French resorts including Les Gets and and La Clusaz in the French Alps have reported that pipes have been cut and electrical boxes stolen from their artificial snow machines over December and January, delaying the reopening of ski slopes in certain areas.
Tags at the scene say ‘no skiing without snow’, while a video was released saying that the activists “wish to call attention to the state of certain resorts, such as La Clusaz, which live only thanks to artificial snow”.
At the beginning of January almost half of French resorts were closed due to a lack of snow, an ever-worsening problem linked to rising temperatures and the climate crisis. After snowfalls at the beginning of the week, many Alps and Pyrenees resorts are preparing to reopen.
But the use of canons à neige (snow machines) to create artifical snow for the slopes is controversial because of the high energy consumption of such machines. Snow cannons cannot be used if the temperatures rise above a certain temperature, but many resorts have them to augment snow on the slopes and allow them to open pistes to skiers.
According to the ski industry representatives, 35 percent of French resorts now have artificial snow machines, compared to 20 percent in 2009.
As the planet continues to warm, experts say that snow can only be guaranteed in the winter above 2,000 metres, and many of France’s lower-altitude resorts have already closed their doors.
The vandalism follows a similar spate of attacks on hot tubs in tourist areas over the summer during the drought.