>Today I laced up my hiking books and took the cable car up the Patscherkofel, one of Innsbruck’s Hausberge and easily accesible from town. First stop was at the lower station in the village of Igls, where I got a glimpse of the bunny slope. Obviously they had to make a pile of snow as there was none around elsewhere. I wondered what I’d find at 2200 meters. Well, there’s snow, but not enough without help from the snow cannons, as you can see in the photograph. We’ve had two weeks of warm, sunny, dry weather, and I imagine the Austrian ski industry is really feeling it.
The photos below are of the upper Inn Valley and of the mountains west of Innsbruck. In the center of the picture you can make out two white squiggly lines (one closer, one further away); these are ski slopes, maintained with “artificial” snow in order to stay in business.
Here’s a closer look.
From an excellent, wonky weather site called http://www.snow-forecast.com:
(A)ll the way back in September we wrote that although we expected the 07/08 Alpine season to be a vast improvement on the 06/07 one, the expected weather pattern favored an early Spring in Europe. That weather pattern has not changed and although it seems very pessimistic to suggest that Winter in the Alps has all but ended while we are still in February, we are already anxious that high pressure will dominate the weather for several weeks. Hopefully not. When I wrote that spring may come early to central Europe I had mid March in mind, not mid February!
I am not qualified to deem this warm spell to be an omen of things to come. Maybe it is. Maybe we’ll get a 3 feet of snow in March, like Munich did in 2006. One thing is clear, though, and that is that the glaciers and the polar ice caps are melting, no matter how cold it’s been in your town.