This winter, the coronavirus has confused the plans of skiers across Europe. But the Belgian downhill enthusiasts found a way out of the situation and went to the slopes of the waste heap of a mothballed coal mine near Charleroi.
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“We are at an altitude of 266 meters. It is the highest "mountain" in Charleroi. From here you can see many villages. Usually no one notices them. It's really great, ”says skier Victor Sonville.
Descent takes no more than ten seconds. The ascent is more difficult. But the adrenaline rush is provided. Skiers have already equated the track to the "black", increased difficulty.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Charleroi was an important industrial center. Then, three industries began to develop here, which determined the urban economy until the second half of the 20th century - coal mining, steel production and glass production.
After that, the city of Charleroi went through the path that is standard for many monocities with the metallurgical industry of cities. Mass construction of coal mines in the local coal basin, a metallurgical plant, which became one of the enterprises of the largest metallurgical company in the world, Arcelor Mittal. The plant is now owned by its subsidiary Industeel Belgium.
At the beginning of the 2000s, the demand for coal fell sharply, mines began to close massively, and the plant itself significantly reduced its capacity.