Winterberg A Corona world gone awry: For the second time, a winter sports resort in the Sauerland is asking snow-hungry day visitors not to come. There are no more parking spaces and the streets are clogged. There are no toilets either. But such an excursion is not forbidden.
The popular winter sports resort of Winterberg in the Sauerland region was once again overrun by snow-hungry day visitors on Monday. In the early afternoon, the municipality urgently asked people to cancel or abort their trip: "Today, too, we can only ask all those who are just setting off or are already on their way to us to refrain from travelling there." All parking capacities were exhausted, the roads were congested.
The police also made an indirect appeal to motorists to stop driving there. "The roads around Winterberg are overcrowded. There are considerable traffic jams and very long waiting times," the responsible district police authority tweeted. "Legally you are allowed to visit the ski resorts. Whether it is right and sensible at the current time, you must decide for yourself," it continued.
Already on Sunday afternoon, the city had asked excursionists arriving to turn back because of fully occupied parking spaces and long traffic jams. According to city spokeswoman Rabea Kappen, the city estimated the total length of the traffic jam around Winterberg on Sunday at 45 kilometres. "We haven't had this many day-trippers in the last 20 years - probably never," Kappen said.
Lifts are closed
The toboggan lifts and ski lifts were closed, the city further announced on its website on Monday. "Sledding at the lifts is not allowed, even though many do it." Huts and toilets were also closed, it said. "There are no refreshment or warm-up facilities." The info text concluded by saying, "Don't put yourself through the stress!" Many excursionists had long since set off: WDR traffic radio reported eight kilometres of traffic jams at times in the afternoon on the 480 federal road between Olsberg and Winterberg.
The mayor of the town of 13,000 inhabitants, Michael Beckmann (CDU), also said that he had never experienced so much traffic in Winterberg on Sunday. Many had come to the Sauerland to go sledding, Beckmann said in a video published on his Facebook page on Sunday evening. The Corona Protection Ordinance does not prohibit this. Teams from the public order office were on duty throughout the city, he said. "When we saw violations of the corona protection ordinance, we also intervened." The "Bild" newspaper had previously reported on the post.
The Sauerland/Siegerland-Wittgenstein Winter Sports Arena appealed to day trippers not to arrive without winter tyres and not to leave rubbish lying around in the countryside. "Please adhere to the hygiene rules," it said in a tweet. The ski areas with all lifts are still closed, stressed Arena spokeswoman Susanne Schulten. The restaurants and toilets are also closed. Schulten assumes that the situation will only calm down "when the holidays are over and with the constant wintry conditions“.
A dpa reporter in Winterberg confirmed parking shortages and traffic jams on Monday. "It's totally full here," he said. He reported numerous families travelling with children and sledges in the winter landscape. In one car park, a family had a picnic, he said.
It was not only Winterberg that was busy. In the afternoon, the town of Sundern asked the police to point out that the Wilde Wiese skiing area, about 40 kilometres from Winterberg, had been closed by the public order authorities. "It is no longer possible to get there. Traffic is only flowing away," the police wrote. The city of Sundern could not be reached for further information.
On Monday, the city of Winterberg was discussing how to deal with the renewed rush in the coming days. On Tuesday, a concept of measures will be published, said the town spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, the weather outlook suggests that visitors could again travel to the region in the coming days to walk in the snow or go sledding. The German Weather Service considers one to five centimetres of fresh snow possible above 400 metres on Tuesday. In the lowlands, however, mainly showery rain or sleet will fall. A DWD meteorologist warned of slippery roads. Temperatures will rise to between two and five degrees, and in the mountains to a maximum of two degrees. Permafrost is also possible there. Experts expect similar weather for Wednesday and Thursday.
Original text: (dpa)
Translation: Mareike Graepel