Mountain group slams ‘absurd trend’ of heli-biking
From next summer, helicopters are set to drop hardcore bicyclists on a few mountain peaks in canton Valais, southwest Switzerland. However, a nature protection organisation warns of negative consequences for the alpine world, its inhabitants and conflicts that heli-biking will trigger.
Bern-based Mountain Wilderness Switzerland has criticised the fact that such cyclists, having worked their way through the snow, will join hiking paths to make their way down the valleys.
“Many hikers are already negatively disposed towards bicyclists. If heli-biking establishes itself, this antagonism will just increase,” the organisation said in a statement on Monday, referring to the “absurd trend” that has already reached Italy, Romania, New Zealand and the Americas.
The group also criticised the noise and carbon dioxide emissions of the helicopters.
There are 40 mountain landing spots for helicopters in Switzerland, 19 of which are in canton Valais. It is not yet clear which will be used for heli-biking.
According to Katharina Conradin, director of Mountain Wilderness Switzerland, around 28,000 landings are made to these helipads every year, with the number of passengers estimated at 25,000 and rising. The increase in passengers is primarily connected to tourism, she said.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts