Swiss ski resorts warn of delayed start to the season due to lack of snow

Swiss ski resorts warn of delayed start to the season due to lack of snow

As Swiss ski resorts prepare for the start of the 2022-23 season, many areas are worried that there won’t be enough snow to open on time. Some resorts at the highest altitudes have said that they are unable to open in the coming weeks, with others choosing to either farm snow or use snow cannons.

Little to no snow has fallen in Switzerland in October

So far, the Swiss mountains have remained largely bare, as record-high temperatures in October have meant that little to no snow has fallen. This poses a problem for ski resorts at higher altitudes, which are currently preparing for the start of the ski season.

Many resorts, such as Andermatt-Sedrun, have already announced that they will be postponing the start of the season. A spokesperson for the resort told Watson that the original start date of October 29 was impossible due to the hot weather. The resort hopes to welcome the first skiers and snowboarders of the season on November 12, more than two weeks later than planned.

Heavy rain in Zermatt forces World Cup race to be cancelled

At the "365-day" ski resort of Zermatt, you’d be better off going for an autumn hike than trying to carve down the mountain. While it is possible to ski on a few runs, heavy rain up to 3.000 metres means conditions are far from ideal - so much so that the men’s and women’s World Cup ski races in Zermatt have had to be cancelled. 

While the official opening of Zermatt is still set for November 1, a spokesperson for the resort, Marc Lagger, told Watson that "we have to look from day to day… the opening of the various systems depends on the temperatures and rainfall." He explained that the high temperatures make it impossible to use snow cannons as the snow would melt too quickly to lay. "We're hoping for colder days and nights for technical snowmaking," Lagger concluded.

Swiss ski resorts use snow farming to open on time

However, many other resorts are hoping to open on time, with the Schilthorn resort saying they expect to open on schedule on November 5. Despite a lack of snow on the ground, resort officials explained that they are able to open because of snow farming - where large snow deposits are collected in the winter and spring and covered with foil to stop them from melting. "Thanks to snow farming, we can prepare the entire slope along the Riggli chairlift like last year," noted director Christoph Egger.

This confidence also extends to Saas-Fee, where snow has fallen, allowing the resort to open as normal. "The conditions are currently very good," a spokesperson said. "We assume that we will be able to welcome a similar number of guests at the start of the season and in the November weekends as in the previous year."

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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