Thursday, January 8, 2009

Alpine farmers harvest snow

Cash strapped Alpine farmers are raking in a fortune harvesting snow and selling it to desperate ski slopes
Despite a freezing winter, snowfall levels at lower altitudes are down and Austrian resorts have had to buy in trailer loads of the stuff from higher up the mountains.
Across the country, thousands of tonnes of snow have been dug up from high Alpine ski fields and shipped to keep ski pistes open.
In Austria the biggest "snow harvesters" are the owners of the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrassen AG (GroAG), a 40-mile stretch of road 8,200 feet above ski level which is Europe's highest Alpine crossing.
GroAG spokesman Dietmar Schondorfer said: "Even if it doesn't snow, every day we have tonnes of snow dumped on the road by the wind, all we have to do is drive back and forward to scoop it up.
"We have received calls from as far away as Thueringen in Germany which is hundreds of miles away to order snow. We even had to make a delivery to Legoland in Guenzberg, Germany, that is 500 miles away."

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