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Warmest December on Record Leads to Bare Ski Slopes in Europe

Skiing is a favourite sport amongst winter and snow enthusiasts - combine the crunch of the powdery slope with a sudden shot of adrenaline in to your veins, it's no surprise why! This time of year is traditionally associated with mulled wine, skiing holidays and fresh snow, but instead there are birds chirping and flowers blooming at some resorts - you'd think it was spring! As a result, holidaymakers travelling to popular low-altitude resorts across Europe this Christmas season have been left disappointed due to one of the warmest Decembers on record.

Mild weather in France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria this December have left the lower slopes almost completely void of snow, with some resorts using snow machines to make a thin layer of snow to construct a fake runway for visiting tourists. Skiers who planned a snowy getaway at low-altitude resorts are being forced to head to locations at higher altitudes, where there are more runs and resorts open, in the hopes of finding snow.

The scene itself looks juxtaposed and very strange - on one half of the Neunerkoepfle Hill (altitude 6,100ft) in the Tannheim Valley in Austria, a skier is head to toe in warm protective gear on a snowy slope; a mere 5 metres away are a couple wearing thin coats walking their dog and enjoying the sunshine on a grassy green hill.

Leysin, Switzerland, sits at an altitude of 4,130ft - Last year in December the amount of snow was just under 20 inches on the lower slopes and 22 inches on the higher slopes; whereas this month there is just 7.5 inches of snow on the lower slopes versus 20 inches on the higher slopes. December 9th was the last reported snowfall, but good news is on the way as an extra 8 inches of snow is expected on New Year's Eve through to Monday when the temperature is due to plummet.

If you're looking for a ski resort with high levels of snow this season check out our list below (figures are for the upper pistes only):

Timberline, USA - 90.1 inches
Squaw Valley, USA - 78.7 inches
Solitude, USA - 74 inches
Whistler, Canada - 72.4 inches
Big White, Canada - 72 inches
Fernie, Canada - 71.2 inches

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