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‘Ski season is over’: Snowless winter forces Austria’s resorts to turn to summer sports in March

‘Ski season is over’: Snowless winter forces Austria’s resorts to turn to summer sports in March

Record temperatures have once again caused problems for Europe's ski resorts this winter.

With numerous countries seeing their warmest winter on record, slopes have been closed and some resorts forced to shut entirely. An exceptionally mild winter has left many almost entirely without snow.

An EU project is now investigating how lift operators can best respond to climate change.

From skiing to summer sports in March

One solution to the snow problem is summer sports.

In Sankt Corona am Wechsel in Austria, diggers are already removing the remaining snow from ski slopes to make way for summer sports enthusiasts.

"The ski season is over earlier than expected. That's why our trail construction team is already on the slopes shovelling out the trails so that we can start mountain biking," says Karl Morgenbesser, the lift operator at Sankt Corona am Wechsel.

Due to insufficient snowfall, mountain bikers are using the ski slopes as early as March at the resort. Other activities include summer tobogganing and hiking.

Helping ski resorts adapt to climate change

The TranStat project - co-founded by the EU - connects nine resorts from Austria, Slovenia, Italy, France and Switzerland. It is testing various different solutions to help famous ski spots adapt to climate change.

As the small ski resort in Austria now generates more money from summer sports than winter, it is hoped that others will follow suit.

Rising property prices due to tourists buying vacation homes are also an issue. In two years, TranStat will publish guidelines for liveable and climate-ready winter sports destinations.