Environmental activists vandalise snow machines in French ski resorts

Police are investigating after several ski resorts in the French Alps have reported vandalism of their snow machines, with tags left at the scene suggesting that the attacks were carried out by environmental activists.

Environmental activists vandalise snow machines in French ski resorts
A snow machine spreads artificial snow. Photo by Leo RAMIREZ / AFP

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. 

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France pushes back plan to begin phasing out paper receipts for shoppers again

A new French anti-waste law – which could spell the end of paper sales receipts in France – which was set to go into effect in the new year has been pushed back for the second time, due to concerns around inflation.

France pushes back plan to begin phasing out paper receipts for shoppers again

Part of a French anti-waste law voted on in 2020, the new regulation to do away with automatically printed receipts (tickets de caisse) is now not set to come into force before the summer of 2023.

It had been due to come into effect on January 1st, 2023, before being pushed back to April 1st. 

“We don’t think it’s the right time for this measure to come into force,” the office of the Minister for Small Businesses, Olivia Gregoire, told Le Parisien daily. 

“We have feedback from the ground, we are having discussions with consumer associations and with large retailers, who tell us, that in the face of inflation, many French people want to check the accuracy of the amount [they’re spending] when they go shopping,” the office said. 

According to national statistics institute Insee, prices have climbed 6 percent over the course of the year from February 2022 to February 2023, with food prices jumping 14.8 percent over that period.

A new date is set to announced at the start of next week with two dates currently under discussion, according to Le Parisien – 1st August and 1st September.

“Our preference is for 1st August,” Gregoire’s office told the daily because “September is the time for back-to-school purchases so it risks being even more disruptive”.

However, even once the new rules comes into force, customers will still be able to request a printed receipt if they would like one. 

According to French government website Service-Public, there are at least 30 billion sales receipts printed each year, creating lots of waste.

Parts of the anti-waste law have already come into effect, outlawing things like single-use plastic cutlery and coffee and cups and limiting packaging on food.