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"Could have been better": mixed ski season

Cars drive along a road in the lightly snow-covered Ore Mountains / Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa
Cars drive along a road in the lightly snow-covered Ore Mountains / Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa

Heat and rain have taken their toll on the slopes in Saxony and skiing is currently suspended throughout the Ore Mountains. Holidaymakers have to switch to alternatives to traditional winter sports.

The ski season in Saxony is over for the time being due to the mild temperatures and lots of rain. "Due to the current weather conditions, skiing has unfortunately had to be suspended everywhere in the Ore Mountains," the Ore Mountains Tourism Association announced on request. In Saxony's largest alpine ski area on the Fichtelberg, the ski lifts have been closed since February 19, and in the Eibenstock ski arena since February 16.

The rain in particular has had a negative impact on the remaining snow in recent weeks. "Thanks to the snowmaking systems, the slopes were able to survive warmer days, but the large amounts of rain and the sometimes strong winds have taken their toll on the groomed slopes," explained the tourism association. On the Fichtelberg, it is currently still possible to take the ski bus to the neighboring Keilberg in the Czech Republic, where some slopes are open. According to the information provided, only the slope on the so-called magic carpet can be used by children and beginners. In the Eibenstock ski arena, too, only the children's area is still open, especially for ski courses.

Constantin Gläß, Managing Director of the Oberwiesenthal lift company, is not satisfied with the current season. "Not good - you can sum it up like that," he said, referring to the lack of ski guests. It was a short winter. According to the tourism association, the ski resort on the Fichtelberg was able to open its first slopes for skiing on December 6. Since then, there have been 74 days of operation - a far cry from the optimum, as Gläß explained. In good years, 130 days would be achieved. The Eibenstock ski arena reported 71 operating days.

The situation is similar in Altenberg. "We had a good period in January when alpine skiing was possible," said Carolin Krupp, Head of Tourist Information Altenberg. However, cross-country skiing was limited to a few days. However, there were still many guests, especially during the winter vacations in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. "Those who booked came anyway because we were able to put together a good alternative program, but of course there was a lack of day tourists," said Krupp. Alternative offers such as winter hikes were therefore well received, and there were also many sporting highlights.

The tourism association has also observed this trend. According to them, good winter sports conditions would have been an advantage for spontaneous arrivals. However, the accommodation in the winter sports centers Altenberg and Oberwiesenthal were well booked during the weeks of the winter vacations. For families in particular, there were only a few vacancies left. Bookings were made on a longer-term basis. The association is only aware of a few cancellations.

For companies that specialize in skiing, such as ski rentals and ski schools, however, it was not an optimal season, as Krupp explained. Manuel Püschel, Operations Manager at Altenberg Adventure Mountain, also said: "It could have been better. We completely missed February." However, the season had already started on 1 December - normally it only starts around two weeks later. Despite the current snow-unfriendly weather, Altenberg has managed 55 days of skiing so far, compared to around 80 in average years. Püschel doesn't want to give up on the season just yet: "There's still hope that we're still in the middle of winter."

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