1. GA-English
  2. News

Daytrips into the snow: The Eifel and Sauerland prepare for a weekend rush

Daytrips into the snow : The Eifel and Sauerland prepare for a weekend rush

The police and public order offices are preparing for a rush to snowy areas this weekend. Despite closed slopes, many day trippers are expected once again.

Despite many closed slopes, police and public order offices in the Sauerland and the Eifel are preparing for another rush of tourists on Saturday and Sunday. Police are also expecting many day-trippers in somewhat lower-lying snowy regions. For example, police in the Märkischer Kreis are preparing for a major operation between Meinerzhagen and Herscheid. Last weekend, illegally parked cars at the side of a country road caused traffic chaos.

A growing number of ski areas in the entire Hochsauerland, in Olpe, as well as Hellenthal in the Eifel and in Willingen in North Hesse have issued a ban on entering, or are preparing to do so. Public order offices and police announced that they will show their presence and will proceed against offences against coronavirus or traffic regulations. If necessary, access roads could also be closed off again, for example, those to the Winterberg. "We are again forming a strong force," said a spokeswoman for the Hochsauerland district police. Once again, members of the special task force and equestrian force were ready to offer support. In the district of Euskirchen, the police are also preparing to support the forces of the public order office, if necessary.

On the Hohe Acht, the highest peak in the Eifel on the border of the districts of Ahrweiler and Mayen-Koblenz, the authorities did not detect any violations of the coronavirus distancing rules at the end of 2020. However, there were traffic jams and violations of road traffic regulations at the Hohe Acht in December.

Crowds are expected on the Hohe Acht

The municipality of Adenau, on whose boundary the Hohe Acht is located, is now expecting another "mass rush" at the weekend, because the weather forecast once again forecasts heavy snowfall for Friday and the sun is forecast to shine on Sunday.

The local authority association has announced a concerted action together with other authorities for the weekend, to counteract chaotic conditions as there were last weekend throughout Germany in some winter sports areas. This is particularly true for the areas of Hohe Acht/Nürburgring and in the Arft ski resort, the Verbandsgemeinde Adenau and Vordereifel.

"The beautiful landscape acts like a magnet for people who, after months of coronavirus-related restrictions, want a bit of normality and are drawn into the countryside for winter sports and fun," the statement said. But, it added, "while understanding these needs, local law-enforcement agencies will increase the monitoring of traffic safety and compliance with current coronavirus regulations. Law-enforcement personnel and additional police forces will have a high visibility in winter sport resorts, ensuring both smooth traffic flow, parking of vehicles in accordance with regulations, and compliance with coronavirus rules. "Violators will be rigorously punished. Vehicles parked in any way that obstructs traffic will be towed away and incur a retrieval fee."

Police ask people to stay at home

A spokeswoman for the Mayen police department responsible for the area makes it clear that officers hope people will stay home. However, she and her colleagues assumed that "some will come to sledge." There have been no coronavirus violations at Hohe Acht so far because people are dispersed, the spokeswoman said, referring to the size of the area. The focus of the operation planned for the weekend is therefore to punish any parking violations.

District Administrator Jürgen Pföhler made an urgent appeal to the population towards the end of last year: "It is understandable that people want to take advantage of the wintry weather. Nevertheless, I urge you to avoid larger gatherings of people, to minimize the risk of infection, and not to place an additional burden on the police and public order office by these outings."

Markus Ramers, who is the District Administrator of the Euskirchen district, the mayors there, the police and Nordeifel Tourism also appeal to the population to stay at home. "We share the desire for exercise outside, especially in the snow. However, the reality is that in the current pandemic situation the North Eifel simply does not have facilities to cater for the many visitors,". The ski areas are not accessible, the toboggan slopes are closed, as are most of the car parks, it says. On the forest paths, there is an extremely increased danger of snow breakage from trees, which is potentially life-threatening. Throughout the district of Euskirchen, gastronomy establishments are closed, there are no toilets, no changing rooms for babies and small children, no possibility to stop for a break, and no places to warm up.

((Original text, Sven Westbrock with material from dpa; translation, John Chandler) )