Only a narrow strip of snow remains at Monte Terminillo, where few shops and bars have opened this year (Picture: Reuters)
Some of Europe’s leading ski destinations are low on snow as unseasonably high temperatures sweep across the continent – but the UK might be in for the opposite.
What little snow remains can be found in shallow, narrow strips that are almost more insulting to skiers than the browning grass that surrounds them.
Vincenzo Regnini, the president of the company that runs the local ski-lift, put the problem bluntly: ‘A crucial detail is missing for a ski facility: snow.’
None has fallen at all since the start of the season, and to add insult to injury, it’s even too warm for the snow cannons to whip it up artificially.
‘Transforming water into snow needs a temperature at least close to zero degrees,’ Mr Regnini said.
‘Last week we had 12°C.’
And it’s not just Italy that’s feeling the heat: in Grenoble, nicknamed the Capital of the Alps, temperatures are forecast to hit 18°C later this week.
The ski lift at Dent-de-Vaulion in Vaulion, Switzerland, has been closed due to the lack of snow (Picture: Reuters)
Skiers don’t have much to play with at France’s Lans en Vercors resort (Picture: Durand Thibaut/ABACA/Shutterstock)
Unpredictable weather, driven by climate change, has been causing havoc in the international skiing industry for years.
Already, 90% of pistes in Italy have to use artificial snow to stay functional, along with 70% in Austria, 50% in Switzerland and 39% in France, according to data from the Italian Green lobby Legambiente.
Some resorts are now investigating alternative sources of tourist revenue if they are no longer able to rely on favourable weather.
Unusually, it’s looking like the UK could end up with more snow than some of Europe’s leading ski destinations this week.
The Met Office has issued a series of yellow weather warnings for snow in the coming days, with separate ones covering central England and most of Wales, the north of Scotland and its islands, and Northern Ireland.
The agency’s Deputy Chief Meteorologist Chris Almond said: ‘It’s from Thursday that the snow risk becomes potentially impactful, as mild air attempts to move back in from the south, bumping into the cold air and increasing the chance of snow where the two systems meet.
‘While there are still lots of details to work out, the initial snow risk looks highest in northern England and Wales from Thursday. 1-2cm is possible to low levels, with 10-20cm possible over the highest ground within the warning area.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.