A French ski resort has been forced to close its ski runs in mid-season as there has been “no snow” for a second year running.
The daytime temperature at the Le Mourtis resort in the Pyrenees mountains was above 10C (50F) earlier this week – a likely effect of climate change.
It comes as the country’s national weather service, Meteo France, says the last time France experienced a January this mild was in 1900.
Local restaurateurs and hoteliers at Le Mourtis say they are already suffering from the impact of fewer visitors.
“Skiing? No one today can guarantee it,” said Francois Gillaizeau, who manages Tuc de l’Etang, a hotel and restaurant with a shop that rents out leisure gear.
Image: ‘Skiing? No one today can guarantee it,’ says the resort’s manager
“If the snow is not there, we have to sell something else.”
Mr Gillaizeau said he expects revenue across his businesses to be down 10 to 15% this year and he has had to reduce the hours of some staff.
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The director of Le Mourtis ski resort, Christophe Esparseil, said it was not a hard decision to close the ski slopes.
“We made the decision to close because we couldn’t guarantee maximum safety for our clients to ski,” he said.
Many of the visitors to Le Mourtis have taken to hiking or renting out downhill scooters instead.
Image: The ski resort has seen ‘no snow’ for the last two years
Image: Climate change is causing milder winters
Laurent Morel, a visitor from Toulouse who was taking a walk on the mountainside, said: “It’s the second year in a row that we’ve had no snow. We love the mountains so we come anyway.”
Scientists’ predictions for the long-term effects of climate change paint a bleak picture for winter sports.
If the pattern of milder winters continues, ski resorts around 1,600m above sea level will be too warm to even spray artificial snow.
Image: Racks of ski gear at Francois Gillaizeau’s shop
Some Pyrenees resorts at higher altitudes have had a decent snow covering and are open for business, but the Le Mourtis resort sits at 1,350m.
Ms Robert said: “Depending on greenhouse gas emissions that we’ll see, there will be a big impact on mid-altitude ski resorts.
“If we manage to limit global warming to 2C, we’ll see something similar to what we have today on this first half of the 21st century.
“But if we get to the scenario with warming reaching 5 or 6C at the end of the century, the future for those mid-altitude resorts looks bleak.”
In 2018, Lapland visitors were left disappointed when no snow fell on the winter resort.
Unseasonably mild conditions meant there was no more than a couple of centimetres of snow in isolated patches, where there would usually be 20-30cm.
Source : Sky News