The first ski tunnel in Central Europe will be built in the wintersport center of Oberhof (GER), as was decided by the Thuringia Cabinet in June. The financing for the approximately â‚¬12.5 Mil. project will be split between the federal state government and the state of Thuringia. A final decision on the details for financing the operational costs is expected on 17th July 2007 (today).
Following lengthy planning, the seven meter wide and four meter high tube with a length of 2.4 km should be available for athletes from summer 2009 to provide them with good training conditions prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Moreover, the tunnel will offer new possibilities for ski tourists in the Oberhof area. Due to the climate change affecting especially the lower mountain areas, Oberhof’s tourism is likely to profit from the snow guarantee as will their different World Cup events.
Beside the Oberhof ski tunnel, a few such tunnels are already in use in the Nordic countries. The Fortum Ski Tunnel with a Biathlon shooting range in Torsby, Sweden, opened last season and is a popular training center for top athletes (click here to get a impression of the Torsby Ski Tunnel).
In Finland, some ski tunnels are open and a few more are planned by late 2008. For example, work is underway for two private projects in Espoo and in LempÃ¤Ã¤lÃ¤ (near Tampere) as well one in Helsinki (Kivikko). The Kivikko project includes building a winter sport center (Arctic Sports Centre) with a one-kilometer-long ski tunnel.