A small ski area in the Western Austrian province of Vorarlberg is using Highland cows to help guard against avalanches.
Michael Manhart, whose runs the resort, introduced the cattle to the slopes of Lech as a cheap and environmentally-conscious way to make ski resorts safe from avalanches.
Mr. Manhart claims that the Highland Cows’ prints create an irregular surface that allows for a stronger bond between fresh snow and the mountain surfaces and thus reducing the risk of avalanches. “Their hoof prints act against the snow cover sliding out of place by increasing its grip,” he said.
The animals spend three months in high-altitude areas of the resort preparing the ground, and the remaining months in the valley.