A popular ski resort in central Italy is at a standstill this winter, and businesses and residents blame climate change for spring-like temperatures that have left entire mountains without snow.
The ski lifts are turned off and the snow cannons lie abandoned on the grass of Monte Terminillo, a favorite destination for skiers from Rome at 2,217 meters high in the Apennines.
This year, shops and bars are almost all closed, with no customers to rent equipment or buy a hot drink on the way to the slopes.
“A crucial detail for a ski facility is missing: snow,” said Vincenzo Regnini, president of the company that manages local transportation and ski lifts.
In addition to not snowing, the high temperatures have prevented the production of artificial snow using cannons, Regnini told Reuters.
“Turning water into snow requires a temperature close to zero degrees Celsius. Last week, we had 12 degrees Celsius,” he said.
Increasing temperatures are threatening the ski industry worldwide, but Italy, with its many relatively low-altitude resorts in the Apennines and the Alps, is particularly affected.
About 90% of Italy’s slopes depend on artificial snow, compared to 70% in Austria, 50% in Switzerland, and 39% in France, according to data from the Italian green lobby group Legambiente.
Italy will use the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo to showcase its most famous winter sports destinations, but with less and less snow, an increasing number of resorts are considering alternative sources of tourist revenue.
Around Terminillo, which normally offers over 9 kilometers of runs less than 100 kilometers from Rome, local residents fear that skiing and related businesses will become a thing of the past.
“We’ve never had a season like this, it’s tough,” said resident Domenico Cerza, while Lola De Sanctis, another local resident, decided to look on the bright side.
“It feels like we’re in June… so what can we do? We’ll enjoy the sun,” she said.