Global warming drives Alps town to shut ski area


Harbinger of things to come (or go, as is the case here):

MSNBC is reporting that climate change has forced the Alps ski resort town of Abondance, France, to shut down its ski operations and climate change experts warn that other resorts will follow:

BONDANCE, France - Muddy slopes, slushy peaks, unused lifts — this town in the French Alps is living out the nightmare of many a ski resort in a century scientists say is doomed to keep getting warmer.

The city council of Abondance — its name a cruel reminder of the generous snowfall it once enjoyed — voted last month 9-6 to shut down the ski area that has been its economic raison d'etre for more than 40 years. The reason: not enough snow.

Abondance is the French Alps' first ski station to fall apparent victim to global warming. It will almost certainly not be the last.


As reported in earlier posts, growing warming is impacting diverse regions.

In the Alps, it's hit the ski slopes:

Gerald Giraud of the Snow Study Center of Meteo-France at Grenoble said altitudes of 3,000-4,900 feet are where "global warming will pose the greatest problems." Even taking into account irregular weather cycles, snowfall levels fell 25 inches on average between 1960 and 2007 across the French Alps, he said.

His center noted a rise in average temperature of 2.7 to 3.3 degrees Fahrenheit over the Alpine ranges since the early 1980s. The OECD report said warming in the Alps in recent years has been roughly three times the global average.

The report goes on to say that, geographically, Germany is the most at risk, while Switzerland has the least impact (relatively speaking). France, with its new shutdown projected to be the first of many is specified as being at average impact from global warming.

Which means the average norm will be no snow, an annual loss, last year, of $882,000 for one specified town (which is why they closed down)...

Not that everyone will miss out:

Abondance Mayor Serge Cettour-Meunier fears that the closure of his station is the start of a troubling trend. "Skiing is again becoming a sport for the rich," since only elite high-altitude resorts will have sufficient snowfall.

So, for now, the rich will still have their playground.

Or will they?

The company that operates the mid-level resorts in France, Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia are under bankruptcy protection, with warming weather given as a principle reason.

Well, heat rises. Maybe, when it rises high enough, all the oil-laden offspring on the slopes will think twice about the warming their parents helped to create.

Here's the link to the MSNBC report.