Nothing captures the spirit of winter like tearing down a snowy slope on skis, followed by a cup of hot cocoa while watching the frozen landscape outside turn from white to blue.
This winter vision, however, is another thing that is fading into obscurity for European ski resorts as the climate issue persists as they battle with record January highs.
Skiing in the Alps as we know it will simply cease by the end of the century, according to Wim Thiery, a climate science professor at the University of Brussels, as quoted by Sky News. Since the snow will keep melting as long as the temperature warms, these issues will only get worse in the future.
2023 was welcomed across Europe with unusual affection. At least seven countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Belarus, Latvia, and Lithuania, broke records for the warmest January temperatures on New Year’s Day.
For many European nations, we just saw the warmest January day on record, meteorologist Scott Duncan noted on Twitter. truly unheard of in contemporary records.
Regional highs have also been recorded in Germany, France, and Ukraine, according to CNBC. On Sunday, temperatures in Switzerland hit 20 degrees Celsius, while in Bilbao, Spain, reached 24.9 degrees Celsius. According to Meteo France and as reported by Sky News, December in France was the warmest it had been in 25 years.
The unusually warm weather is melting the snow in Pyrenean and northern Alps ski resorts, forcing them to close or develop alternative alpine activities for guests.
According to Laurent Reynaud, general director of the national ski resort organization Domaines Skiables de France, half of France’s 7,500 ski slopes are closed due to a lack of snow and a lot of rain.
In general, resorts at higher altitudes are doing better while those at lower altitudes are struggling. Some, like Les, Gets in the French Alps, are attempting to persuade tourists to engage in alternative activities, according to The Guardian. The resort provides a chairlift as a starting point for bike rides up into the mountains.
As The Guardian noted, lift operator director Benjamin Mugnier said on France 3 television, “It’s apparent one lift for bikes hardly compensates.” But at least it indicates that we can provide them with an activity that allows them to bike in the afternoon and ski a bit in the morning.
Resorts in the Swiss Alps across the border are also having trouble. Historically, the safety of the Spl gen resort in eastern Switzerland was attributed to its elevation of 1,500 meters (about 4,921 feet). It had to close Monday, though, because of the high temperatures, wetness, and lack of snow. Meanwhile, the ski resort of Adelboden in Switzerland announced that the majority of a World Cup competition this weekend would be held on artificial snow.
While resorts are expecting better weather later this winter, they are equally mindful that the long-term effects of the climate catastrophe are jeopardizing their economy. By 2100, the Alps’ glaciers might melt by more than 80% if emissions aren’t reduced.
Isa Castellvi, the manager of a ski and snowboard school at a Pyrenean resort, told CNN Travel, “I wish the future looked nice, but sadly, as an environmental activist, I am not very hopeful about the future.” “I agree with what scientists on climate change are saying. We can all clearly see the proof.