Adelboden is perhaps best-known for its Audi FIS Alpine World Cup races, but this autumn, it is famous in Switzerland for another reason. Tschentenalp, site of the original Adelboden World Cup races, became the first Swiss resort to use Snow Farming to open its season for the public already on 18th October.
For the last few seasons, the concept of ‘Snow Farming’ has gained momentum, allowing ski resorts to either guarantee snow in warm, dry conditions, or open their slopes earlier. Mainly used in the Nordic nations, the practice is slowly making its way to Central Europe, with Kitzbühel also employing the concept this season.
So what is snow farming and how does it work?
At the end of the last ski season, a pile of over 24,000 cubic meters of snow was gathered on Tschentenalp and covered with foil. This heap of snow survived the summer with a loss of around 25 to 30 percent and was then rebuilt into a piste of 500 metres in length, 10 metres wide.
While it is a far cry from a fully functioning ski resort, the slope has allowed hundreds of local skiers and young ski club athletes to enjoy early-season runs without the long commute to reach the traditional training grounds on the glaciers.
The President of the project René Oester said, “if this project can bring the snow to the children and without long travel times then it is a great asset to the region for the sporting future.”
The slope on Tschentenalp is suitable for slalom or giant slalom training, for working on technique or even for hobby skiers. From Monday through Friday, the slope is reserved for ski clubs, while over the weekend, every-day skiers can give the six-month old snow a try.
The project is planned to last for three years and it has the support of the Adelboden community, where nearly every business proudly displays flyers in their windows promoting the early snow. The organisers admit that this summer they likely faced the worst possible conditions for the project with the warm summer temperatures, and expect that in future seasons they will only lose around 10% of the snow during the warmer months.
For more information about the Snowfarming project on Tschentenalp, please visit: