Even snow cannons will no longer guarantee skiing vacations in the future


Basel – In the future, even high-altitude ski resorts will no longer be able to offer guaranteed snow during the Christmas vacations. This is the conclusion reached by a research team at the University of Basel. It has investigated which scenario the ski area around Andermatt, Sedrun and Disentis has to face.

Artificial snowmaking will be able to guarantee a 100-day ski season over the next three decades, at least on the slopes above 1800 meters in the Andermatt-Sedrun-Disentis ski area. On the other hand, at lower altitudes and for operation during the Christmas vacations, it does not look good: It often doesn’t get cold enough in the run-up. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by a research group at the University of Basel.

In a scenario with unchecked climate change, the Sedrun region in particular will no longer be able to guarantee snow over the holidays in the long term, according to a media release. To a certain extent, the situation could possibly be countered with new snow cannons. But physics sets natural limits to technical snowmaking, Dr. Erika Hiltbrunner is quoted as saying: “It mustn’t be too warm and the air mustn’t be too humid, otherwise there won’t be enough evaporative cooling for the atomized water in the air to freeze and come down as snow.”

In addition, according to the calculations, the average water consumption for artificial snow for the entire ski area will increase by 80 percent, from 300 million liters today to about 540 million liters. But already in the winter of 2017, when there was little snow, water consumption tripled in one of the ski area’s three subareas, he said.

As a result, the researchers anticipate conflicts between water demand for the ski area on the one hand and power generation on the other. What is certain, according to Dr. Hiltbrunner, is that the price of skiing will increase and that “people with average incomes will simply no longer be able to afford such vacations.” mm