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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 12:20 GMT
Swiss resorts tackle snow decline
By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Berne

Wengen ski resort, Switzerland
Lower lying resorts like Wengen must diversify, the report says
Some of Switzerland's most famous ski resorts have compiled a report on how to cope with climate change.

Snow in the Alpine region has been scarce this winter - one of the warmest since records began.

The resorts, including Gstaadt and Murren, are the first in the Alps to begin planning for a future experts say will contain much less snow.

The report, published on Monday, tells lower lying resorts to diversify or go to the wall.

Note of optimism

Many ski slopes have been closed amid scarce snow but even before this season those who make their living from winter sports were looking nervously at the future.

The Alps are especially sensitive to climate change. Every rise in global temperature means a rise in the snow line too.

Popular Swiss destinations like Gstaadt and Wengen just will not have enough snow in the future to live off skiing.

Therefore Alpine resorts must do something different to try to attract tourists all year around.

The report does offer a note of optimism.

In the wake of Europe's heat wave in 2003, the Alps saw an increase in visitors as tourists decided a beach in Greece or Spain would be simply too hot.

So, as the planet heats up, Alpine resorts are hoping to offer cool mountain air to summer tourists.


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