European Heat Wave Derails Ski Season

European Heat Wave Derails Ski Season

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European Heat Wave Derails Ski Season

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“By the end of the century (it’s) just going to be over … skiing in the Alps as we know it. In the future, these problems will get worse, because the snow will continue to melt as long as the climate warms.”Wim Thiery,  Professor of Climate Science at the University of Brussels.

Western North America has been getting a lot of snow to start its winter. Unfortunately, one continent is struggling mightily at the moment: Europe.

The Associated Press reports a record-breaking warm front is wreaking havoc on European ski resorts. Upper-elevation ski resorts and villages are holding on at the moment, but lower-elevation mountains have minimal or no trails and lifts open.

Temperatures in France were the warmest they’ve been in twenty-five years, and half the ski slopes in the country are closed. Record-breaking temperatures are happening across Germany, Poland, and Switzerland.

A World Cup race is scheduled for this weekend in Adelboden. The issue is that in spite of the race’s approval by FIS race officials, there’s a  lack of natural snow. According to the BBC, temperatures have reached twenty degrees celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

This unfortunately follows scientific predictions that challenge the future of skiing in most if not all of Europe, with some lower-elevation ski areas projected to close in the coming years. This Twitter thread from meteorologist Colin McCarthy shows how warm it is across the continent.

In a recent article from Planet Ski, Fraser Wilkin of weathertoski.co.uk described the current conditions:

“Resort authorities have done an amazing job at keeping some runs open in these areas but the relentlessly warm weather is limiting what they are able to do, and some resorts are now hanging on by the skin of their teeth, including Les Gets where only two runs remain open. 

Higher resorts in the north-western Alps (such as Val d’Isère, Tignes, Val Thorens, Les Arcs, and La Plagne) are still offering plenty of skiing, though the lack of snow lower down will inevitably be putting pressure on the higher runs.”

It sounds like there will be some improvements in the ten-day weather forecast, but things are currently dire for ski bums across Europe.

Image Credits: Ax 3 Domaines, Colin McCarthy, Megève, The Independent

 

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