Saturday 10 December 2016

A cry for Alp as no snow puts skiers on ice

Simon Calder in the Alps

Published 28/11/2011 | 05:00

IT'S barely 12 months since Ireland almost closed down with some of the heaviest snowfalls in living memory. But now they can't even get enough of the stuff in the Alps -- and ski resorts are suffering as a result.

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The resort of Val Thorens had hoped to open on the third weekend of November, but that was postponed because the area -- like much of the Alps -- has experienced the warmest and driest autumn for decades.

From the Pyrenees to the Balkans, the unseasonably warm autumn means many mountains are bare.

Rosemary Leonard, a skier in Switzerland, reported with only slight exaggeration: "No snow anywhere in the Alps -- bad news for early-season skiers."

The upmarket French resort of Val d'Isere has no snow on the lower pistes, and at higher altitudes the last snowfall was just three inches on November 9.

Resorts across Andorra were due to open last Saturday, but that has been postponed by at least a week.

Patrick Thorne of skiinfo.co.uk advised anyone hoping for a pre-Christmas break to "aim high, in latitude or altitude, or go to North America".

Resorts from New England to California were open through the weekend.

Irish Independent

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