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How Climate Change Drives Ski Travel To A (Very High) Austrian Glacier

Americans caught in the onslaught of freezing winter storms in December 2022 will have a hard time believing it, but Europe has had a warm winter so far. Located Prague is enjoying New Year’s Eve at 51 degrees at the time of this writing. Indeed, Britain experienced a freeze in her early December, as did Central Europe, but spring-like rains drenched her Christmas hopes into white water, literally overnight, as crocodiles began to appear. melted.

But in European travel parlance, this lukewarm spray has left rivers dangerously flooded and some of the best-loved alpine ski areas have lost their special money-making winter commodity: snow. It’s not that Chamonix and St. Moritz don’t have snow — they do — but now St. Moritz is suffering from a ‘heat wave’. Same next week, at the top of the mountain there are suddenly just 20″ bases of the rarest ski goods, and at the foot of the mountain are his 12″ bases bare.


In short, these numbers usher in an end-of-the-year spring skiing and/or accompanying avalanche season, not a party-filled mid-winter ski trip.

So now Europe is skiing like it’s April. For those who truly love skiing, this writer included, the extremes and endurance of patchwork weather have brought some new ways of thinking and some new, albeit entirely temporary, remedies. It is important to underscore that what follows is not a permanent solution, but a hasty patchwork response to the bigger problem climate change poses to Europe’s best winter resorts and their tourism industry in general. That’s it.

Notice the photo above skiing in Tyrol, Austria. Specifically, as the bird flies about 30 miles from the city of Innsbruck, it stands on the Hintertux glacier in Zillertal, a tributary valley to the Inn River valley. When skiing became very difficult late last month, the weather made the extended winter holiday period very difficult for travelers who had already booked their annual pilgrimage to ski the French, German and Italian Alps. The only thing they could do was rebook somewhere with reliable snow regardless of the weather. It meant that

Given the Alps’ phenomenal reputation, it may be hard to believe, but Zermatt, Switzerland, is one of only two high-alpine resorts where you can ski. Zermatt is well known because it is considered one of the ‘great’ places to ski and party by skiers and non-skiers alike. The second resort is the Hintertux Glacier in Tyrol, Austria. This is an open secret among European ski enthusiasts, not known to Americans.


Conclusion: now? Hintertux — The glacier itself reveals a 1-meter (39-inch) bottom, has 17 open lifts, and 36 miles of trails. The larger Ziller Valley has 57 lifts leading to 98 miles of trails. At the top of the glacier, you’ll begin your run at over 10,000 feet. That’s high skiing.

Yes, Hintertux may be recognized as a rung or two below Zermatt or St. Moritz on the Fabulous scale, but it’s no exception to all of the Zillertal classifications, including the route to the summit of the great glacier itself. Miles of great open slopes help you get over the fact that the rock’n’roll little nightclubs you remember in Chamonix last year aren’t really Tyrolean. skiing. And in really high altitude skiing, Hutte — “Hut” and/or “Alms” — is your support system. They are homely, comfortable and very friendly. In other words, if you’re expecting elaborate service at Badrutt’s Palace in St. Moritz, Hintertux, Hutteit would be better to wait for St. Moritz to rebuild part of the base.

That’s why the skier pictured above is in a photo taken five weeks ago. They’re what’s called climate change refugees on vacation, just like the thousands of Europeans who changed their vacation plans and he packed his bags in Hintertux. I just want seasonal, high degree of safety.