Winter sports area

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Winter sports areas

A winter sports area is a tourist area approved for skiing and snowboarding , cross-country skiing or, in general, winter sports . An area of ​​the mountains made accessible by cable cars and ski slopes , in which mainly skiing is practiced, is the classic ski area (also written as ski area in Austria ). Cross-country trails are now common practice, and with more extensive infrastructure for Nordic sports , one also speaks of an alpine center .

Classic winter sports areas

Bariloche winter sports area ( Argentina )

Classic winter sports areas are usually located in mountainous terrain. The mountains and a continental climate with temperatures that fall below freezing point in winter are important prerequisites for practicing traditional winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing . Well-visited ski areas are, for example, in the Alpine regions in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Northern Italy, Slovenia and France, but also in the Czech Republic, Poland, as well as in North America and Japan.

Ski slope in the Rastkogel ski area, Zillertal

Most classic ski areas are open in winter. However, the following prepared European alpine ski areas are open all year round: Hintertux Glacier (the only year-round ski area in Austria) and the Zermatt / Breuil-Cervinia ski area on the Matterhorn (largest summer ski area in the Alps).

The operator of a ski area - usually a company - usually does not own the mountainous land used for the construction of ski slopes , but leases it from the landowners, all of whom are agricultural businesses that use the slopes in summer as pastures and hay meadows. The original form in which the operator was a local cooperative of the residents has largely disappeared due to the economic dimension.

In the context of gentle tourism , additional offers are increasingly being propagated that use less landscape , such as cross-country skiing , touring or snowshoeing . Winter sports operations are not necessarily limited to the winter season. In winter sports areas that are located in the area of ​​a glacier ( glacier ski areas ), winter sports are sometimes possible all year round, as the required freezing temperatures prevail here. Thanks to snowmaking systems , the main season can now also be extended to periods with little snow.

Most of the ski areas are in the area of ​​general tourist regions , which also have alpine sports and leisure activities in summer. The winter sports facilities, which are not very attractive in the snowless time and which mountain hikers tend to avoid, are increasingly being marketed as climbing aids for mountain bikers , paragliders and other new fun sports , for example, and supplemented , for example, with summer toboggan runs or cable-gliding facilities .

In the regions in which there are no significant elevations (mountains) or in which climatic conditions stand in the way of a winter sports area in the open air, ski halls are currently increasingly being built , also in large cities. Winter sports are even possible in the desert, for example in Dubai.

Economical meaning

A winter sports area is a major tourist attraction . Austria alone generates around 7 billion euros in added value annually through the operation of the winter sports areas; if additional indirect effects are added, the value added effect increases to 11 billion euros, according to the winter sports network. Bavarian winter sports areas make around 168 million day trips and 27.4 million overnight stays in the winter season, generating gross sales of 2.5 billion euros.

Infrastructure of a winter sports area: access, accommodation, transport, ski slopes


The biggest problems for winter sports areas are currently the climatic change, global warming . In the winters there is sometimes no snow in some traditional winter sports areas, the season doesn't start until very late in the year, or the valley runs are in poor condition, so that the skiers also have to take the cable cars down. The start of the ski season in Switzerland in 2011 was postponed from the first weekend in December to almost January. In some German and Austrian ski areas, the opening of the slopes had to be postponed as the temperatures were too high to cover the areas with snow cannons . The excessively high temperatures and persistent drought in the winters not only affect professional winter sports enthusiasts, but also damage tourism in the respective regions because the paying guests stay away.

However, in addition to extensive investments and energy consumption, snow-making also consumes enormous amounts of water. Therefore, increasingly large snow ponds (snow-making ponds ) are being created in ski areas to collect the water that is additionally consumed in winter. This again leads to increased use of the landscape and interventions in sensitive natural areas, as the pools are located right up to the summit region of the lifts.

In glacier ski areas, glacier maintenance has to be carried out more and more, not only because of the slopes themselves, but also because the lifts are mostly anchored in the ice, and because of the strong glacier retreat they dry up much too quickly. This snow farming , i.e. snow production in the favorable times, as well as collecting and covering the snow over the summer season, is increasingly used in lower altitudes.

To get rid of litter in the mountains, the Clean-Up Tour has existed in Switzerland since 2019. Numerous volunteers have been taking part in organized rubbish collection campaigns for years.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Winter sports area  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Ski resort  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  3. Archive link ( Memento of the original from May 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. Archive link ( Memento of the original from January 7, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  5. ^ Winter travel. In: Focus Online . October 14, 2018, accessed October 14, 2018 .
  6. CLEAN-UP TOUR 2019: The first national waste clean-up tour in the mountains. In: May 1, 2019, accessed May 2, 2019 .