First snow fails to secure Swiss ski season

The Swiss Alps were dusted with some long-awaited snow overnight on Friday, forecasters said, but it is unlikely to be enough to kick-start the struggling ski season.

The coverage varied from five to 10 centimetres in the Bernese Oberland in the western Bern canton to a maximum of 15 centimetres which fell over neighbouring Fribourg, the ATS news agency quoted Meteo Suisse as saying.

Southwestern Valais and the Grisons region in the east scarcely saw any snow at all however.

Switzerland has not received any significant rainfall for more than six weeks and 2011 is likely to be one of the driest on record since 1864, Meteo Suisse said.

It is bad news for the country’s luxury ski resorts which are already suffering from the strong Swiss franc.

Some, like Davos in the southeast, have opened their runs thanks only to snow machines.

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