Forsteralm is a small ski resort located on the border between Lower and Upper Austria, near the town Waidhofen an der Ybbs. After some economic difficulties it faced, the managing of the ski resort was taken over by four municipalities from the region. In order to save it from shutting down, a crowdfunding campaign, with a goal of collecting money from the people for the snow-making system, was initiated. Crowdfunding can be defined as a practice of funding a project by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people.
With the slogan “Skiing at home. Forsteralm needs you now” the campaign was initiated. Eleven packages ranging from 20 to 15,000 euros were offered to potential donators. Depending on the amount of money donated, the donators could choose from a two-day ski pass with mentioning on the board of honour, to becoming the patron of the ski lift. For the latter, at least 15,000 euros had to be donated. The goal of the campaign was to collect 300,000 euros and thus reach sufficient funds to apply for a modernisation of the snow-making system. The survival of the ski resort wouldn’t be able without this modernisation because the area lies between 720 and 1,080 meters of altitude, and the natural snowfalls are not enough to make it self sustaining.
The campaign ran for ten weeks. Even though the crowdfunding is mostly organised over the internet, in the case of Forsteralm, 70 ambassadors were travelling around the country, visiting companies, associations and private individuals to stir up the interest for the ski resort. The result was surprising. Already on the first day, 90,000 euros had landed in the donation pot. In the end, a sum of 450,000 euros from 999 different investors was collected, Forsteralm was saved, and the campaign proved that it is really important to people.
The Forsteralm ski area is considered particularly family-friendly. It is easily accessible with private cars because it is just 30 kilometres away from the main Austrian motorway A1. Altogether, 16 km of prepared slopes await you in the ski area, 10 km of which are designated as blue (easy), 4 km red (medium) and 2 km black (difficult). In addition, there are seven ski lifts for visitors to use. There is also a beginners lift, that is free for everyone. Forsteralm is located near the Gesäuse and Kalkalpen National Parks, and it offers a wide range of possibilities even off the slopes.
The example of a crowdfunding campaign, which saved ski resort Forsteralm from closure, shows how people and local communities can help in preserving important touristic spots.
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