The Biathlon World Cup is just around the corner – but there is hardly any fresh snow in Ruhpolding this year. That’s why the organizers use artificial snow. This must be specially prepared and stored over the summer.

    Even if the biathlon course in Ruhpolding has to be prepared at great expense: National coach Mark Kirchner expects fair conditions for the first World Cup race on Wednesday (2:10 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport) in the men’s sprint.

    “Today’s impressions are good. Everything possible has been done to ensure that competitions can still be held on snow if winter doesn’t take place,” said the Thuringian on Tuesday after the men’s training session in the Chiemgau Arena: “It’s a bit white it has become so, for cosmetics.”

    A very light snowfall had covered the trees around the tracks somewhat, but this had no effect on the track. “The conditions are okay so far. You have to deal with the way it is now,” said Kirchner.

    Biathlon national coach Kirchner: “Have to take it as it comes”

    The weather forecast for the coming days is “very changeable, with rain, sun, cold at night and warm temperatures during the day,” reported Kirchner: “The weather will surprise us every day and we have to be prepared for that. You have to take it as it comes and make the best of it.”

    The six races up until Sunday will be particularly challenging for the ski technicians, emphasized Kirchner. “It affects everyone equally,” said the 52-year-old before the classic over 20 kilometers. Experience has shown that the first starting groups in the races should have an advantage because the trail is not so badly worn then. “But we hope that it will remain fair for everyone,” said the German head coach.

    The fact that major winter sports events are often only possible thanks to the production of artificial snow is nothing new. However, climate change is increasingly causing major problems. Too high temperatures, too little snow – so-called snow farming is common practice.

    The organizers of the Ruhpolding Biathlon World Cup are pioneers in this technology; artificial snow has been produced for the Chiemgau Arena since 2005. Thanks to a depot with a capacity of more than 10,000 cubic meters, the snow that is produced in winter with four fan guns is stored over the summer. This is quite possible in the shady valley near the biathlon facility, the precious commodity is kept covered with insulating boards and silage film in a concrete frame.

    Before the biathlon run in Ruhpolding: artificial snow has long been established

    Of course there are also losses, up to 30 percent of the artificially generated amount does not survive the warm months. The rest is used in winter to prepare the routes. Snow is also produced in the ski hall in Oberhof in Thuringia, which is then also stored in a depot. This was also done in preparation for the upcoming Biathlon World Championships in February.

    A snow depot has long been a prerequisite for organizing a World Cup. “For more than two decades, professional winter sports have relied on artificial snow for training and competitions. This will not change,” said the Biathlon World Association IBU when asked by dpa: “It is therefore our task as an association to ensure that the Production and storage of snow should be as sustainable as possible.”

    The organizers must demonstrate energy-efficient snow production and modern snow management, according to the IBU. This has been the case in Ruhpolding for almost two decades now.

    Only artificial snow was used for the World Cup, which started on Wednesday with the men’s singles. Reserves are still available should more be needed.

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