White slopes from the air
Gstaad BE flies in snow by helicopter
In Gstaad BE extreme means are being used to combat the lack of snow: the white splendor is flown onto the green pistes by helicopter.
Gstaad BE covers its pistes with snow by helicopter (symbol image).
The ski area managers of Gstaad in the Bernese Oberland want to keep their pistes open by all means. But the lack of snow is so precarious and the temperatures so high that even snow cannons are no longer of any help. That’s why those responsible resorted to extraordinary means, as reported by the Bern online medium “Capital”: They had the white splendor flown onto the green meadow – by helicopter!
Accordingly, in the old week of the year, a helicopter flew snow several times to the Oeschseite valley station in order to keep a connecting slope between the Zweisimmen and Saanenmöser areas open.
Even the helicopter could not save the slope
Bergbahn CEO Matthias In-Albon justifies the use of a helicopter: “Last week we tried to use the helicopter to transport snow to the Oeschseite region.” Because the snow cover is so thin, this is not possible with snow groomers.
However, the heli strategy did not work, as the CEO explains in “Capital”: “This attempt did not work,” says In-Albon. The amount of snow per flight is too small and loading and unloading too difficult.
In the meantime, the ski area, which advertises “sustainability on the ski slopes”, has found another solution. Instead of a helicopter, you now use a tractor shovel attached to a snow groomer. After all, this meant that the most important slopes could be kept open.
100 flights for 200 cubic meters of snow
Swiss ski areas have had snow flown in by helicopter in the past. In 2020 Air Glaciers Schnee helicopters flew to Wengen BE so that the Lauberhorn race could take place. Media reported at the time that just two cubic meters of snow could be transported per flight – which is why 100 flights were necessary. At the time, OC President Urs Näpflin justified himself to the “watson” portal: “Of course it sounds incredibly stupid to transport snow by helicopter. But that was the only way we could save the slalom and combined races. The effort was absolutely justified.” He referred to the very high added value for the entire region. (sac)