Cold weather ensures extra long ski season in west German mountains

Cold weather ensures extra long ski season in west German mountains
Skiing on the Winterberg in April. dpa | Caroline Seidel
The unusually cold weather throughout March and April means that people in North Rhine-Westphalia have been able to escape the monotony of lockdown by doing something the state isn’t exactly famous for - skiing.

Ski pistes at Winterberg ski resort in the Sauerland region are still open due to frosty nights, regular snow and a bit of help from snow machines.

The ski season in the Sauerland region hasn’t lasted this long for at least twenty years, said Susanne Schulten, a spokeswoman for the winter sport arena Sauerland.

With its highest peaks reaching 840 metres in elevation, the Winterberg region cannot compete with Germany’s Alpine resorts, where the highest peaks rise to more than 2,000 metres above sea level.

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But Schulten said that generous snow cover meant that 13 lifts in the region were still running. And locals are loving it.

“It is clear to us: for lack of other recreational alternatives and because people had to wait so long, they can’t get enough of it,” Schulten said.

Due to the pandemic restrictions, lifts in the Winterberg were first opened at the beginning of March. Meanwhile ticket quotas were capped at one-fifth of the maximum number of visitors in order to prevent the slopes from becoming overcrowded. 

The police have been satisfied with how things have been going. “The situation in Winterberg is running smoothly and winter sports enthusiasts are adhering to the Covid rules,” a spokesman said. 

The ski resort plans to keep its lifts running until at least April 25th – with a slightly reduced number of five to ten lifts, depending on demand.

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