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Alpine-wide project "beyondsnow" launched

Alpine-wide project "BeyondSnow" works on new solutions for winter tourism in pilot regions: Starting signal for the development of a climate adaptation strategy for the Großer Arber

13.3.2023 | DIT Public Relations

The INTERREG-funded BeyondSnow project is an Alpine-wide initiative involving 13 partners. One of them is the European Campus Rottal-Inn (ECRI) of the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT). The aim of BeyondSnow is to find new solutions for the future challenges of small and medium-sized winter tourism regions. Because decreasing snow reliability and changing consumer behaviour require innovative ideas. One of the ten pilot regions in the Alpine region is the ski area on the Großer Arber.

Climate change is expected to have an impact on Alpine winter tourism at low or medium altitudes. The duration of closed snow cover in the last century has shortened by more than a month. At higher altitudes with high snow reliability, which includes the Großer Arber, an increased rush of skiers can therefore be expected in the future. The winter seasons will become shorter, the costs for the necessary infrastructures to cover the ongoing operations will become more challenging. The viability of winter sports resorts is under great pressure and this may contribute to migration from mountain regions. The winter sports resorts in the Bavarian Forest are also affected by the impacts of climate change. The pilot region around the Großer Arber selected by Beyondsnow is analysed as representative of the Bavarian Forest. In addition, ideas and strategies will be developed on site together with the mountain railway, the districts, the neighbouring communities, the tourism association and local stakeholders.

The BeyondSnow project will work with a total of ten pilot regions throughout the Alpine region to develop instruments to strategically address the challenges of climate change. "The current situation in our mountains," says Andrea Omizzolo of Eurac Research, lead partner of BeyondSnow, "shows the critical state of many winter tourism destinations. The lack of snow is causing great difficulties for the service providers. BeyondSnow aims to make our Alpine-wide selected pilot regions more resilient to climate change. The dependency on snow is to be reduced, visitor management in heavily frequented ski areas optimised and alternatives for sustainable tourism developed. This can be a building block for reducing the threat of migration from rural regions. Exemplary solutions that are jointly developed in the course of BeyondSnow on the Großer Arber can also be useful for many other snow tourism destinations in the Bavarian Forest and in the entire Alpine region".

The BeyondSnow project now has three years to do this. Climate adaptation strategies will be designed in the pilot regions with broad participation of service providers and interested parties. The solutions will focus on the needs of the regional service providers as well as on environmental concerns. Subsequently, BeyondSnow will develop proposals for policy guidelines to strengthen resilience in the Alpine Space. For the first time, a digital tool will be used to provide data-driven solutions and concrete proposals, enabling Alpine tourism regions to adapt and revitalise their tourism offer also taking into account environmental change. This Resilience Decision Making Digital Tool will generate recommendations for the transition to sustainable tourism models and help to preserve valuable regional resources.

BeyondSnow is an INTERREG Alpine Space project co-funded by the European Union. It brings together public and private institutions and experts from the six Alpine countries Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Slovenia, who will jointly develop sustainable development paths, transition processes and feasible solutions for winter tourism destinations. Further details on the project can be found at https://www.alpine-space.eu/project/beyondsnow.

Bild (© outdoorpixel- stock.adobe.com): The BeyondSnow project is looking for solutions for sustainable winter tourism together with the pilot region Großer Arber.