Skiers rush to slopes in Scotland with snowfall predicted for January as warm spell leaves resorts in Europe snowless

4 January 2023, 11:45

Parts of Scotland have seen 8cm of snow in recent weeks
Parts of Scotland have seen 8cm of snow in recent weeks. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Flurries of skiers have been rushing to the Scottish Highlands as Europe's most famous resorts have been forced to close due to a lack of snow.

It follows a month of unseasonably warm temperatures in Europe, with half of all French ski resorts shut due to a lack of snow. Disappointed holidaymakers have uploaded images depicting green rolling hills rather than crisp white pistes.

In stark contrast, skiers in Scotland have been enjoying snow-lathered slopes at the Lecht Ski Centre at Strathdon in the Cairngorms, Scottish Highlands, following a cold snap over Christmas.

The Met Office said 8cm of snowfall was recorded in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, on Sunday, which is likely to have been even higher in the mountains.

Nigel Hake, operations manager at the Lecht Ski Centre, said locals and holidays have been flocking to the resort, while Nevis Range has seen more than 2,500 visitors to its sledging area over the festive period.

Temperatures in Switzerland hit a record 20C on New Year's Day - the highest ever recorded temperature north of the Alps in January.

Snow Grips Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Snow Grips Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. Picture: Getty

Read More: Alpine resorts shut across Europe as soaring temperatures leave holidaymakers with snow-less pistes

Read More: Fresh food prices soar as Christmas grocery spending hits new high

No new snowfall and soaring temperatures of between 10 and 20 degrees have seen ski slopes across France hold crisis talks, as the winter heatwave continues to sweep Europe.

At least seven countries have now seen their warmest January since weather records first began, including Denmark, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.

One Swiss resort, Adelboden, located in Switzerland, saw the mercury soar to record temperatures, even remaining above freezing at 6,500ft. At one point the thermostat even reached as high as 15 degrees (59F).

Le Semnoz ski resort, near Annecy, as the resort had to close temporarily due to the lack of snow
Le Semnoz ski resort, near Annecy, as the resort had to close temporarily due to the lack of snow. Picture: Getty

Switzerland and France are believed to be among the worst affected regions, with grassy terrain visible across popular holiday spots including Innsbruck in Austria, Villars-sur-Ollon and and Germany's Lenggries.

The Swiss resort of Splugen-Tambo is but the latest victim of the current heatwave, yesterday recording the warmest New Years Day on record.

Concerns have also been raised due to unsafe skiing conditions, with doctors reporting the same number of admissions due to skiing falls as they would normally receive at the height of Easter.

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