Push for Swiss heli-ski ban

4th May 2010, by Chris Gill

Delight say some, damaging says others

Delight say some, damaging says others

Swiss environmental groups have been pushing for a ban on heli-skiing for a while now, but a new petition is about to increase the pressure.

According to local reports and the BBC, Switzerland’s major environmental groups have handed the government a 15,000-strong signed petition calling for ban on the activity –  which involves over 15,000 flights at 42 sites in the country each year, depositing skiers and boarders to enjoy the thrill of fresh tracks in wilderness regions.

The activists support the French and German bans, already in place for some years. Austria and Italy still offer restricted services. The view is that heli-skiing causes excess noise and fuel consumption, and threatens protected areas.

Meanwhile the helicopter companies insist that the operations take only a small proportion of their total flights, and that a ban would be minimal in terms of reducing those figures. And it provides an income for those guiding the activity. Purists however argue that putting in some effort and trekking to these locations is the solution if you want to explore the far-flung snowfields.

Swiss authorities may eventually decide to close some landing sites in ‘sensitive’ areas as a first step to reducing the amount of heli-skiing available, but for now the debate continues.

 



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