As ski resorts across France struggle to stay open until the end of the season due to lack of snow and unseasonably high temperatures and rain up to 2000 metres, resorts across America are recording record snow falls and planning to stay operational until June. With many blaming the poor snow across Europe on global warning, it is unclear what the future holds for ski resorts in the Alps. Already many of the glaciers are a fraction of the size they used to be and snow uncertain.
The 2010/2011 ski season started off with much promise right across Europe. November saw unusually cold weather with significant snow falls across many parts of the Alps, including Courchevel ski resort in the heart of the French Alps and into the UK. Record low temperatures were recorded in Wales and there were many severe weather warnings. The cold front moved out from Siberia and brought snow storms to the Alps by the end of November and at the start of December the UK was paralysed by heavy snow falls and it was the coldest winter on record in the UK for over 100 years.
Heavy snow fell right across Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France through out December, causing much disruption to the roads and airports with Geneva airport being shut on more than one occasion and many towns across France paralysed by snow. It appeared to be a promising start to the ski season with a good early cover of snow on the ski runs.
Unfortunately the New Year brought little by way of further snow in Courchevel, France and days and weeks of sunny weather and blue skies, meant ski resorts started to suffer with hard packed snow and icey conditions.
However, on the other side of the ocean, America saw heavier snow falls than average and lower temperatures. Squaw Valley announced it would be staying open until the end of May due to the highest accumulation of snow on record (over seventeen metres) and many other resorts across America are experiencing late season snow falls and great conditions.
Back in Europe, France especially, temperatures of well over 20 degrees in the sun and even 7 or 8 degrees at well over 2000 metres saw the snow melt quickly and piste conditions turned to rocky and patchy. France has been experiencing spring conditions since the end of February, with many pistes closed a month before the end of the season.