Second Alpine Glacier Stops Summer Skiing Due To The Heat

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 24th August 2017

A second Alpine glacier has been forced to suspend summer skiing operations due to the ongoing hot summer in the Alps.

Austria’s Molltal glacier (pictured above today) which endeavours to open for a 10 month ski season from late spring each year to early spring the next says it has suspended operations until conditions improve.

“At the moment it is not possible to ski due to too little snow,” said Petra Pichler from the lift company, adding, “We cannot say yet when it will be possible to open for skiing. It depends on the tropical weather and snow-conditions.”

The Molltal Glacier was also in the news last week as World Champion Marcel Hirscher injured himself whilst slalom training there, straddling a gate and breaking his left ankle meaning he’ll miss the start of the competitive season.

The Molltal glacier is the second of seven Alpine glaciers open for summer skiing that has been forced to cease snowsports this month.  Italy’s Stelvio Glascier made the same decision for reportedly the first time in its history earlier this month, but it has since re-opened limited terrain following an unexpected break in the heat when glaciers received up to 40cm of fresh snow in mid-August.

Elsewhere Les 2 Alpes is the only glacier ski area currently open in France, it reports a 35cm base but describes its snow conditions with an unusual term “tough”  Webcam images show a glacier with the snow melted away to show the ice beneath.

Cover looks only marginally better at the only other Austrian centre currently open, Hintertux, which has a 35cm base and says 20kmnm of runs are open with cover “partially icy”.

In Switzerland Saas Fee and Europe’s highest slopes at Zermatt are open.  They report 50 and 60cm snow depths and 18km and 14km of runs open respectively.

Cervinia, Italy’s other summer ski destination, is reported as closed by some snow reporting agencies and its own snow report page is down and the webcam images of the glacier also look grim, however a message on its website says the centre is open for summer skiing today.

All the glaciers are currently showing afternoon temperatures of 5-10C so further thawing seems likely.

Half a dozen Austrian glacier ski areas are aiming to open in around three weeks’ time, conditions permitting, for a series of autumn ‘ski opening’ events.


See here for Austrian Glacier Announcing It Will Cease Operating Due To Climate Change

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