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Media address expansion of winter sports

Oct 20, 2016
The call by CIPRA to end the constant upgrading of ski areas has found considerable support. Facts such as climate change, stagnating numbers of skiers and falling profits underline the urgency of these demands.
Image caption:
Bigger, higher, further – Alpine ski areas are seeing excessive development. Pictured is the South Tyrol ski area of Schöneben, Italy, which plans to expand. © Marius Brede/flickr

The Alpine countries are at present falling over themselves to expand their ski areas: in Germany two municipalities on the Riederberger Horn are trying to get around the approved Bavarian Alpine Plan and push a ski area connection through a protected zone. The planned link between the Austrian glacier valleys of the Ötztal and Pitztal, or the expansion of the Haider Alm and Schöneben areas outside the permitted skiing zones in the South Tyrolean Vinschgau Valley are further examples. The arguments against the excessive development of ski areas are based in particular on climate change, stagnating numbers of skiers and falling profits. Many of these areas are even today fighting for economic survival: in Switzerland, for example, only one in three ski areas is profitable.
At the end of September 2016, therefore, CIPRA representatives from Germany, Austria, South Tyrol and CIPRA International sounded the alarm at a joint press conference held in Innsbruck, Austria. They demanded an Alpine-wide moratorium on the expansion of ski areas and a sustainable strategy for development in the Alpine regions, based on the Alpine Convention, that takes full account of current agreements, spatial planning and climate change. Katharina Conradin, President of CIPRA international, stated: “It is vital for such a reorientation to focus on promoting projects that meet strict sustainability criteria – in all of the Alpine countries.” As a consequence, she continued, improved Alpine-wide co-operation in the tourist industry is essential.
CIPRA’s call has attracted considerable attention amongst the public in the German-speaking Alpine countries. Numerous media outlets have used it as an opportunity to address the future of winter sports, with both supportive and critical viewpoints being expressed.

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