'Bike instead of skiing': Switzerland's snowless ski slopes forced to close

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
'Bike instead of skiing': Switzerland's snowless ski slopes forced to close
This is what the current Alpine winter looks like. Image by Fabricio Macedo FGMsp from Pixabay

The unseasonably warm weather and lack of snow have forced certain ski areas in Switzerland to shut down.


The Christmas / New Year holiday is usually a busy time for mountain resorts, with many families spending the school break skiing in the Alps.

The unseasonably warm weather, however, prompted many lower-attitude ski areas, especially those located below 1,400 metres, to shut down.

Among them are Graubünden resorts of Splügen-Tambo and Hochwang; Beckenried/Klewenalp-Emmetten/Stockhütte area in Nidwalden; Marbach-Marbachegg in Lucerne; Moléson in Fribourg, and Saddle-Hochstuckli in Schwytz.
Warm weather has also kept some ski areas from opening at all so far this season, including Mörlialp-Giswil in Obwald; Les Rasses-Sainte-Croix  in Vaud; Rigi in Lucerne, as well as St. Gallen slopes in Wolzenalp-Krummenau, Atzmännig-Goldingen, Tanzboden-Ebnat-Kappel, and Oberholz-Farner, among others.


What are the expected developments on the snow front?

More of the same, meteorologists say, with the mild weather likely to continue at least for the immediate future.

"This anomaly should still last the next two weeks,” according to André-Charles Letestu, a meteorologist at MeteoSchweiz weather service.
From today, forecasts call for “less extreme” temperatures than in recent days — between 8C and 10C, which is still higher than maximum temperatures for January: 4C to 5C, Letestu said.

This means “the snow limit should remain between 1,400 and 1,800 metres, with lower-altitude resorts mentioned above showing mostly grass and rock surface.

While most Swiss meteorologists prefer not to forecast long-term, one, Roman Ulrich, said that “there will be very little snow this winter” on low-altitude slopes.

At medium altitudes, the snow cover will remain thin, he said.

His advice for winter sports enthusiasts: "Bike instead of skiing.”

READ MORE: Switzerland breaks January heat record for north side of Alps


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