In the Bavarian region, in the south of Germany, there is a rather unusual tourist attraction. For almost 50 years, the curious have flocked to Mount Kaolino, a gigantic mountain of sand created by man, to do… skiing !
Mount Kaolino is a 120 meter high dune located in Hirschau in Bavaria (Germany). This huge pile of sand is made up of about 35 million tons of kaolin, residue from a former industrial exploitation. Kaolin is a clayey rock from which kaolinite is extracted, used for the manufacture of paper, ceramics, toothpaste and even cosmetics.
In 1833, men began to operate the mine. After extracting quartz and kaolin from the sand-clay mixture, they set aside the remaining sand on a hill that kept growing. Some of the sand was used for glass making and by construction industries, but the rest of the deposit remained unused.
It was in 1957 that a local entrepreneur had the idea of opening a ski area on the dune after observing that many inhabitants of the region came to take advantage of the steep slope to indulge in the pleasures of sliding on sand. . Today, thrill seekers flock to Mount Kaolino in summer to take advantage of the facilities. The summit offers stunning views of the area and nearby mining.
In addition to the ski lifts, the area, renovated in 2007, now has a campsite, a swimming pool and a geopark. Mount Kaolino also hosts the World Sand Skiing Championship every year.