Skolēni izgudro nākotnes tehnoloģijas



Slēpošanas trasēs Latvijā daudz interesentu

Ski season in full swing in Latvia

The early arrival of large quantities of snow has been good news for Latvia's ski slopes and winter sports fans, with many slopes already doing strong business, reports Latvian Television.

Currently, there are approximately 10 active ski and snowboarding slopes. In order for the snow to be of good quality, it began to be artificially produced several weeks ago. The weather conditions at the moment and also the forecasts allow hopes that the tracks could be operational for several more months, partially compensating for sometimes patchy coverage in recent years.

Tatjana was one of the first to try skiing at the Žagarkalns slope near Cēsis. "Oh my god, I couldn't wait all summer, finally the season is open today!" she beams.

The same applies to other fans of winter sports, who arrived at the Žagarkalns track within the first minutes of its opening.

"For five years, we warm up here in Latvia, and after that we go to bigger mountains [in other countries] at least once a year," said Guntars.

"This is the first day we are on the ski slope. And it's really fantastic. I'm a little surprised that there aren't more people. When we drove, we thought the parking lot would be full," said skier Andris from the USA.

Slope managers have been keenly watching the forecasts and planning to open for several weeks.

"We started making snow on November 17 and started blowing on completely green grass, there was a completely green hill. I had the first video on Facebook, saying we are turning on the first blowers," said Juris Stradiņš, the owner of the "Gaiziņš" recreation center.

"We were already surprised that winter came at the end of November. Statistically, it doesn't happen so early in recent years. Winter caught us a bit by surprise, but we managed to prepare," said Matīss Žagars, board member of "Žagarkalns".

Ski hill owners had a challenging year due to rising energy prices, and the decision to turn on the blowers always comes with an element of risk.

"Electricity prices were huge. The flow of visitors was the same as last year. It doesn't feel like people want to ski less," said Žagars.

"In any case, if it wasn't financially beneficial, we wouldn't do it. 15 years ago there were 40 or 45 slopes where you could ski, now there are ten left, because the whole process is expensive – electricity, blowers are expensive, fuel, wages are high," said Stradiņš.

Since the interest in skiing in Latvia is huge, the owners of slopes and trails are expecting a good year this year, and prices will likely not rise any more. In addition, this winter looks hopeful with the potential for a good four months of skiing.

Though Latvia has no large mountains, a large part of the population is ski mad. As well as numerous fairly short downhill slopes there are several excellent cross-country tracks across the country. You can find many of them listed at this website, though temporary informal trails often appear in parks and forests, too.

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