Ski company refuses to reimburse skiers for lack of snow in the Alps: ‘Hopefully’ it will fall by next week

Unusually warm weather in the Alps has called snow holidays into question as the Ski World Cup prepares to host the tournament on artificial snow.

And an underserved ski holiday booking company has been slammed for refusing to change its cancellation policy due to the lack of snow in Alpine ski resorts.

Snow levels are below average across the region for early January, raising particular concerns in Adelboden, Switzerland, where the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup is taking place this weekend.

Course director Toni Hadi said the organizers had no choice but to hold the race on artificial snow this year.

He said: “The climate is changing a bit, but what should we do here? Should we stop living?’

Snow levels are below average across the region for early January, raising particular concerns in Switzerland's Adelboden, home of the weekend's FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

Snow levels are below average across the region for early January, raising particular concerns in Switzerland’s Adelboden, home of the weekend’s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup

Course director Toni Hadi said the organizers had no choice but to hold the race on artificial snow this year

Course director Toni Hadi said the organizers had no choice but to hold the race on artificial snow this year

The same region was covered in white runs for the competition on January 8 last year

The same region was covered in white runs for the competition on January 8 last year

Likewise, there was a lot of snow for the tournament in 2021 (picture)

Likewise, there was a lot of snow for the tournament in 2021 (picture)

A weather station in Delémont, capital of the Swiss state of Jura, recorded an average daily temperature of 18.1 °C (65 °F) on the first day of the year, 2.5 °C higher than the previous record for January.

MeteoSuisse writes in a blog post: “This turn of the year almost makes you forget that it’s winter.”

While snow is forecast Experts say it’s unlikely the slopes will be back open by Sunday afternoon and Monday for all affected slopes to reopen.

Due to the lack of snow, Crystal Ski Holidays has been inundated with messages from confused and angry customers who are flying away on holiday this week.

Many are asking to change their bookings so they can travel when there is more snow on the slopes.

This slope near Schladming, Austria, is one of many that has less snow than usual at this time of year

This slope near Schladming, Austria, is one of many that has less snow than usual at this time of year

High regions of the Alps can expect significant snowfall in the coming days, but there will be concerns there will not be enough to reach the lower slopes

High regions of the Alps can expect significant snowfall in the coming days, but there will be concerns there will not be enough to reach the lower slopes

But the company is using the forecast change in weather to justify its decision not to allow changes over the upcoming holiday.

Pressed by a customer regarding a ski trip booked to Bulgaria, a spokesman said: “We understand your disappointment, but the decision is based on the forecast and information received from the resort.

“We are very confident that skiing conditions will improve next week.”

A report from Weather To Ski today said: “It will take more than one major storm to get things back on track, particularly in the worst-hit areas.”

And frustrated customers have also pointed out that forecasts may appear to show slight improvements, but aren’t necessarily enough to get their money’s worth.

A spokesman for Crystal Ski in Bulgaria said the resort team “is confident that temperatures should drop and it should be cold enough for snow cannons” coupled with snowfall by next week.

While snow is expected to fall on the slopes through Sunday afternoon and Monday, experts say it's unlikely there will be enough to allow all of the affected slopes to reopen

While snow is expected to fall on the slopes through Sunday afternoon and Monday, experts say it’s unlikely there will be enough to allow all of the affected slopes to reopen

The Alps are currently experiencing unprecedentedly warm winter temperatures and snow depths are below average across the region for early January. Pictured: People skiing on a cross-country ski trail in Ramsau, Austria

The Alps are currently experiencing unprecedentedly warm winter temperatures and snow depths are below average across the region for early January. Pictured: People skiing on a cross-country ski trail in Ramsau, Austria

Skiers ski down a slope in an otherwise snow-free part of Schladming, Austria

Skiers ski down a slope in an otherwise snow-free part of Schladming, Austria

But customers have since claimed, when calling the resort itself, that no such assurances could be given regarding the use of artificial snow.

The company offers a “Snow Promise” that states, “If the snow lets you down, we’ll do whatever it takes to get you on the slopes at another ski resort.”

However, the guarantee comes with conditions that dictate that your ski area must be snow-free and the mountain must be completely closed.

In the case of short pistes that are still open or little snowfall, the company is not obliged to provide a guarantee.

The currently most affected areas are in the northwestern Alps below about 1,600 m.

The natural snow cover there is currently very patchy.

A few runs are still open in Grindelwal, Megève, Grand Massif, Leysin, Gstaad, La Clusaz, Wengen and Villars, while Morzine offers two short runs.

Crystal Ski Holidays has been inundated with messages from confused and angry customers flying to destinations across Europe for ski holidays this week. Many are asking to change their bookings so they can travel when there is more snow on the slopes

Crystal Ski Holidays has been inundated with messages from confused and angry customers flying to destinations across Europe for ski holidays this week. Many are asking to change their bookings so they can travel when there is more snow on the slopes

People ride cable car over ski slope without snow on Bjelasnica mountain near Sarajevo, Bosnia

People ride cable car over ski slope without snow on Bjelasnica mountain near Sarajevo, Bosnia

Resorts higher in the mountains don’t have as many problems with snow and routes have opened up, but they are under increasing pressure as guests from lower-lying resorts head out for day trips.

Significant snowfalls are expected in most resorts in France, Italy and Switzerland.

A spokesman for Crystal Ski, part of Tui, said: “We are aware that the ski resorts in Bulgaria are not experiencing the snow conditions that we would expect at this time of year.

“Both our on-site teams and our suppliers have been closely monitoring the situation over the past few weeks to ensure our customers are informed as soon as possible should the weather impact their journey.

“For customers traveling to Bulgarian resorts this weekend, the ski trips will go ahead as planned as the weather is set to improve in the coming days, with snow forecasts throughout the week and temperatures expected to fall which would allow the use of artificial snowmaking facilities .’

How much snow is expected to fall in the Alps in the next few days?

Some regions in the Alps are expected to receive over 50cm of snow from Sunday.

Alpine weather expert Fraser Wilkin of Weather To Ski said: “The much-anticipated storm will hit the Alps on Sunday and/or Monday, bringing snow in varying amounts to all regions.”

“Between 20 and 40cm of over 1800m is expected across a wide swath of the Alps by the end of Monday, with 50cm and more in places, the heaviest snow generally likely to fall at altitude in the northern French Alps.

“The snow from this storm is unlikely to be enough to restart the lower areas of the North West Alps that have lost most or all of the snow (e.g. Samoëns, Les Gets), but it’s a start. “

The temperature also plays a major role in determining whether the snow will stick – or whether the progress will be quickly washed away by the rain.

The Saint Gervais ski resort in the Northern Alps, France, has had to close some of its ski slopes due to the mild weather

The Saint Gervais ski resort in the Northern Alps, France, has had to close some of its ski slopes due to the mild weather

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11606499/Ski-firm-refuses-refund-skiers-lack-snow-Alps-Hopeful-fall-week.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Ski company refuses to reimburse skiers for lack of snow in the Alps: ‘Hopefully’ it will fall by next week

Emma Colton

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