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Road and lift closures. Evacuations and residents confined to their homes.

The storms that have brought over 7 meters (23 feet) of snow to the Pyrenees since the New Year don’t seem to be putting a smile on ski resort director’s faces.

Quite the opposite in fact. Some are asking if they were not better off with last season’s snow drought.

Yesterday at Mourtis, a resort where skiers are more familiar with grass and mud, the piste bashers were running non-stop and the upper lifts have barely opened all week. The diesel bills is eye watering.

Noël Lacaze, director at Peyragudes, says that avalanche control work has been non-stop. “We’ve already used 900 kg of explosives, we’ve never done that before, that’s between 15,000 to 20,000 euros alone”. Add to that overtime plus the work clearing roofs and roads as well as additional heating costs and Lacuze thinks snowmaking might be cheaper than dealing with the effects of too much snow.

It is not as if the resorts have seen an influx of visitors brought by the excellent snow depths. Those resorts which have opened have seen guest numbers at half normal levels. Fewer lift pass sales, fewer skis rented and less people in restaurants. The authorities have also been quick to close mountain roads, sometimes for a number of days.

http://pistehors.com/news/ski/comments/1077-snow-too-much-of-a-good-thing/

Thanks to Thomas McHart for this link

 

4 Responses to Snow – Too much of a good thing? 23 ft

  1. TomO says:

    you don’t suppose the lack of skiers might also be evidence of economic troubles? It isn’t the wealthy that spend lots of time and money on skiing, but those that would be what we might call middle to upper middle class, and those are the same people being hit hardest by governments for paying for social support programs, and have the heaviest debt burden as a whole. Might be that making mortgage payments this winter seems to make more sense to them than buying lift tickets and blowing a wad of cash in the restaurants and motels. It’s not just the weather keeping people home. Uncertainty as to where they will be financially in 6 months probably sends chills up their spines, and keeps them at home =- with the thermostat turned down to save a bit more.

  2. Nathan Brazil says:

    ” Also there’s plenty of snow in unusual places (low altitude), which means lots of new routes being done; some of them within sight of the ocean. Can’t beat that!

    Best season ever!”

    Uh huh.

  3. Steven Rowlandson says:

    Is it my imagination or is the worst of winter weather shifting towards being centered on Europe and the Eurasian landmass? Or is it just better reporting?


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