Saas-Fee glacier forced to close due to lack of snow
The glacier in Saas-Fee has been forced to close, as there isn’t enough snow on the ground. Other ski resorts in Switzerland are keeping a close eye on the weather, which has brought scorching temperatures to the mountains in recent weeks.
Swiss ski resort forced to close glacier due to climate change
At 3.600 metres above sea level, the ski runs on and around the glacier at Saas-Fee are usually able to remain open for most of the summer. Now, the deputy director of Saas-Fee ski lifts, Emmanuel Rossi, announced on Wednesday that only 35 of the 60 ski lifts in the resort will be open, and the glacier itself will be closed until further notice.
Rossi blamed the closure on a lack of snowfall in the winter and the extremely high temperatures recorded in recent weeks. The heat has meant that even at over three kilometres above sea level, the recent thunderstorms brought nothing but rain to Saas-Fee.
Scorching hot temperatures may spell the end of summer skiing
To protect the now exposed glacial ice, Rossi said authorities would close the area to tourists. He said he hoped for more snow in August and would reassess the situation in two weeks' time. Other high-altitude resorts, like Zermatt, have said they are concerned that climate change will force them to eliminate the summer ski season.
Head of communications for Zermatt, Marc Lagger, noted that high temperatures have moved the summer skiing season forward significantly, explaining that “in mid-June, we had conditions normally seen in mid-August. ”He admitted that installing preventative measures like snow cannons at over 3.600 metres would be a “huge challenge,” meaning that in future, many high-altitude resorts may not be able to open in the summer due to climate change, and some low-lying resorts may not be able to open at all.