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1.5 tonnes of artificial fertilizer for skiing competitions?

Jan 18, 2007 / CIPRA Internationale Alpenschutzkommission
The impact of climate change on skiing areas is the subject of the OECD study published on 13 December 2006. It concludes that if a region's average annual temperature increases by one degree, only around 500 of the 666 skiing areas in the Alps could be assured of snow.
Were the temperature to increase by four degrees, only 200 or so would be left, and the German and Austrian skiing areas would be hardest hit. The Swiss Alps would still be regarded as assured of snow thanks to the skiing areas situated above 4000 m.
The current weather conditions are increasingly bizarre. Last weekend the international Lauberhorn races were held on the Lauberhorn in the Bernese Oberland. The small matter of the snow conditions was raised as it has been for organisers of other skiing competitions. In the past if it had not snowed, artificial snow was always an alternative. This year, however, the temperatures are so high that even this method is no guarantee of snow. That's why the organisers have been very grateful for the artificial fertiliser ammonium nitrate, which draws moisture from the snow, raising the freezing point. According to reports in Switzerland's Sonntagszeitung the organisers at the Lauberhorn are said to have used 1.5 tonnes of ammonium nitrate to prepare their ski run. This would be the equivalent of the entire approved annual quantity for an agricultural area of 14 hectares. The organisers deny these claims, and although precise figures are not available, they estimate that they used some 800 to 900 kg for the slalom run.
For the Swiss Agency for the Environment, this use of artificial fertiliser goes too far. What's more, the Canton omitted to monitor the use of artificial fertilisers. However, there is a loophole in the legislation here as there are no statutory provisions in Switzerland regarding the use of fertilisers on ski slopes. The current debate has also angered farmers. After all, they are subject to clear-cut regulations, and they are wondering why such regulations do not also apply to the organisers of skiing competitions.
Source and information: (de), (de)