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Ski slopes bare as season approaches

Resorts in the Pyrenees are due open next week, but the slopes remain stubbornly green

SKI slopes in the Pyrenees remain green, even as the official opening of the ski season approaches on November 24.

The region is coming closer to the record lack of snowfall of 1995.

Newspaper Sud Ouest commented that, although some patches of snow can be seen, the slopes “have almost a summer air” to them.

The head of the meteorology station at Tarbes, which overseas the Pyrenees, Patrick Bornuat told the newspaper: “Snowfall has been very bad for the season.”

He said the only real snow started from 2,500m, while south facing slopes were also clear.

“Normally at this time of year the snow is about 50cm deep at Ardiden. Now there's nothing. We've seen this before in 2006 and 2007,” he said.

In those years snow finally fell from December 6-12 bringing around 50cm and making skiing possible. “But that does not mean 2012 will be the same,” he added.

Weather in the region has not synchronised in favour of skiers. Cold weather which struck at the end of October was not accompanied by rain, and the rain which arrived ten days earlier, stayed as rain as it met a front of warm air coming from the south.

The resorts have their fingers crossed that a cold, wet front could bring almost a 40cm layer of snow to the mountains in the next 48 hours.

Photo: Station de ski de Gourette en été © Yvann K -

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