e Biathlon

The snow depot in the Martello Valley. © pm

Bark beetle damage and sustainable biathlon

The regional development cooperative Martell 3B (RGM 3B) has been operating a snow depot in the “Grogg” biathlon center in Hintermartell since 2012. The idea, which was initially laughed at, has developed into a major success factor for the winter sports facility in Beerental.

Now it's time again to protect the snow from the rising temperatures. This so-called “snow farming” means that a section of the cross-country ski trails can be opened as early as the beginning of November. A successful Marteller concept to start the season early.


During the summer the snow lies well protected under a 25 centimeter thick layer of wood chips. The highlight: This year, for the first time, the insulation is provided by damaged wood that had to be removed from the forests in the valley due to heavy bark beetle infestation. This year, according to RGM 3B, almost 12 cubic meters of artificial snow are stored under a geotextile fleece, covered with wood chips from local damaged wood stocks. The snow was artificially created in December and January under ideal conditions and is now waiting to be distributed at the end of October.

A completely successful project

According to estimates and reference values ​​from recent years, the loss will be around 20 to 30 percent. The responsible officer for forestry and agriculture in the municipality of Martell, Andreas Eberhöfer, is pleased: “It is nice to see that the spruce wood, which we had to take from our forests near Gand due to high bark beetle infestation, is still of use to the valley has. We were able to repurpose around 150 cubic meters of local damaged wood.”

This is how the snow is covered. © pm


This closes the circle with local wood that had to be taken out of the forest and biathletes who can come to Martell for training in November instead of having to fly to Scandinavia, for example. “There is a lot of effort being made to take a variety of measures against the bark beetle. “Thanks to this initiative, we were able to use the damaged wood sensibly and sustainably,” says Georg Altstätter, OC President Biathlon Martell and mayor of the municipality of Martell.

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