Across the alps, glaciers are melting and a lack of high elevation snow has the European snowsports industry shaking in its ski boots.
According to a recent study completed by the Neuchâtel University, Swiss ski areas are seeing less and less snow at higher elevations each season, resulting in a abbreviated season that is approximately 25 days shorter than it was in 1970. That stat has some wondering, “when will it stop?” The answer is not good. As climate change continues to ramp up, researchers believe that higher elevation snow will continue to decrease at a steady rate.
“These recent results show that the snow cover duration has been reduced not only at low altitudes, where the change is immediately apparent to everyone, but in all altitude zones which we investigated, particularly in the spring.” – Martine Rebetez, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
That’s bad news for high alpine resorts such as Saas-Fee and Zermatt. These resorts rely highly on upper elevation snow to keep their glaciers from receding further. As this alpine snow becomes more and more scarce, these glaciers will become smaller and smaller, bringing year-round resort operations into question. The meaning of it all– avoid early winter as well as late spring in the alps and get the summer skiing on these glaciers while you can.
Find the entire study here: Climate change is shortening the snow season due to earlier spring snowmelt