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TOP SKI RACER CALLS FOR BAN ON SUMMER SKIING

The recently retired German alpine racer Felix Neureuther believes skiers should no longer train on glaciers in the summer. Is it time to ban summer skiing?

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Neureuther retired from racing at the end of last season as Germany’s most successful male World Cup ski racer.

He is now calling for changes at the highest level of the sport to protect the glaciers and the planet.

He is also questioning the practice of top snowsport athletes flying thousands of miles to the southern hemisphere for its winter.

The 35-year-old, who is now a ski race pundit on German television, made his comments at ISPO, the world’s largest sports trade fair, in Munich, this week.

They are reported in an article on the ISPO website.

“To get young people interested in skiing, you have to offer a credible product,” he said.

“So why do you have to train on the glacier in July?

“We must be careful with our resources and protect the glaciers.”

Neureuther has previously suggested that the first World Cup race of the season should be delayed by a few weeks.

It is traditionally held on the Rettenbach glacier in Sölden, Austria, in October.

Felix Neureuther - Facebook post

Felix Neureuther in Sölden, October 2017 – photo Felix Neureuther Facebook

“When you become a dad, every priority shifts anyway,” he said at ISPO.

“You simply think a lot more about education, nature, earth and the future.

“It is simply all about sustainability.”

Neureuther’s ski credentials speak for themselves.

The slalom and GS racer has 47 World Cup podiums – 13 of them wins – and is a former World Champion.

But since he is now retired, he no longer has to worry about how he trains in the summer.

You could argue that it’s easy for him to be radical in his views.

We wonder what the current crop of World Cup racers would say.

Does their training have to be on snow all year round or could they concentrate more on strength and fitness training in the gym?

The summer is often when the elite athletes test new ski set-ups and put in the hours working with their coaches on technique.

Dave Ryding training in Summer - photo Dave Ryding Facebook

GB’s Dave Ryding in summer training – photo Dave Ryding Facebook

With such a long World Cup season, when would they otherwise do it?

But there’s no doubt that alpine glaciers have suffered – and continue to suffer –  from the effects of climate change.

The summer ski season, where it still exists, is getting shorter and the snow is becoming less reliable.

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Stelvio Pass glacier, Italy summer 2017 from a drone

Stelvio Pass glacier, Italy, August 2017

We have questioned many times how long summer glacier skiing will continue.

Another recently retired star of World Cup racing, does not agree with a ban on summer glacier training.

The Norwegian, Aksel Lund Svindal, who is also at ISPO, called it ‘unrealistic’.

He is, though, worried about the environmental impact of skiing.

“Ski lifts should increasingly be operated with sustainably generated electricity,” he said.

“And we should get as many people as possible skiing and outdoors – with the love for outdoor life comes the emotional responsibility for the future of the planet.”

PlanetSKI put some questions to Aksel Lund Svindal as he returned to Kitzbühel for the Hahnenkamm races – this time as a spectator.

Find out what he had to say:

 

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