Mild weather has left many regions of Europe that would normally be blanketed in snow at this time of year bare, and winter sports resorts are fearing for the future.
Many are using snow machines to make artificial pistes or ‘snow runs’ leaving thin white lines snaking through otherwise green and brown landscapes.
In the Swiss village of Adelboden, organizers of Saturday’s ski World Cup race grappled with above-freezing temperatures to ensure athletes could compete in the popular event while spectators basked in the blazing sunshine.
Experts say this season’s lack of snow offers a glimpse of winters to come, as global temperatures keep rising due to human-caused climate change.
The impact is likely to be felt far beyond the regional tourist industry. Winter snow in European mountains such as the Alps is an important natural water store for parts of a continent that’s already suffering regular droughts the rest of the year.