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Dreaming of a White Christmas? Why next year’s colour is GREEN

Summer is over and sights are set for the coming winter ski season.  Let’s hope for better snow in Europe than we had last year.  To be fair, after a very poor start, snow fell later in the season and most resorts fared better than had been feared but even so 2006 will go down as a poor season in Europe though much better in the USA and Canada.  And if the forecasts are correct, the ‘El Nino’ effect will bring even better conditions across the Atlantic for 2007/8.  But what about Europe which still attracts the majority of British skiers?  There have been worse seasons in Europe than last year – the end of the 1980’s were notably bad but resorts across Europe are rightly worried that ‘climate change’ is a serious enough threat for them to look at measures to improve their ‘green credentials.’  Resorts at lower altitudes are right to be worried as a 2 degree C rise in temperature over the next century is enough to remove almost a third of ski stations across Europe.  The Ski Club of Great Britain has launched its Green Respect the Mountain campaign to raise awareness on what resorts need to do to protect the environment but also gives the general public information on which resorts are better than others.  If this gives resorts the added incentive to improve their practices and become more eco-friendly then so much the better.  Solar and biomass powered lifts are a new innovation and watch out for more car free areas in resorts.  Better recycling, less reliance on plastic, less use of chemicals in snow making and more widespread use of alternative energy supplies are further examples at the seriousness that some resorts have taken on this issue.   There is widespread agreement and greater awareness that a ‘do nothing’ policy is just not an option these days.

If this also improves the snow conditions, then so much the better!  For those contemplating a week or two on the slopes this winter then it is advisable that they buy a travel insurance policy that covers them for poor snow conditions.  Most travel insurance policies offer cover to compensate for lack of snow (or too much) with the offer extending to bussing to other higher resorts if their resort closes.  And whilst on the subject of travel insurance, do make sure that if you find there is little snow and you therefore want to try out the bungee jumping on offer, just check the small print allows you to do so!

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