Skisport raises the alarm: ‘if this can disappear due to climate, it’s a scare’

The summer was hot. Also for the skiers. It was not possible to train, because almost all the glaciers in Europe were closed. At the beginning of this season, matches were canceled due to high temperatures. It is getting warmer and warmer and that has consequences for winter sports.

“If we look at our snow measurements, we see at almost all stations in Austria that the amount of fallen snow has decreased by forty percent since the fifties,” says Glacier specialist Marc Olefs.

“The amount of snow is decreasing and the snow cover is also shorter. The higher temperatures mean that there is more rain than snow and also that the snow that has already fallen melts faster.”

The developments that Olefs mentions can be threatening for winter sports in general and professional winter sports. Austria’s largest glacier, for example, has lost 250 meters of ice thickness in almost a hundred years.

The skiers themselves are also worried. “This is what I like to do the most. If that can disappear due to the climate, that’s a scare for me,” says Norwegian Lucas Braathen, who has already won gold in the World Cup twice this season: once in the slalom and once in the giant slalom.

Ski Federation FIS also believes that it is time for action. “It is important that we do our part in terms of moderation,” says Johan Eliasch, president of the FIS, firmly. “Our approach is twofold. We want to reduce our carbon footprint by fifty percent by 2030. And secondly, we want to become ten times more climate positive.”

The professional skiers travel from hot to hot during a season; from the Alps to the Rocky Mountains and back again. “It’s not something that I can necessarily change very much, I think,” says Meiners.

“I think that’s a bit more of a fad. They might be able to cluster the matches a bit more so they limit the travel moves.”


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