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French government holds crisis talks over ski resorts with no snow

French government holds crisis talks over ski resorts with no snow
An unusually warm winter has hit French ski resorts hard. Photo: AFP
France's environment minister is on Thursday holding a crisis meeting with ski resort managers after two resorted to flying in snow by helicopter.

France's environment minister Elisabeth Borne unleashed a stinging criticism of the ski resort owners who last week were reported to have helicoptered in snow to ensure that the slopes were ready for skiers.

Two French resorts – one in the Alps and one in the Pyrenees – have helicoptered in snow in recent weeks as the unusually warm weather left many facing the February school holidays – normally a peak time for ski holidays – with no snow on their slopes.

READ ALSO The French ski resorts facing a future with no snow


Environment minister Elisabeth Borne. Photo: AFP

One of the airlift operations reportedly lasted three hours and required 400 litres of fuel.
 
“Snowing ski resorts by helicopter is not possible,” said Elisabeth Borne on Sunday.
 
“We can not have stations that are victims of climate change, that have no more snow and, at the same time, contribute to aggravating climate change.”
 
But resort owners say they are facing a crisis if snow cannot be guaranteed during the ski season.
 
Although the reduction in snow cover has been affecting French mountains for the past forty years, at heights of 1,500 metres and above, it will now hit higher, above 2,000 metres, according to Météo France.
 
According to two studies published in 2019 involving Météo France, which focus on resorts in the Alps and the Pyrenees, after 2050 “the impact of global warming on snow cover in resorts is strong as early as 1.5C of global warming”.
 
And, “above 3C, artificial snow is no longer sufficient to compensate for the reduction in natural snow cover”.
 
Many French resorts already have artificial snow machines, but these do not work well above certain temperatures, so exceptionally mild winters also impact upon them.
 
The minister says that she wants to “work on solutions for adapting mountain resorts to climate change”.
 
 

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