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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French actor Depardieu faces new sex assault complaint

A set designer has filed a complaint against French screen legend Gerard Depardieu for an alleged sexual assault during a 2021 film shoot, her lawyer told AFP.

French actor Depardieu faces new sex assault complaint

Depardieu, 75, has been charged with rape in another case and has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women. He denies the allegations.

The complainant’s lawyer Carine Durrieu-Diebolt confirmed that she had forwarded this new complaint to the Paris public prosecutor’s office on Friday, alleging sexual assault, harassment and abuse.

The Paris public prosecutor’s office was unable to confirm that the complaint had been lodged, and Depardieu’s lawyers did not comment.

Amelie, 53, told online newspaper Mediapart that Depardieu made several vulgar remarks on September 10th, 2021 then later “brutally grabbed her” and “kneaded her waist and stomach up to her breasts”.

The incidents were interrupted by a bodyguard on the film set of Les volets verts in Paris, the report said.

According to Mediapart, another woman accused Depardieu of twice touching “her breasts and buttocks” on the same set in August 2021.

Repeated allegations against Depardieu have become a culture-war front line in France, dividing the world of cinema and pitting feminist groups against the actor’s defenders.