Tuesday February 11, 2020, on the Bonascre plateau, at the Ax-3-Domaines station, in Ariège. - T. Stival / 20 Minutes

  • Several stations in the Pyrenees are facing a lack of snow this winter.
  • Some of them are now working to diversify their activities to be in "four season" mode.

Ski enthusiasts should avoid pebbles sticking out on certain pistes in the Pyrenees resorts. In this first week of winter vacation, some areas could not open due to the lack of snow and the others are running their artificial snow cannons.

Global warming is not sparing the massif this year and is forcing winter sports resorts to rethink their model, long based exclusively on the practice of skiing. Now, they have to think in "four season" mode and offer increasingly diverse activities.

☑️EUS Elur azalera Piriniotan azkenengo urtetan zehar otsailan☑️CAT Coberta de neu al Pirineu during els últims anys al febrer☑️ESP Cubierta de nieve en Pirineos durante los últimos años en febrero☑️FR Snow cover in the Pyrenees in recent years in February pic.twitter.com/0sShYf7cSM

- arRISKeus (@arriskeus) February 10, 2020

In the Haute-Garonne, at the Mourtis station, the chairlift now transports hikers rather than skiers. Other activities are offered to holidaymakers to liven up their stay, whether it is stretching or even an initiation to the search for avalanche victims.

The Haute-Garonne departmental council, which took over the management of three stations two years ago, announced 25 million euros of investment over the next five years to ensure this tourist reconversion.

Because climatologists do not hide it. Over the next few years, the snow-rain limit will continue to rise and mid-mountain resorts will have more and more difficulty in terms of snow cover.

"We see today, the snow will become scarce at low altitude, It is obvious that our stations must be reformed," says the president of the department, Georges Méric.

Fuction. I mentioned on @RTLFrance the “4 seasons” strategy of #HauteGaronne stations. I explained how, given the lack of snow, we are diversifying our activities (mountain biking, gliding, hydrotherapy…) while investing 25m euros to adapt our stations. @TourismeHG https://t.co/qexB39pJ9L

- Georges Méric (@GeorgesMeric) February 7, 2020

"We must start to prepare and be very reactive to these climatic hazards that can recur," explains Christophe Esparseil, the station's operations manager. "We started to work on so-called" four season "projects, in order to be able to welcome customers around outdoor sports in the event of a less snowy season", he specifies.

Economic impact

"Snow or no snow, customers are now waiting for activities other than skiing", also notes Laurent Garcia, the director of the Peyragudes station, straddling the Hautes-Pyrénées and Haute-Garonne. Even if the financial balance is not yet found with these new activities. "The ski replacement in terms of business volume, we are still looking for it", explains Eric Charré, the director of Puymorens, in the Pyrénées-Orientales.

"For the moment, skiing represents 80% of the turnover for the year," confirms Michel Pelieu, president of N'Py, which brings together eight resorts in the massif. "But gradually, the" four seasons "offer is increasing because it is true, that today, we have people throughout the year".


Pyrenees: To anticipate the consequences of global warming, the region will invest in resorts


Pyrenees: Record snow shortage and fatally fewer skiers

  • Ski station
  • Pyrenees
  • Planet
  • Global warming
  • Mountain
  • Ski
  • Snow