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Why is there so little snow in the Alps this year?

Unseasonably warm weather and low snowfall have caused lower-altitude ski resorts to shut

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

As anyone who’s already gone skiing in the Alps this season will no doubt already have noticed, some of the slopes at the mo are looking a little... bare. In some places there’s been so little snow that ski resorts have even been caused to close, looking more muddy and brown than powdery and white.   

So where has all the white stuff gone, exactly? Well, put simply, it’s all due to unseasonably warm weather and low snowfall. Swiss forecaster MétéoSuisse has noted that average temperatures are several degrees higher in some places than usual at this time of year, with warm air having come in from south and southwest Europe

And it’s not just the Alps, either. The Pyrenees, Vosges and Jura mountain ranges have also seen far less snow than they’d typically get, while the Polish capital of Warsaw saw record temperatures on New Year’s Day of nearly 19C.

If you’re looking to get out skiing this season but your resort hasn’t yet got any snow, unfortunately there’s not really much you can do. You can either be patient and wait for snowfall – or, of course, rebook at a resort that is either high up enough that it has snow or is using artificial snow. 

And if you think things are getting bad now, we might have even worse news. Thanks to global warming and climate change, the meteorologists over at Météo France reckon that snow cover in mid-level mountain areas could be reduced by up to 40 percent by 2050.

As for this year? Well, keep an eye on forecasts and keep your fingers crossed for snow!

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