In 2015, France saw its warmest December since 1900, according to Meteo France, a national weather service, and ski areas took a hit. With as much as 50 centimeters of snow falling in recent days, the Alps and other ranges are finally getting some respite.
The French and Swiss Alps received the highest amounts of snow. Off piste coverage, however, is still sparse and avalanche risk is high, according to the Telegraph.
The Alps remains a region in which weather is largely influenced by existing glaciers, which have been rapidly melting. Because of this unique feature in the region, Alpine temperatures increased to three times the global average in 2005.
Forty-two percent of Chamonix-Mont Blanc remained bare over the New Year's weekend.
This trend is well known. In 2007, a report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was released in which researchers concluded that, of the 666 ski resorts studied, only 404 will be able to survive on natural snow once temperatures rise 2 degrees Celsius above 2006-2007 levels. That rise may be seen as soon as 2050.
The report caused havoc in the business world. One possible solution for many resorts is the investment in and expansion of snow-making capabilities.
"Unfortunately, praying to St. Peter isn't enough. What is called for now is courageous action. I am in favor of investment in snow-making facilities," said Erwin Huber, Bavaria's former economic minister in the article Snow Cannons Against the Apocalypse in the German news outlet Der Spiegel.
The report has been largely taken into account in recent years. "What is happening is largely related to more reactive measures," said Shardul Agrawala, editor of the OECD report, according to the New York Times. "It is about how much you can squeeze with existing snow, or supplement with snow making, but there may be limits to both."
He added that there has been a huge increase in snow-making and increased development of the upper areas of ski resorts, where the temperatures often remain cooler than in the valleys below.