Heavy snowfalls of up to 60cm could hit the French mountains this weekend after a barren period left skiers in front of green fields.
In the snowless areas of the Alps and Pyrenees, skiers go to new pastures or engage in other activities such as horseback riding and mountain biking.
Monzrine and Les Gets were empty, and La Clusaz reportedly only had 13 open runs.
In France, only Puy St Vincent has reported more than 2 meters of snow at the top and has 95 percent of its pistes open.
A similar situation was recorded in Austria and Switzerland, although the Italian Dolomites were the least affected of the main ranges in central and southern Europe.
Before the turn of the year, December temperatures provided snowfall, ending 2022 on a positive note. However, France has since experienced its warmest winter since 1997, and eight other European countries recorded record highs in the first week of January. . Rain also played a role in melting the snow.
Temperatures have been recorded in the Swiss Alps that locals say are closer to what you would expect in June. The Splügen-Tambo resort closed on Monday with the announcement: “Due to lack of snow, heavy rainfall and high temperatures, we are forced to close our ski resort until further notice. We are no longer able to prepare the slopes because we have too much water. . . and the snow does not freeze at night.
Fraser Wilkin of alpine tour operator Snow Wise said: “Things are looking quite desperate in the lower-altitude northwest resorts of Morzine, Megève, La Clusaz, Villars and Gstaad.”
However, France is set to be the biggest beneficiary of the excess snow that will fall in the coming days. In the mountains, about 30-60 cm is forecast.
In Austria, where snow has been retained to form thin trails on barren hillsides, around 10-30 cm of snow is forecast – with cooler road conditions. And while Italy is least in need, it will benefit from an extra 20-40cm this weekend, while Switzerland could drop to 55cm.
North America and Scandinavia
Mountains in the US and Canada have been affected by a completely different problem – too low temperatures. The well-known bomb cyclone effect has brought freezing temperatures to parts of North America, wreaking havoc on shipping and leading to the deaths of dozens.
On the ski front, slopes in western Canada continue to be ski-friendly, but temperatures of -30 degrees Celsius have forced trails to be closed for safety reasons. It is similar in the United States where the western ranges have been closed due to cold weather and the eastern US hills have been closed due to warm weather. However, the situation is expected to improve in the coming weeks.
Scandinavia seems to have the best and whitest situation – up to 90 cm in Norway, Finland and Sweden. More snow is forecast for the coming week.