I didn’t learn to ski till I was in my forties. I was the kid that hated sliding in the playground, and saw nothing to enjoy in sliding down a mountain. But my wife really wanted to ski, and after several years of holidays that I did not really enjoy, I finally got the hang of it, and since then have loved skiing. We skied at least once a year until 2020, when we stayed in Morzine just as the pandemic was breaking. This week has been our first week on the slopes since then, as we came back to the great resort of La Plagne.
Last time we were here was five years ago. La Plagne is quite a high resort for the French Alps, with our hotel at 2100 metres, and the tops of the mountains over 3000 metres. At this time of year it should be guaranteed great snow, and back in 2018 the drifts were well over my own height.
This year has been quite different in the French alps, and just two weeks ago La Plagne was grassy hills and patches of ice. Fortunately last week it had the first big dump of snow, and so conditions have been good for us. But even then, by the end of the week the snow has been skied off on some of the steeper pistes.
When we started skiing, some of our favourite resorts were around 1500 metres, such as Soldeu in Andorra, and Courchevel 1550 in France. These days, even with artificial snow blowers, these are no longer great ski resorts. I feel that our days of skiing in the alps may be over.
I expect that for some readers of this blog, you may be considering me pretty privileged. If the worst that the global climate emergency brings is a change to my vacation plans, then lucky me. But it is still a reminder- a reminder that global warming is real, is happening and will change all our lives. Because it is progressive, climate change does not make the news every day, but it is probably the most important story in my life, and probably yours. I make no excuse for having flown here, and for keeping my gas central heating on when we get home at the weekend. But I have learnt to love skiing, and maybe this will be the last year with sufficient snow to make it work.
Has your life changed due to the climate emergency? Will things ever return to “normal”?