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Italian Resort Suspends Summer Skiing as Glacier Melts

Passo Stelvio is the latest summer ski resort to close as warm temperatures take their toll. Some question how many more years glacier skiing in Europe will be able to continue. The freezing level in Switzerland is currently over 5,000m – higher than any alpine peak. UPDATED

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The freezing level has been at almost 4,500m in the mountain area around Passo Stelvio.

That’s way above the highest summit and though the resort has tried to stay open it has now decided to close.

It calls the measure a “temporary suspension” and hopes to reopen for summer skiing once the temperatures drop and conditions allow.

In the Alps only Zermatt in Switzerland and Hintertux in Austria remain open to the public.

Saas-Fee in Switzerland is open but only for race teams.

Les2Alpes in France was forced to shut early as we reported.

Another French resort, Val d’Isere, didn’t even open its Pisaillas glacier area for summer skiing.

While neighbouring Tignes is also now unable to offer summer skiing as we reported earlier:

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

Tignes, France. Image © David Morgan

In Switzerland a weather balloon from Meteo Switzerland had to rise to 5,184m before it reached the freezing level.

The warm temperatures across Europe this summer have been particularly harmful to the glaciers as their melting accelerates.

In Italy the glacier on Marmolada in the Dolomites partially collapsed killing 11 people who were hiking.

Marmolada ice collapse. Image c/o Alpine rescue services.

Marmolada ice collapse. Image c/o Alpine rescue services.

Some of the climbing routes in the Chamonix Valley have been closed due to the danger of rockfalls.

“Due to this sustained heatwave, conditions in the high mountains at present are comparable to those normally encountered late August,” said a statement from the Chamonix tourist office.

“The notorious Couloir du Gouter on the classic climb of Mont Blanc is particularly perilous due to persistent rockfalls.

“Hence the recent decision taken by the major guiding structures in both Chamonix and Saint-Gervais to suspend all climbs on this particular itinerary for the moment.”

In terms of summer glacier skiing our advice at PlanetSKI remains the same from several years ago:

 

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