This European ski resort has permanently closed due to lack of snow

It was open for only four weeks this past ski season

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly
Contributing Writer
La Sambuy Mountain
Photograph: Shutterstock

It’s a worrying time for the skiing industry. In January, it was reported that resorts across the Alps, the Pyrenees, Vosges and Jura mountain ranges were struggling to stay open for the whole season thanks to lack of snowfall.

And now the lack of snow, the result of unseasonably warm weather caused by global warming, has led to one resort permanently closing. After only managing to open for four weeks in the 2022/23 ski season, La Sambuy ski resort in France has closed its slopes forever.

Based in the small town of Faverges-Seythenex, the resort used to be incredibly popular with families thanks to its beginner-friendly belts and seven-day pass, which was priced at a reasonable €97 (£84, $104). 

It had ten ski runs, three chairlifts and, according to its website, ‘breathtaking views of Lake Annecy and Mont Blanc.’ However, the process of dismantling the ski lifts is already well underway. 

Jacques Dalex, La Sambuy’s mayor, said to CNN that ‘[the resort] used to have snow practically from December 1 to March 30.’ However, this past ski season only saw four weeks of snow at the resort, and even then, rocks and stones appeared through it on the piste almost immediately. 

A shift in the resort’s business model meant that the winter season only accounted for 30 percent of La Sambuy’s annual revenue – it now makes much more money as a summer holiday resort. 

Running the lifts alone costs around €80,000 (£69,000, $85,600) per year, and with barely enough snow to open in January and February 2023, the resort was haemorrhaging around €500,000 (£432,000, $535,000) annually. 

Keeping the ski resort open is no longer financially viable, according to Dalex. He told Libération that ‘climate change is forcing us to revise our way of thinking.’

Sadly, La Sambuy’s closure is a gloomy indicator of things to come. NGO Mountain Wilderness has dismantled 70 ski lifts since 1963, and an estimated 3,000 are dotted all over the French mountains.

With global temperatures only set to rise, this could be a marker for a permanent change in the way we holiday. 

Did you see that this is officially the world’s most overcrowded tourist destination?

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