Published On: Mon, Feb 5th, 2024

Europe’s ski slopes look dry and humid with no snow to be seen | World | News

A warmer winter in Europe is leaving ski slopes bare, causing concern among residents and businesses who point to climate change as the culprit behind the spring-like temperatures.

On Italy‘s Mount Terminillo, ski lifts are still, and snow cannons meant to compensate for the lack of natural snow sit unused on grassy slopes.

Italy heavily relies on artificial snow, with around 90 percent of its slopes now dependent on it, as revealed by data from the Italian Green lobby Legambiente.

However, the abnormally warm weather, reaching 12C in January, makes it challenging to produce the aritificial layering of white stuff. And Italy is not alone.

France faces a similar challenge, with images showing skiers navigating thin patches of snow in low-altitude resorts.

Experts warn that resorts across Europe are struggling with the unseasonably high temperatures, putting many at risk of closure.

Austria, Switzerland, and France currently see 70 percent, 50 percent, and 39 percent of their slopes, respectively, relying on artificial snow for accessibility.

As Italy prepares to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, concerns grow about showcasing winter sports destinations amid dwindling snowfall. Near Mount Terminillo, where skiing is a vital economic activity, locals fear the decline of the industry.

The Italian ski sector has seen declining revenues annually, exacerbated by shrinking mountain glaciers. In 2021, only 197 out of 290 ski resorts in the country were fully operational.

Responding to these challenges, Crans Montana in Valais has invested significantly in alternative attractions, recognising the need to adapt to warmer winters.

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