Why no snow is the best thing that ever happened to a ski resort
But then the snow, well it never really came back. It’s shown its face, from time to time, for a second or two. But it had no follow through, like the snow version of he’s just not that into you. The snow had found somewhere else it wanted to be. So it may come as a shock to you, as I write this from the snow-sparse French Alps, that I think no snow is the best thing that’s ever happened, certainly to the likes of Morzine-Avoriaz and Les Gets.
Lets put no snow in perspective.
Firstly, no snow is a misleading term. No snow in a ski resort generally means it’s not physically snowing, every day; or that the weekly road-closing mega-dump hasn't arrived. The reality is that even with no snow, there is still snow, pistes are open and everyone is still skiing.
No snow has been educational.
Did you know, for example, about the fleet of nocturnal snow machines, that head off across the mountains while we all sleep; finding snow, digging it up, bringing it back, like faithful Labradors, creating lovely pistes for us to enjoy? Or how mind-bogglingly impressive our snowmaking capabilities were? And extensive, creating snow all over the god damn place every time temperatures go sub zero. In fact, every night, as I enjoy starry skies above, the mountain is a veritable snow factory of activity - creating snow, redistributing it, then grooming it to within an inch of its life. Their nightly antics make Santa look like a lazy old fart with a poor work ethic and questionable commitment to our happiness and joy.
No snow ensured the end of mistakes
I’m just going to put it out there, strategic mistakes were made pre-season, by one particular ski area, Pleney, if we are going to name names. I know this because Morzine-Les Gets locals have been vocal in their dissent. Back in October when the first snow arrived Pleney was the only ski station not to switch on snow canons. Other ski areas made snow while conditions were ripe but Pleney did nothing, at all. There was an assumption that they knew what they were doing; that more snow was on its way. Perhaps they'd made a praiseworthy ethical decision to conserve water while other ski stations were being environmentally reckless? In reality the other ski resorts were just being organised, forward thinking, ensuring they were physically capable of opening when their paying tourists arrived. Pleney wasn't thinking at all. Similar miscalculations were probably made across many European resorts. How could they not be when 'weather prediction' is part of the business model? But it’s unlikely such laissez faire pre-season attitudes will happen again. Good news for early season skiers. Our snow future is looking bright!
No snow forced ski resorts to get creative
Ski resorts cannot always be described as innovators. Rarely do they look outside their ski box. They have a snow season. They have a summer season. no crossover allowed. Ski resorts open and close on set dates, year after year, groundhog day, no flexibility allowed. So a no show of snow created a ‘cannot compute’ reaction in resort which has been the best thing since sliced ice.