Ski resorts in Europe forced to close amid record-breaking heat and no snow

Temperatures in France at the end of the year were the warmest for 25 years

Samuel Webb
Tuesday 03 January 2023 18:16 GMT
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Avalanche destroys ski lift

Unseasonably warm weather and low snowfall has forced some European ski resorts to close just a few weeks after opening.

The northern Alps and French Pyrenees are particularly struggling for snow.

Temperatures in France in December were the warmest for 25 years, according to national forecaster Meteo France.

The closures include Ax 3 Domaines, a resort near France’s border with Andorra, and a partial closure of both the Le Gets and Morzine in Portes du Soleil.

European nations have seen record-breaking temperatures
European nations have seen record-breaking temperatures (EPA)

“There was a good start to the season with a cold wave in mid-December, which provided some white to pretty much everyone,” Laurent Reynaud of the Domaines Skiables de France, which represents resorts and lift operators, told Sky News.

“Then, last week, there was quite a bit of rain and warm temperatures, so a certain number of runs had to close again.”

Switzerland’s Adelboden, which hosts the skiing World Cup skiing, is being forced to run the race on artificial snow this year.

Course director Toni Hadi said: “The climate is a bit changing but what should we do here? Shall we stop with life?” he told Associated Press reporters, noting that other challenges such as the coronavirus pandemic and war show “life is not easy” these days.

“Everything is difficult,” Hadi said.

Skiers ride a chairlift between La Rasse et Chaux Ronde above a snowless field
Skiers ride a chairlift between La Rasse et Chaux Ronde above a snowless field (EPA)

The lack of snow has revived concerns about rising temperatures linked to climate change, with patches of grass, rock and dirt visible on Monday in some of Europe’s top skiing destinations.

Recent temperatures in Europe have shown warmer-than-average conditions. Poland has seen daily highs in the double digits in recent days.

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