US News Skiing and climate change: the French say they are worried about the survival of the resorts
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According to a recent survey, the French remain attached to skiing, both for the sensations it provides and for the pleasure of contemplating the sumptuous landscape of the snow-capped mountains. But respondents are also aware that the practice of this winter activity is threatened by climate change. For this reason, 63% of them support resorts that use artificial snow.
No ski lift on the slopes this year. The ax fell more than a month ago, but the restriction nonetheless remains a blow to the resort professionals and a heartache for the French, deprived of the pleasure of skiing. According to a recent Ipsos survey carried out for the Domaines Skiables de France union on a panel of 1000 French people, 80% say they have a positive image of this winter sport, whether they are seasoned skiers or not.
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The significant budget associated with this activity is mentioned by only 14% of people who do not wear skiing in their heart (nor on their feet). It must be said that skiing has several assets to seduce: thrills, breathtaking landscapes ... These two elements are also the most frequently mentioned by French ski enthusiasts questioned.
The charming picture of a winter holiday in the mountains shared between the pleasure of sliding down snowy slopes and warming up by the fireside in the conviviality of a chalet could one day disappear. And respondents are aware of this, since 94% believe that climate change threatens the stations, with visible consequences within 20 to 40 years.
Consequences which have in fact already been clearly visible for several years. The main one being less and less snow, including in the mountains. So much so that many resorts, in France and abroad, have used a method known as "artificial snow" and have been doing so for several decades.
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Cultivated snow: a problematic practice for the environment
Concretely, the principle consists in promoting the production of "white powder", thanks to a "snow cannon" which operates from a mixture of water and air. A method that seems legitimate in the eyes of 63% of French people questioned as part of the Ipsos survey, insofar as it makes it possible to "preserve the activities of the resorts, employment and life in the mountains and valleys".
However, artificial snow has significant impacts from an environmental point of view, in particular a high water consumption (approximately 1 m3 of water to obtain 2 m3 of snow). If artificial reservoirs are created for this purpose in the stations, part of the water used to create snow is drawn directly from the water table in the mountains, exposing the latter to possible shortages.
For the shaper Alexandre Hamelin, candidate for the municipal elections of La Clusaz in 2020, the solution lies elsewhere. "To continue to rush headlong without thinking about the impact of global warming on our mountains, it would be neglecting the future of our children. We must start thinking about projects, review our structures, monitor what is being done elsewhere and develop activities other than alpine skiing ", he explained last December, on the occasion of the release of the documentary" Avenir "by Laura Lardeux.
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