Half of France's ski slopes closed by warm weather and rain

© AFP - Jeff Pachoud

Mild weather and rain have severely disrupted France's ski resorts – particularly those located in low-lying mountains – with half of the country's slopes shut down.

"We started the Christmas holidays with good conditions following a wave of cold and snow, but from the end of last week the mild weather and the rain led to the closure of half of the slopes," said Laurent Reynaud of Domaines Skiables de France, the national union representing ski lift operators and resorts.

While the southern and northern French Alps have only seen about a quarter of their slopes closed, the situation is "more worrying" in the Pyrenees, the Vosges and the Jura mountains, where only a quarter or even fewer slopes remain open.

"We've been having more and more difficulties since the beginning of December, and the snow is falling at altitude on the north-facing slopes," said Jean-Luc Boch, the mayor of La Plagne Tarentaise, in the Savoie.

"This climatic upheaval has led us to adapt, with artificial snow but also by developing other activities."

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) inn August warned that in Europe the frequency of cold snaps and frost days would decrease and that "the significant decline in glaciers, permafrost and snow cover as well as the shortening of the snow season" already observed would continue.

(with AFP)

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