While large parts of the USA and Japan are drowning in snow, European snowfalls have been below average. Several lower-lying ski areas in Switzerland have been forced to close or seek alternatives for tourists during the peak school holiday season. Unseasonably warm weather, coupled with rainfall, has eroded much of the ski runs in areas below 6,500ft, resulting in the temporary closure of the following ski areas:
- Sattel-Hochstuckli — 4,892ft (1,491m)
- Hochwang — 7,230ft (2,204m)
- Klewenalp/Beckenried — 6,358ft (1,938m)
- La Dôle — 5,505ft (1,678m)
- Marbach-Marbachegg — 4,921ft (1,500m)
- Moléson — 6,568ft (2,002m)
- Grimmialp — 6,200ft (1,890m)
- Splügen-Tambo — 7,267ft (2,215m)
Most of the resorts forced to close are smaller mom-and-pop resorts in lower-lying areas of Switzerland. The larger, more well-known resorts are mainly located at higher altitudes and have been faring better. Nevertheless, many are still experiencing sup-par conditions. Zermatt currently has only about half its ski area open.
Some ski resorts have tried to find alternative activities to boost their offering for tourists, such as operating their summer luge, offering yoga classes at altitude, or hiking with mountain goats or alpacas, like the small resort of Flumserberg close to Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, did.
The Swiss resort of Adelboden will hold the Men’s FIS Alpine World Cup this coming weekend, and pictures from the webcam, and social media of the finish area look rather bleak. The Local Organization Committee, however is optimistic they can get the course ready in time and have been trucking in artificial snow to finish the last few meters of the race course.
It is bizarre to think that parts of the Northern Hemisphere are drowning in snow and others have a below-average season. Let’s hope things even out a bit more over the next few weeks and the ski season improves in Europe.