Ski resorts are not resting on their seasonal laurels. In resort villages across the Alps, there is increasing interest in how to develop a carbon neutral tourist industry that places far less emphasis on plane and car travel.

With a shorter skiing season, some resorts are looking to promote alternatives such as winter walking holidays while others warn that skiing and snowboarding will become increasingly the preserve of the rich and privileged as resorts are forced to invest in more artificial snow production and snow-preservation methods.

Winter activities are crucial to Europe’s mountainous countries and the Alpine Convention (which entered into force in 1995) was an attempt by signatories including Austria, France, Germany, and tiny Monaco to co-ordinate approaches to resources, transport, and tourism.

But record-breaking temperatures and glacial retreat does create tensions, as water shortages affect capacity to generate hydroelectric power and disrupts water supply for downstream users across the region. Retreating snow and ice could in the future become the object of discord as Alpine neighbours come to terms with the idea that there is no longer a bountiful seasonal cycle of fresh and frozen water.

By Justin

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