Winter sport has a great touristic and thus regional importance in alpine regions. The development of ski-sport to-date was coupled to the spatial extention of the ski areas and the constant enlargement of their capacities. In the meantime, numerous areas are subject to longterm effects to the vegetaion, on the animal world and the landscape and thus the environment arising from such facilities, their operation and the preparing of ski-runs.
Further influencing factors beyond these are being determined in studies (cp. PRÖBSTL 2001), which deal with the characteristic double and multiple use of many ski areas. When winter sport, hillside farming, forestry, hunting and/or summer tourism concur in a non-regulated fashion, this results in areas with considerable over-burdening This question is becoming increasingly more important, because many areas are looking for fresh activities to provide an improved capacity utilisation over the whole year.
These factors were mainly contributary for the execution of the present project, which was initiated by the Botanical-Zoological Society Liechtenstein-Sargans-Werdenberg (BZG). The question arises: Are there possibilities of subsequently repairing or at least reducing damage to ski-runs caused through the construction, their preparation and use? The preliminary study in four ski areas and the ski area examinations in the alpine regions (cp. CIPRA 1996, SEEWALD ET AL. 1998, AMMER ET AL. 1991) showed, that there are manifold possibilities of upgrading ski areas and their stabilty, as well improving their suitability as a habitat for indigenous animals and plants. Research projects and publications of the Safety in Ski Sport Foundation, SIS of the German Ski Federation, DSV, have been comprehensively dedicated to this since 1988.
The studies show, that the possibilities cover the immediate repair of individual damaged areas up to long-term care measures and/or comprehensive development concepts and also that repair can substantially contribute to the ecological revalorisation of a skiing area. Information and specific publications must accompany these measures. Basically the question arises, which instruments serve a continuous revalorisation of areas used for ski-sport. Regulatory measures are necessary, but not sufficient. Token predicates such as seals of approval are non-dynamic and do not go far enough. Instead, a pioneering model should be developed on the basis of the direct responsibility of the commercial concern. Eco-auditing offers itself as a possible instrument in revalorisation under the direct responsibility of skiing regions.
Whilst tried and tested models exist for many commercial procedures for auditing different company areas, the corresponding basis is not available for landscapes used for ski-sport. The commission which accompanied the preliminary study thus greets the idea of more closely examining the possibilities of applying eco-auditing methods to regions affected by ski-sport and recommends the execution of a corresponding project.
The concrete professional work in the different skiing regions should provide the basics for a general guideline and should initiate concrete realisation measures.
Starting from the case examples, a suitable procedure for an audit of skiing regions was developed. It was showen which assessment parameters are relevant for the execution of an audit and which set of methods within the framework of an eco-audit must be used. For the broad support of this and further projects for the promotion of environmentally friendly development in ski-sport, the "Pro Natura – Pro Ski Foundation" was founded in December 1999 at the initiative of the Administration- and Private Bank Corporation.