Gov’t Funded Ski Resort Developments to Convince People to “Ski at Home”
Fanni Kaszás 2020.01.22.
At the end of 2019, the government provided monetary support of roughly 227 million HUF (EUR 676,000) for the development of Hungarian ski resort services, according to Máriusz Révész, government commissioner for ‘Active Hungary’ in Eplény this Monday, at a campaign event promoting skiing.
Révész emphasized that the grants the government provided were given to five Hungarian ski resorts. The Nagy-Hideg-hegy tourist house, the Pécs ski resort, the Vasas ski and the Bánkút ski resorts will be renewed, while a new ski lift will be built in Eplény, and a new track maintenance machine will be purchased in Bánkút as well.
The government commissioner stressed that there is a need for ski resorts in Hungary as well. This is also shown by the fact that the Eplény ski resort attracts 50 to 60 thousand visitors per year.
Although the slopes in Hungary are not competitive like the ski resorts in the Alps, they are well-suited for sports enthusiasts to learn to ski within the country, and for families to take a day or two off for a skiing holiday, Révész said. He added that this is what they would like to draw attention to with the “Ski at home!” campaign.
The campaign, launched by the Center for Activity Development and Ecotourism, with the professional support of the István Chernel Ski and Tourism Cluster, also aims to promote skiing by filming videos and involving social media influencers. The program will be followed by campaigns to promote hiking, rowing, and cycling, the commissioner added.
Gyula Fehér, chairman of the István Chernel Ski and Tourism Cluster, pointed out that Hungarian ski slopes are much closer than foreign ones, and they can be relatively easily covered with snow due to the “cold cushion phenomenon” in the Carpathian Basin. In addition, because of its lower altitude and lower speeds, Hungarian ski resorts are safer than the ones in neighboring countries, he added.
The president of the cluster also said that on Friday night, two trucks of artificial snow will be transported from Eplény to Alsóörs on the shore of Lake Balaton. The next day, it will be turned into a nearly 100-meter-long cross-country ski track, where children can try cross-country skiing for free. About twenty pairs of ski equipment will also be provided on site.
Bálint Ebele, Managing Director of Síaréna Kft., said at the event, that just this year, so far, more than 136,000 cubic meters of snow has been produced – which means an average snow depth of seventy centimeters – on the Edelény ski slope. He emphasized that the ski resort has focused on beginners and families since 2017, and last year it received 50-60,000 visitors, a 141% increase from four years ago.
Outside of the ski season, the ski lift acts as a chairlift. Ebele added that thanks to their upgrades, they were able to increase their 2015 attendance of 4,000 visitors to over 35,000 last season. In 2019, a 48% increase was observed. He also talked about plans for using the water-carrying capacity of their snow cannons to build a water slide from the top of the mountain, which would be unique in the world due to its length.