IBU officially launches SIEPPUR, the Sustainable Snow Management Project
The IBU-led consortium is proud to officially launch the SIEPPUR sustainable snow management project.
As climate change continues to impact access to snow around the world, the project’s goal is to identify, develop, and promote environmentally sustainable practices in snow management from snow production, storage, and transport to grooming and handling.
SIEPPUR aims to provide helpful management tools and techniques to monitor and minimise water and energy use and to optimise the efficiency of snow management, whilst reducing the impact on flora and fauna in the short and long term.
SIEPPUR will also develop a series of educational sessions and training modules on sustainable snow management that will be made available free of charge to snow sports entities across Europe, including winter sports and mountain tourism industries, as well as the Olympic Movement.
“Snow is the key ingredient for winter sports. Given the impact of climate change and rising energy costs, we must minimise the consumption of critical resources, such as water and electricity for snow production and management. At the same time, we also need to do all we can to ensure access to snow for training and competition purposes for athletes on all levels, and to provide the best conditions to perform for the stars of the sport. This project is all about providing us with the tools to do so in the long-term.”
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Building on the IBU’s Snow Network, founded in 2021, SIEPPUR is led by the IBU as the project coordinator, with the consortium of six partners, including Peak 63, the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF), and three IBU member federations – Svenskt Skidskytte AB (SSSAB), the Polish Biathlon Association (PZB), and the Slovenian Ski Association (SZS) – along with the project’s communication and dissemination partner, the Sustainable Mountain Alliance (SMA).
The SIEPPUR project is co-funded by the European Union Erasmus+ programme and will run over a three-year period from 2023-2025.
SIEPPUR means ‘fluffy, deep snow, into which skis sink deeply’ in the Sámi language, spoken by the Sámi people in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden, and extreme north-western Russia. In the Sámi language there are over two hundred words to describe snow, ice, and winter weather!
Based on an initial assessment of current practices in ten carefully selected snow sports venues, SIEPPUR will conduct a gap analysis and identify best practices for minimising resource use and improving sustainability governance in snow sport organisations.
According to modelled snow and climatological scenarios for venues across the continent, the project then seeks to develop new knowledge and translate this into actionable solutions for snow sports to successfully implement across snow production, storage, transport, grooming and handling.
Call to Action
The SIEPPUR project partners call on all snow industry actors to join us in our journey. Let us know about snow industry conferences and gatherings where the results of the project can be shared. Inform us about good practice and research that that can be useful for others. You can contact the project team at: sustainability[at]ibu.at
For more information, visit: www.sustainablesnow.sport
About the IBU
The International Biathlon Union (IBU) is the international governing body for the Olympic sport of biathlon. Headquartered in Anif bei Salzburg, the IBU is a non-profit organisation registered in Austria that regulates the sport and oversees the competition organisation worldwide. In cooperation with its 61 member National Federations (NFs), the IBU uses competitions, events, programmes and other activities to promote and develop participation in biathlon globally.
About Peak 63
Peak 63 is Sweden’s innovation hub for sports & outdoor. Its network spans academia, industry, and organisations with connections to industries regionally, nationally, and internationally. Today, Peak 63 is one of the few organisations in Northern Europe that offers innovation, sustainability and snow expertise aimed specifically at the sports and outdoor/sport industry. Peak 63 helps individual companies, organisations, and sport federations with their sustainability challenges. It currently facilitates the sustainability networks for the Scandinavian Outdoor Group and the European Outdoor Group as well as the Sustainable Winter Sports Network for the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry.
The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF is part of the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL and thus belongs to the ETH Domain. It engages in research and scientific services with focus on snow, avalanches, other alpine natural hazards, permafrost and mountain ecosystems. Its best-known service is the avalanche bulletin.
Svenskt Skidskytte AB (SSSAB) is a 100% company owned by the Swedish Biathlon Federation which represents one of the leading member organisations of the IBU when it comes to addressing sustainability and the environmental impact of the sport. Thanks to a regional commitment by their home region of Jämtland-Härjedalen to be fossil fuel free by 2030 since 2017, the Swedish Biathlon Federation and its event arm Svenskt Skidskytte AB have been very focused on reducing their climate impact for the last five years. However, their national operations cover the entire country of Sweden where regionally different priorities and strategies also impact the operational aspects of their work.
The Polish Biathlon Association (PZB) is the national governing body of the sport of biathlon in Poland. Like in most Central European nations, most of the Polish snow sports venues are located at a relatively low altitudes and hence directly subject to the impacts of climate change. The most modern venues are being built to be equipped to respond to the challenges of climate change however these challenges are often multiplied at smaller and less developed training and competition venues.
The Slovenian Ski Association (SZS) is faced with completely different climatological challenges in its operational activities. The SZS successfully manages a full spectrum of snow sports, a total of eight disciplines. As recently as in 2021, Slovenia hosted the IBU World Championships in biathlon in Bled/ Pokljuka which set a new benchmark when it comes to focusing on sustainable events in the region. The project involves the Biathlon Association as part of SZS and the Organising Committee Pokljuka.
The Sustainable Mountain Alliance (SMA) is an international non-profit headquartered in Switzerland whose vision is to facilitate the transition to sustainable sport and tourism in the mountains. The SMA provides a collaborative platform that identifies and supports inspirational, innovative solutions and a regenerative economy in the mountains, the most sensitive environment to climate change. Recognising that the snow sport industry is transitioning and adapting to climate change, the SMA’s engagement in the project is to ensure that sustainable solutions are identified and shared with the international snow sports community.
- Pokljuka, Slovenia
- Martell, Italy
- Lenzerheide, Switzerland
- Jakuszyce, Poland
- Notschrei, Germany
- Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
- Östersund, Sweden
- Vålådalen, Sweden
- Kontiolahti, Finland
- Otepää, Estonia