Alpine Glaciers Threatened by Ski Tourism

”Europe‘s largest contiguous glacier ski resort” – that is the attention grabbing title that motivates two Ski areas Tyrol/Austria to fuse. The ski resorts Pitztal Glacier and Ötztal Glacier/Sölden are planning an enormous construction project that would connect the two areas. The construction would dramatically change the natural landscape, some of it would have to happen directly on glacier terrain on over 2,800 meters altitude. The planned expansion would stretch from Mittelberg in Pitztal over Griestal up to the Linker Fernerkogel, a pristine mountain with three glaciers. Only seven percent of Austria‘s national territory are still in a natural state and free from technical infra-structure. The megaproject Ptztal-Ötztal threatens to further reduce the area that remains in its natural state. Amongst the planned construction projects are: three new ski lifts, a three storey ropeway station, an asphalted water reservoir,  additional artificial snow systems, more than four kilometers of new roads, the levelling and removal of ice on 72 ha of glacier terrainas well as grinding down a mountain ridge by 40 meters altitude. The construction of the ski resort would destroy a natural glacier landscape beyond repair. The severe intrusions would cause the total loss of many habitats. A unique environment and popular hiking and climbing region would be lost forever.