Sunday, April 2, 2023

Sustainable high performance in Davos

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Impression of the sprint race in Davos.

By Thomas Renggli (text) and Valeriano Di Domenico (photos)

Davos, just before Christmas. The snow lies like a snow-white blanket over the landscape. The firs look as if they were dusted with powdered sugar.

But it’s not the winter idyll that is attracting crowds of spectators to the Landwasser valley this weekend. Davos Nordic is on the program, the traditional showdown of the best cross-country skiers as part of the World Cup.

It is an event that wants to convey much more than top sporting performance, which rather shows that these two aspects of life can also be combined: the world of top-class sport and ecological sustainability.

The snow is from last January

This basically starts with the essence of winter sports and the basis of every competition – the production of snow. Peter Engler, who has been President of the Organizing Committee since this year, describes this aspect and the cooperation with BKW as the “key of the concept”: “We make the snow in January when it’s cold and dry, and then we put it over the summer.”

“Snow farming” is the name of the principle in which the precious white is stored under a 50 centimeter thick layer of sawdust – and despite the long duration, only around 20 percent of the volume is lost. “If we were to technically produce the snow in autumn, it would be very energy-intensive,” says Engler.

The Davos Nordic sustainability concept also includes shifting mobility away from the road and onto the rails. Engler: “So that the public can use the train, we provide a free shuttle service from the train station.”

E-cars can be charged in the vicinity of Davos Nordic.

There are also incentives for visitors with electric cars. There are six charging stations for electric vehicles at the entrance to the village, which visitors can use free of charge. The electricity is generated from 100 percent renewable energy from Davos.

The organizers didn’t lose sight of any other aspect either. Thanks to PV systems and timber construction, the BKW stands are self-sufficient and ecologically neutral. Wherever possible, the food comes from local producers and is served in reusable or compostable dishes. The waste comes in separate containers. The helpers’ clothing is only renewed every four to five years. “So everyone delivers their share,” says Engler.

Jonas Baumann on the Davos Nordic route.

Top runner Baumann: “Set a good example”

The Graubünden top cross-country skier Jonas Baumann (32), who has lived in Davos with his family for 17 years, became aware of the ecological side of Davos Nordic while studying sports management at the Graubünden University of Applied Sciences. And he is impressed by the efforts of the organizers: “Precisely because the effort is not always worthwhile from an economic point of view.” Personally, he is committed to sustainability precisely because, as a top athlete, he travels a lot and therefore “unfortunately” leaves a large footprint. Privately, however, he tries to reduce this: “We have two little girls. I want to set a good example so that our grandchildren can still experience winter sports one day.»

If possible, he uses public transport or a bicycle. He and his family make sure they don’t leave the lights on unnecessarily. Baumann also pays close attention to nutrition: “If we eat meat, then it’s from organic animal husbandry or from my sister’s organic farm. We plan our purchases well to avoid food waste. And we don’t throw away food just because it’s past its sell-by date.” His wife also grows her own vegetables in the raised bed.

Professional cyclist Marlen Reusser with Davos Nordic President Peter Engler in the finish area.

Cyclist Reusser: “It must be the new normal”

Even professional cyclist Marlen Reusser, the two-time European champion in individual time trials, is aware that as a top athlete she can never be a good role model: “Every time I get on a plane, I get angry inside.” The 31-year-old doctor is all the more committed to her core sporting skills for a more sustainable and ecological society – also on the political stage. From 2008 to 2009 she chaired the Bern cantonal party of the Young Greens, ten years later she sat on the board of the Emmental Greens. Today she says self-critically: “Our way of life is absurd. We need to take massive action – both as a society and as individuals. Otherwise we will sooner rather than later be heading towards an ecological catastrophe.”

Against this background, an event like Davos Nordic has an important “beacon function” because it shows people that something can be achieved even on a small scale. At the same time, Reusser says: “Actually, this must be the new normal.” She herself tries to leave as few traces as possible in everyday life: “I always have a knife and fork with me so that I don’t have to rely on disposable cutlery.”

It is precisely for this reason that she appreciates the fact that every aspect is scrutinized in Davos – including the lighting. Peter Engler and his team rely on energy-neutral solar lights from Curea Elektro AG, which is part of the BKW network: “After dark, the lights allow the supervisors and helpers to do their work.”

Our motivation: fewer tracks

In this way, Davos Nordic is playing a pioneering role – and is relying on BKW’s sustainability tool. Peter Engler: “Organizers can access this via an online platform. From electricity to food, we record everything that we consume during the event. After the event, we receive a detailed evaluation that shows whether we have improved in the area of ​​sustainability since the last event and where there is still potential.” This is an excellent testimony to the occasion. Thanks to the cooperation with BKW, Davos Nordic is on the road to success in terms of sustainability – also because the event is leaving fewer and fewer traces.

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This post was created by the Ringier Brand Studio on behalf of a client. The content is journalistically prepared and meets Ringier’s quality requirements.

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This post was created by the Ringier Brand Studio on behalf of a client. The content is journalistically prepared and meets Ringier’s quality requirements.

Contact: Email Brand Studio

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