Monday, February 17, 2020

Airlifting Snow Just So Holidaymakers Can Have Their Snow

Mild weather and a lack of snow have left ski slopes bare in the French Pyrenees

Temperatures have risen above 10C across the Pyrenees (a mountain range that separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe, stretching more than 430km between Spain and France) this week, leaving ski slopes devoid of snow. 

There are those who still don’t want to acknowledge that milder weather and a lack of snow during winter are trends that meteorologists have linked to climate change. 

Already, France experienced its mildest January since 1900, according to Meteo-France, the country’s national forecaster. 

Therefore, the Luchon-Superbagnères resort in France had arranged for around 50 tonnes of snow to be dropped on its slopes. Taken from higher mountains, the snow was dumped on Friday and Saturday, just so holidaymakers can have their snow. 

This particular exercise to airlift snow using helicopters cost more than 5,000 euros (£4,150). 

Hervé Pounau, director of the local council, insisted it was a worthwhile investment: “We’re not going to cover the entire ski station in snow, but without it we would have had to close a huge part of the ski domain, and it’s during the holidays that we have the most activity for beginners and the ski schools”. The school holidays in February and March are typically the busiest time of year for ski resorts in France. 

Pounau maintained that the jobs of up to 80 people, including lift operators, ski school teachers and child minders, will be protected by keeping the resort open. 

However, the delivery of snow has been criticized by environmental groups. 

“Instead of adapting to global warming we’re going to end up with a double problem: something that costs a lot of energy, that contributes heavily to global warming and that in addition is only for an elite group of people who can afford it. It is the world upside down”, Bastien Ho of green group Europe Écologie Les Verts told French television. 

Pounau, of course, conceded that moving the snow was not a “particularly ecological” solution – but said “we had no choice”. 

Certainly, ski resorts in the Pyrenees mountains are facing an uncertain future, as low snowfall levels result in fewer visitors.

Celtic stretched their winning run in the Scottish Premiership to nine games when they managed to subdue battling Aberdeen 2-1 on Sunday. 

Callum McGregor opened the scoring in the tenth minute – but the Dons went level seventeen minutes later. And then, James Forrest sent a perfect pass into the path of Kristoffer Ajer who took a one touch before firing past the opposing side’s goalkeeper at eighty-one minutes.

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