We’re into peak summer. Heatwaves are punishing us as temperatures creep into triple digits and beyond. The days might be getting shorter, but they’re not getting any cooler.
But “winter is coming.” At least in Finland. Levi, the nation’s largest ski area, and Ruka, another one of the largest. Both plan to open on October 7th, 2022, the first non-glacial resorts in the northern hemisphere to do so. That’s less than three months away.
In order to open early, the “two resorts use snow farming – saving piles of snow collected last spring under insulating covers”. This process protects the snow from the summer heat, which slows the melting. Once October hits, the resorts spread what is left back onto the slopes as temperatures start to drop. Cooler temperatures, combined with snow farming and an earlier start to winter given Finland’s position in the Northern reaches of the globe.
Whistler and other resorts in Europe have begun to use snow farming or covering of glaciers in order to prolong, or in this case, provide an early start. As resorts are affected by climate change, dryer seasons, and earlier closing dates, nations and their ski areas will need to become more creative. The same technique is now used by Courchevel in France and Kitzbühel in the Austrian Tirol, which is normally the first location in the Alps to open without a glacier.
So get ready. Do your snow dances and keep an eye on the skies. North America won’t be far behind…