Is skiing a dying sport in times of climate change?
With winters getting warmer real snow is becoming increasingly rare in the Alps. Ski races often require the creation of artificial snow pistes in a complicated process that leaves a white track surrounded by brown, snowless areas. In mountainous Switzerland, where skiing is very popular, a debate has broken out about whether the sport has a future in these times of climate change.
More environmentally friendly than football
Ski races should be continued despite global warming, Philippe Zweifel writes in the Tages-Anzeiger:
“A ski race, even on artificial snow, is an event like any other sports event. Exceptional skiers compete against each other, providing a spectacle for the spectators. As with football, basketball or tennis, but the surface is far more environmentally friendly than an air-conditioned sports hall or stadium. And before we ban all sports we should bear in mind: cultural and other events also take place in heated buildings.”
A sport with no future
Skiing won't survive as a sport for much longer, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung believes:
“How much longer can we wring such races from nature ? Who will still be skiing twenty years from now? Where? And at what price, if the provision of ski slopes becomes increasingly expensive because the snow that doesn't fall from the sky has to be produced using machines. ... Ski races on white lanes in brown-green landscapes, like that in Adelboden recently, serve as memorials. The organisers are proud of the way they once again outsmarted nature and managed to create a perfect racing track in spite of everything. Critics say such races shouldn't take place at all. Climate change is not a new threat to skiing as a sport, but gradually the spirit of the times seems also to be turning against it.”