Snow machines and fleece blankets: inside the ski industry’s battle with climate change
Hundreds of ski resorts now stand abandoned across the Alps. But some scientists believe they have found a way to keep snow on the ground – and that it could help vulnerable communities all over the world. By Simon Parkin
When the French entrepreneur Jacques Mouflier visited the remote Alpine village of Val d’Isère in 1935, he saw the future before him. “A miracle is going to happen,” Mouflier told his young son, as he gestured towards the mountains encircling the village. “Ski champions from every country will come to compete where we’re standing right now.”
He was right. In 1948 Val d’Isère produced France’s first Olympic ski champion, and ever since, professional athletes have flocked to the village, which sits 1,850 metres above sea level, to train and compete. They are joined by tens of thousands of amateurs. Last year the resort sold 1.3m ski “days” to tourists, and more Britons visit Val d’Isère each year than any other ski resort in the world.