A mountain resort in France has been forced to helicopter in snow in order to keep its ski hills open after unusually warm temperatures led to a shortage of snow this winter.
The Superbagnères resort, located in the Pyrenees mountains near the country’s border with Spain, had the snow delivered so that it could be operational during the upcoming school holidays, CNN reported this week.
A resort in the French Alps reportedly did the same, The Local France reported, with one of the snow deliveries taking three hours and 400 litres of fuel to complete.
While average temperatures in the region in February are around 43 degrees Fahrenheit, this winter has seen temperatures rise over 50 degrees, according to CNN, which is too warm to create artificial snow with machines.
France’s environmental minister Elisabeth Borne criticized the move to bring in snow, however, saying that it was only adding to the climate change that had caused the issue in the first place.
“Snowing ski resorts by helicopter is not possible,” Borne said on Sunday, The Local France reported. “We can not have stations that are victims of climate change, that have no more snow and, at the same time, contribute to aggravating climate change.”
Borne was to hold a crisis meeting with ski resort managers to discuss the problem in Paris on Thursday, the outlet said.
Yet Hervé Pouanu, who is the director of the council in the southwest of France that decided to bring in snow for the Superbagnères, defended the decision.
“We’re not going to cover the whole resort in snow,” Pouanu said, according to Travel and Leisure. “Otherwise, we would have to close a large part of the area…as our beginner slopes and ski schools are at their busiest during the holidays.”
Pouanu added that bringing in the snow kept dozens of employees working throughout the resort’s busiest season.