Fresh snow is scarce in Ruhpolding this year. Artificial snow is used to host the Biathlon World Cup. This must be stored specially over the summer.

The fact that major winter sports events are often only possible thanks to the production of artificial snow is nothing new. However, climate change is increasingly causing major problems. Too high temperatures, too little snow – so-called snow farming is common practice. The organizers of the Ruhpolding Biathlon World Cup are pioneers in this technology; artificial snow has been produced for the Chiemgau Arena since 2005.

Thanks to a depot with a capacity of more than 10,000 cubic meters, the snow that is produced in winter with four fan guns is stored over the summer. This is quite possible in the shady valley near the biathlon facility, the precious commodity is kept covered with insulating boards and silage film in a concrete frame.

Of course there are also losses, up to 30 percent of the artificially generated amount does not survive the warm months. The rest is used in winter for preparing the routes. Snow is also produced in the ski hall in Oberhof in Thuringia, which is then also stored in a depot. This was also done in preparation for the upcoming Biathlon World Championships in February.

A snow depot has long been a prerequisite for organizing a World Cup. “Professional winter sports have relied on artificial snow for training and competitions for more than two decades. This will not change,” said the biathlon world association IBU when asked by dpa: “It is therefore our task as an association to ensure that the production and storage of snow is as sustainable as possible.”

The organizers must demonstrate energy-efficient snow production and modern snow management, according to the IBU. This has been the case in Ruhpolding for almost two decades now.

Only artificial snow was used for the World Cup, which started on Wednesday with the men’s singles. Reserves are still available should more be needed.

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