Impacts of climate change on the region

Global warming is not only a threat to the Arctic and to glaciers in the Alps. The ski areas of the Wintersport-Arena Sauerland also need cold, snowy winters. It is beyond question among experts that climate change has already started. And taking every measure to control global warming is one of the most important endeavours of mankind in the 21st century. It is impossible, however, to give a general prediction of possible future impacts of climate change, as every region will be affected differently and has to be examined from a different perspective.


Did you know . . . ?

winters have always been subject to considerable change

  • that we already had winters with little to no snow a hundred years ago? That winter weather in the Sauerland has been subject to continual change can be proven by looking at the weather records. In the year of 1899, for example, the maximum snow depth on the Kahle Asten was 12 cm, while just two years before, in 1897, the Sauerland had seen the snowiest winter in recorded history with 212 cm snow depth.
  • that a similar phenomenon could be observed after the extreme winter of 1970? After having 158 days with more than 20 cm of snow, the winter two years later only amounted to 16 snow days. Similarly, the winter of 2005/06, which with 115 days was considered a snowy winter, was followed by the winter of 2006/07 with only four snow days.

There will still be winter sports in the future

  • that current climate predictions foresee a moderate temperature increase of approx. 0.5 to 1 °C until the year 2030? This could result in a slight upward shift of the snowline. Predictions such as these are, however, subject to many uncertainties and changes.
  • that the technological advancement of snowmaking to withstand a slight increase in temperature of about 1 °C is physically and economically possible? For this, lift operators rely on state-of-the-art, energy-saving technology.
  • that against this background the importance of snowmaking will increase in the Wintersport-Arena Sauerland and winter sports will be sustainable from a touristic and economic standpoint until the year 2030 at the least? With the current state of research into the topic, reliable predictions beyond this point in time are not feasible.

the region’s winters have become colder and richer in snow since the year 2000

  • that while the world’s climate is increasingly heating up, since the millennium winters in the Wintersport-Arena Sauerland have become colder by approx. 1 °C in comparison to the 1990s?
  • that winters verifiably have also had more snow during this time?
  • that thanks to naturally good snow conditions and the help of snowmaking technology ski areas have had a mean season duration of about 90 days and more?

Regional climate monitoring yields reliable data

  • that the Wintersport-Arena Sauerland conducts extensive climate monitoring, with the goal of creating a data pool that will help to explain the phenomenon of colder winters in time of climate change? Additionally, newest findings from climate research, especially for Middle Europe, are continually analysed.

Tourist experts have been preparing for climate change since the 1990s

  • that the masterplan for the Wintersport-Arena, which started the boom of ski areas in the Rothaarkamm mountain range in 2001, expressly considered the issue of climate change? The lack of snow during the 1990s’ winters prompted the new measures funded by the state of NRW.
  • that tourism experts from the Wintersport-Arena Sauerland have been continually working to expand the range of all-year holiday, free time and sports offers for the last ten years? These include the Sauerland hiking villages, the Bike-Arena Sauerland, bike parks, trail parks, health and wellness offers and much more.