Before and after photos show dramatic changes as bare slopes in Europe are covered in snow

A snowstorm has finally blanketed the Alps after a wintry heatwave ruined the holidays of thousands of skiers.

Dozens of resorts have been forced to close or partially close for the season due to “extremely” warm weather, with the region’s snow-capped peaks being reduced to grassy hills.

Last week, the “heat dome” generated temperatures of 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 Fahrenheit) from France to western Russia – with several temperature records being broken over the New Year’s weekend.

But finally, the snow started falling on Monday and will continue to sweep across the continent down to valley floors below 3,000 feet as photos show the dramatic change in winter landscapes.

Morzine has finally welcomed snow after record temperatures turned the slopes into patches of grass and mud (pictured today).

Up to 3 feet of snow is expected on the high slopes of the French Alps by the second half of this week, with 2 feet expected today.

Glacier 3,000 near Gstaad, Switzerland, recorded 20 inches of fresh snow in the first 24 hours of the storm, a welcome relief for tourists and businesses.

But in the lower-lying areas around the resort, it stays less than 20 percent open due to the mild and wet weather, and it will take days for the snow to settle and for the slopes to reopen.

The remainder of the week is expected to remain cold with occasional snowfall through the weekend, although fears remain that the snow will turn to rain at lower altitudes.

In the popular three-valley region of Courcheval, Meribel, Val Thornes and Les Menuires, around three quarters of the pistes are open thanks to the altitude.

Morzine Is Pictured Last Wednesday As Lack Of Snow Ruined Ski Holidays For Thousands

Morzine is pictured last Wednesday as lack of snow ruined ski holidays for thousands

The Small Boutique Resort Of La Feclaz In France Is Covered In Snow Today After The Heatwave

The small boutique resort of La Feclaz in France is covered in snow today after the heatwave

Last Week Skiers Had To Ski On Thin Ice Due To The Lack Of Snow

Last week skiers had to ski on thin ice due to the lack of snow

The Remainder Of The Week Is Expected To Remain Cold With Occasional Snowfall Through The Weekend, Although Fears Remain Of The Snow Turning To Rain At Lower Altitudes (Image: Morzine).

The remainder of the week is expected to remain cold with occasional snowfall through the weekend, although fears remain of the snow turning to rain at lower altitudes (Image: Morzine).

And in Austria, the main resorts of Skiwelt, Ischl and Saalbach have averted the snow drought by dumping snow on the slopes all autumn, meaning many of the slopes have remained open.

In France, less than half of all slopes were open last week, according to Domaines Skiables de France, a professional association that brings together 250 ski lift operators across the country.

Several winter sports events have also been cancelled, postponed or postponed because unusually warm temperatures robbed the mountain slopes of their snow cover.

In the Alps, the resort of Tignes had to cancel the Andros Trophy, a car and motorcycle race on ice, on January 13-14.

In Contamines, further north along the Swiss border, the Telemark World Cup, scheduled to take place this month, has been pushed back to February.

The Popular Resort Of Morzine Is Pictured Without Snow In The Mountains Last Wednesday

The popular resort of Morzine is pictured without snow in the mountains last Wednesday

Glacier 3,000 Near Gstaad, Switzerland, Recorded 20 Inches Of Fresh Snow In The Storm'S First 24 Hours, A Welcome Relief For Tourists And Businesses (Gstaad Pictured).

Glacier 3,000 near Gstaad, Switzerland, recorded 20 inches of fresh snow in the storm’s first 24 hours, a welcome relief for tourists and businesses (Gstaad pictured).

Tourists Went Skiing On Artificial Snow On The Bare Slopes Of The Swiss Alps Last Week In The World-Famous Resort Of Gstaad

Tourists went skiing on artificial snow on the bare slopes of the Swiss Alps last week in the world-famous resort of Gstaad

Vlasic In Bosnia Now Resembles Its Usual Wintry Appearance With Snow Covering The Mountains

Vlasic in Bosnia now resembles its usual wintry appearance with snow covering the mountains

On January 3, There Was More Grass Than Snow In Vlasic During The Rare Winter Heat

On January 3, there was more grass than snow in Vlasic during the rare winter heat

In Chatillon-de-Michaille, a dog sled race called Retordica, scheduled to take place this weekend, has been cancelled.

Walter Veit, president of the Austrian Hotel Association, which mainly represents high-end hotels, said bookings have been stable so far but could fall more than usual due to the warm weather in January.

Resort operators say they’ve seen fewer day-trippers, while some have slashed ski pass prices to compensate for the closed slopes.

Ski resorts have closed in central Italy and tour operators from affected regions have appealed to the government to find a solution.

They have called for help for unemployed ski instructors and canceled hotel reservations.

Saint-Gervais In The Northern Alps Is Finally Covered In White Powder After The Warm Weather

Saint-Gervais in the Northern Alps is finally covered in white powder after the warm weather

The Saint Gervais Ski Resort, Pictured December 29, Has Had To Close Many Of Its Slopes

The Saint Gervais ski resort, pictured December 29, has had to close many of its slopes

Finally, The Snow Started Falling On Monday And Will Continue To Sweep Across The Continent (Pictured: Bjelasnica, Near Sarajevo).

Finally, the snow started falling on Monday and will continue to sweep across the continent (pictured: Bjelasnica, near Sarajevo).

An Aerial View Shows Melting Snow On A Ski Slope At A Ski Center In Bjelasnica, Near Sarajevo

An aerial view shows melting snow on a ski slope at a ski center in Bjelasnica, near Sarajevo

In Switzerland, around half of the ski stations have had to close in whole or in part since last week, especially smaller ones at lower and middle altitudes.

Tourism officials said bookings in the mountains are the same as during last year’s holiday season, although day trips to the mountains have fallen by eight percent.

Mountain railway sales fell nine percent year-on-year because of the mild weather, according to the organization, which represents 350 of Switzerland’s 500 mountain railways.

So far this month, at least seven countries – including Denmark, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic – have experienced their warmest January weather on record.

Frustrated skiers have posted videos of themselves slaloming down narrow strips of ice flanked by grass and sharing their anger at the lack of snow on the slopes.

Stopped Chairlifts Are Seen At A Ski Resort In Annecy On December 27

Stopped chairlifts are seen at a ski resort in Annecy on December 27

The Chairlift

The chairlift “Le petit chamossaire” is closed on December 31st due to lack of snow in an alpine ski area

People Ride A Drag Lift Up A Thin Strip Of Snow In The German Resort Of Lenggries December 28

People ride a drag lift up a thin strip of snow in the German resort of Lenggries December 28

Athe Bergisel Ski Jumps In Innsbruck, Austria Are Pictured January 2

AThe Bergisel ski jumps in Innsbruck, Austria are pictured January 2

The thermal dome – which forms when an anticyclone stays over the same area and traps warm air underneath – has also prompted further warnings about climate change.

An estimated 1.7million Brits plan to ski this winter, according to travel association Abta, with the busiest time being the February half-term.

Arnaud Lemercier, manager of the ski slopes at a resort near Grenoble, described his “disappointment” after being forced to close the slopes.

“It’s heartbreaking. The slopes are no longer passable. We have reached the end,” he told regional television France 3.

“This is the first time we have opened the slopes only to close them again in the middle of the season. There is a lot of disappointment among the staff.’

He said the resort has taken mountain bikes out of storage as an alternative activity.

Wim Thiery, a professor of climate science at the University of Brussels, said the same jet stream that drew cold air from the Arctic to the US is blowing warm air from subtropical zones to Europe.

He warned of the effects of climate change and urged people to reduce their use of fuels that trap heat in the atmosphere.

“By the end of the century it will just be over… skiing in the Alps as we know it,” he said.

“In the future, these problems will only get worse because snow will continue to melt as the climate warms.”

Show More


The author of what' is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Related Articles

Back to top button