French ski resort closes forever due to lack of snow

Resort dismantles lifts after global warming reduced its ski season to just a few weeks

Helen Coffey
Monday 18 September 2023 10:45 BST
French ski slopes bare little snow amid warm winter conditions and sparse snowfall
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A ski resort in the French Alps has closed its doors permanently after a global warming-induced lack of snow has reduced its ski season to just a few weeks.

La Sambuy, a small family resort not far from the mammoth Trois Vallees ski area in France, was only able to open for a month last season.

According to La Sambuy’s mayor, Jacques Dalex, the resort “used to have snow practically from 1 December up until 30 March,” reports CNN.

But during the 2022/23 season there were only four weeks of snow “and even then, not much snow,” meaning “very quickly, stones and rocks appeared on the piste,” he said.

Running the lifts – at a cost of €80,000 per year – for such a short stretch of time simply isn’t financially viable, according to Mr Dalex.

With only enough snow to open for a smattering of weeks in January and February in 2023, the resort was losing around €500,000 annually.

The bijou resort had a chairlift and three draglifts accessing four black runs, three red runs, two blue runs and a green run for beginners.

Although small, it was popular with families wanting to get the Alpine experience without having to shell out hundreds for a lift pass; a seven-day pass was priced at just €97.

La Sambuy’s town council decided to dismantle the snowsports infrastructure ahead of the coming ski season.

On 10 September, the resort’s website displayed an announcement saying it would be “closed definitively”.

“Thank you all for this last summer season 2023, and for all the wonderful years spent by your side,” read the message.

The town still hopes to attract non-skiing visitors, said Mr Dalex. He added it’s a place for “discovering and protecting nature, going on walks, doing sports, if possible.”

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