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The ski season that never was is now over

The ski season that never was is now over

Image source: © JM Pouy / Facebook
Marta Grzeszczuk,
13.03.2024 16:30

Due to record-warm temperatures in Europe, ski season is no longer viable in several previously popular resorts. As a result, slope and lift owners are trying to find ways to adapt to the new climatic realities.

Europe experienced its warmest January and February on record in 2024, which significantly impacted ski resorts. The lack of snowfall affected ski enthusiasts, particularly in lower-located resorts, making it difficult for them to enjoy winter activities. This winter season was recorded as the warmest ever, which resulted in the absence of a key component of winter holidays—snow.

Lack of snow affects more ski resorts across Europe

In early February, the ski lifts at Terminillo Mountain in the Italian Apennines were closed, and the snow cannons were abandoned on the grass. The reason was that it had become "too hot" to use the snow cannons, which are crucial for many resorts that face a shortage of snow. To produce snow artificially, the temperature must be below -2.5 degrees Celsius.

"Last week we had 12 degrees Celsius," Vincenzo Regnini, president of the company that manages local transport and ski lifts facilities, told Daily Mail in early February. Due to the unseasonably high temperatures in ski resorts across Europe, ski lifts at lower altitudes face a serious existential threat. Consequently, many of these lifts have already stopped operating. Additionally, the absence of snow on the lower slopes has resulted in overcrowding at higher-altitude slopes, making them more expensive than ever before.

Summer sports in the Alps as early as March

In Sankt Corona am Wechsel, Austria, diggers are already clearing the remaining snow from the ski slopes to accommodate summer sports enthusiasts, Euronews reports.

"The ski season is over earlier than expected. That's why our trail construction team is already on the slopes shovelling out the trails so that we can start mountain biking," says Karl Morgenbesser, the lift operator at Sankt Corona am Wechsel.

Due to insufficient snowfall, mountain bikers already use the ski slopes in the resort as early as March. Other activities include summer tobogganing and hiking. The TranStat project - co-funded by the European Union - brings together nine resorts from Austria, Slovenia, Italy, France and Switzerland. It is testing various solutions to help popular ski resorts adapt to the effects of the climate crisis.

Source: Euronews.com

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