Climate Change Could Affect Snow In The Alps

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For those of us who love skiing in the Alps, this season has happened very late with snow only arriving in the Alps very recently. To add to the worry a report published in The Cryosphere on February 16th 2017 makes for very grim reading. In summary, the Alps could lose as much as 70% of its snow by 2099.

The Report              

The report was a joint effort between the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale. Both are based in Switzerland. They looked at temperature and snowfall in different ski areas in Switzerland using timeframes between 2020 and 2099.

Key Findings

The key finding of the report is that if global warming does not slow down alpine slopes reaching up to 3000m could have 50% less snow by the end of the century. This could have a devastating effect on so many alpine villages who depend on skiing for their survival. However the key here is to manage the emissions, if they are cut then the amount of snow lost could drop to 30%.

Findings are also that the ski season may also start a month later and finish three months earlier.

What Can Ski Resorts Do?

Many ski resorts have already invested in snowmaking machines. Others like Tignes in France have also gone even further and plan to develop an indoor slope that will function all year round.

How To Ensure You Get Snow

The key message is that you cannot guarantee anything. Our advice would always be to go to high altitude resorts. We would also advise that you have piste closure insurance cover so you can at least get some money back if pistes are closed. But this doesn’t really help if you are on holiday so  also choose a resort that has plenty to do should the worse happen and snow is in short supply. By this we mean a swimming pool, ice rink and activities for children if you are with your family.

Another thought is to choose a resort that is near to other even higher resorts. This can mean that even if snow is in short supply where you are you can travel to a neighbouring resort for snow.

 Many have worried that the late season this year could be repeated again but it doesn’t always happen. Take California. Ski resorts there had poor low season seasons in 2013/14 and 2014/15 but have had great early snow in 2016/17 and this year(2017) are even planning on staying open until July 2017.

 

 

 

 

By Will Smith

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