accessible
for all children. It’s a complex project that’s been established by the
training centre association. At the end of April
several hundred volunteers built a pile of snow
measuring 23,000 m3 in total. They covered it with panels,
sheeting and insulating material so that the snow wouldn’t melt. More than two-thirds
of the spring’s snow was preserved until autumn. Part of it melted
during the hot summer. The trial on the Tschentenalp
will last three years. Scientists from the
snow research institute at WSL and from EPFL Lausanne
are conducting the project. They’re investigating the
effects of snow on plants and soil. And yet at Pro Natura,
this project is considered critical. For Pro Natura, a “no-farming project” of this kind is symbolic of a
certain helplessness that is to be expected
in winter sports destinations. They try all kinds of things
to prolong the skiing season. From our viewpoint, this is neither sustainable
nor sensible in the long term and it seems rather ridiculous
when you look at the photos. It’s 100% natural snow that fell right here,
it’s barely been moved. Sometimes you need
innovative ideas. Some people think
innovation is crazy. Either way: in Adelboden,
everyone’s enjoying last season’s snow – from skiing legends
to up-and-coming talents. Skiing on the Tschnent in October –
you really can’t complain. For us, it’s great that we don’t
always have to go to Zermatt, that we can ski here
in our region. Hopefully
it’ll get more shaded so the slope gets
a little harder. But it’s great skiing here. Yes, it’s a little warmer
than usual, but otherwise it’s just the same. It’s green everywhere else
but that doesn’t really matter. The slope is open for
training from Wednesdays to Sundays. It will also open to other groups
from time to time so that they too can ski
on last spring’s snow.

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