- Title: On Mt. Titlis, blankets help protect glacier pistes from melting
- Date: 27th August 2021
- Summary: ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND (AUGUST 25, 2021) (REUTERS) WORKER FOLDING CORNER OF COVER DRONE SHOT OF BULDOZER TOWING COVER (MUTE)
- Embargoed: 10th September 2021 10:12
- Keywords: Alps Climate change Glacier Switzerland
- Location: ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
- City: ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Climate Adaptation and Solution,Climate Change,Environment,Europe,General News
- Reuters ID: LVA003ES21747
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:In one of Switzerland's most popular Alpine destinations, cable car personnel work over summer months on Mount Titlis to protect its glacial slopes and lifts: blanketing ice to block off the sun.
"We lay the fleece over the glacier like a natural protective shield," Gian Darms, who manages snow conditions and piste security for cable car operator Titlis Bergbahnen, told Reuters on Wednesday (August 25).
The 3,238 metre high mountain has seen large swathes of ice disappear over recent decades. Within the next half century, all of it is expected to melt.
To help keep its ski pistes running better for longer, Titlis Bergbahnen has been laying fleece over the glacier to act as a natural protective shield, but has had to continually increase cover size over recent years, Darms said.
A handful of employees work over the course of five-six weeks to cover parts of the glacier with a protective polyester fleecing, which helps stave off summer melting and preserve more of the snow which fell in the previous winter.
They now cover some 100,000 square metres, or roughly the size of fourteen football fields, with the reflective fleece, which helps radiate the sun's energy back into the atmosphere while also providing insulation from the warmer air temperatures and cooling off ice when it rains, before spending weeks peeling it back off again.
Collected snow is then used to help fill glacial cracks which otherwise might open on the resort's ski pistes, while also helping to keep in place the lift supports that are fixed into the ice.
(Production: Arnd Wiegmann, Lea Guedj)
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