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Season over: Last lift in the Sauerland winter sports arena stands still

First bike park has been open since the beginning of March

The winter season is over. On Friday, April 5, the lift on the World Cup slope in the Winterberg ski lift carousel ran for the last time - after 127 days in an otherwise below-average season. Elsewhere, the summer season has already begun. The first bike park in the region opened at the beginning of March.

The lift operator on the Poppenberg slope in the Winterberg ski lift carousel had actually wanted to offer winter sports until the end of the North Rhine-Westphalian Easter vacations. This almost worked out, but not quite. Due to the high levels of precipitation over the past few days, they had to close the slope two days earlier than planned. Just under five weeks after the Snowboard World Cup, which went very well due to the snow.

It is not unusual for the ski lift carousel to still have a few lifts running at the beginning of April on sheltered slopes with guaranteed snow. However, in the past season with little snow, this is a success. Ski resorts with snowmaking at high altitudes report 40 to 70 days, while ski resorts with little or no snowmaking at medium altitudes report 5 to 10 days. These figures are below the average of the past 20 years.

That's why the summer season started comparatively early. The Olpe Fahlenscheid bike park had already opened for mountain bikers at weekends at the beginning of March and was therefore the only bike park in the area where mountain bikers could ride downhill on trails and uphill with a lift until the end of March. As a result, the operators were delighted with the large number of visitors.

The two large bike parks opened around three weeks later. Winterberg opened for a pre-opening on March 22. Willingen followed four days later. During this time, however, the bike parks felt the effects of the small onset of winter. This showed once again that mountain biking in winter does not work in the same way as in summer and that it is no substitute for winter sports. Olpe-Fahlenscheid is now still open at weekends, Willingen every day. The Winterberg bike park will be closed again for a few days from Monday. The "real" start of the season should then be as soon as possible. A few days later, the Schneewittchenlift on Bremberg will also open. The Green Hill Bikepark in Gellinghausen is calling for "pop-up rides" at the weekends on its website.

Mountain bikers are happy about the early start. If it had been possible, the operators of the large ski resorts would have liked to keep their lifts running longer for winter sports. If the weather is right, the early switch to the summer offer is a good alternative. With the current good weather prospects, the bike parks are now looking optimistically to the future and are looking forward to the new features coming up this season and the big festivals: the iXS Dirt Masters Festival from May 17 to 20 and the Willingen Bike Festival from May 24 to 26.