Switzerland’s ski resorts reopen with little snow in sight
Switzerland’s ski resorts have reopened ready for the winter season, but one thing is missing: snow. Warm weather and mild temperatures of around 10 degrees have left the slopes with little to no snow, but the ski season in some areas has kicked off regardless.
Artificial snow at Swiss ski resorts
Officials at Elsigen - Metsch ski resort, in Canton Bern, announced the start of the ski season on November 13, but according to webcam images, there is almost no snow on the ground.
The little snow that has accumulated in the area is likely to be remnants of artificial snow, placed on the ski slopes to help resorts get ready for the beginning of the winter season, forming a visible white strip down the mountain.
While the Elsigen - Metsch resort opted to open the resort at the early date of November 13, most other resorts across the Swiss Alps are not planning to open until November 27, 2021. The resort has now been forced to close due to the excessively warm weather.
Climate activists are growing concerned about Switzerland’s winter
News of the warm weather and lack of snowfall has been particularly upsetting to climate activists. Just one week after Switzerland tumbled from 11th to 15th best in the world for climate change protection, the snow drought has further alarmed Swiss environmentalists.
Beat Kohler, Green Party of Switzerland member of the Great Council for Canton Bern, expressed his dismay at the situation in a strongly-worded statement: "It is schizophrenic behaviour, to want to ski already in mid-November, and contribute to even more wasted energy and climate change." Critics highlight the high amounts of energy required to artificially open a ski run without any real snow.
The Elsigen - Metsch resort has taken the brunt of most of the criticism for opening too early, though the organisation was quick to defend itself, stating that their resort is usually the first to open “because the terrain is particularly suitable." Elsigenalpbahnen Managing Director Christian Zenger added that the resort does not “produce more or less artificial snow than other ski areas."