One of Europe’s cheapest ski holiday destinations is turning to mud

Visitors to Bosnia’s Mount Bjelasnica lugged skis through mud to reach ski-lifts this week as spring-like weather following the planet’s hottest January spoilt their usual winter activity.

“I was caught by surprise when I saw this mud, it’s different from the last year,” said Aida Dedic, a skier who had travelled to Bjelasnica from the Netherlands. “It’s probably because of these climate changes.”

Bjelasnica is known for being one of Europe’s cheapest ski destinations.

Other European ski destinations, such as Italy, have also seen entire mountains snowless and ski centres abandoned as rising temperatures threaten the skiing industry worldwide.

After a warm December, skiers on the mountains surrounding the Bosnian capital Sarajevo enjoyed a few weeks of colder weather and some snow. But in February came the melt.

“There is no snow, unfortunately,” said Denis from Croatia. “We have made reservations earlier but did not want to give up because the children were looking forward to this.”

Visitors walk on the remaining traces of snow mixed with mud during Bosnia’s unseasonably warm weather on Mount Bjelasnica

(REUTERS)

Sarajevo, which hosted the Winter Olympic Games in 1984, has been celebrating the 40th anniversary of the games this month. But the Women’s Ski Super G European Cup, which should have been held last week on the 2,067-metre Mount Bjelasnica, was canceled due to lack of snow.

Even as the cannons that pump the pistes with artificial snow lay idle on a recent sunny day, devoted skiers ploughed on through melting snow, surrounded by mud.

“We came here last year and the season was a hundred times better,” said Armin Dedic from the Netherlands. “It’s much warmer now … it’s much less snow but still we can ski, it’s just a different quality.”

Visitors ride the ski lift during unseasonably warm weather on Mount Bjelasnica

(REUTERS)

Last month a popular ski resort in central Italy remained empty, with businesses and residents blaming climate change for spring-like temperatures that have left entire mountains snowless.

Ski-lifts are switched off and snow cannon lie abandoned on the grass of Mount Terminillo, which soars 2,217 metres (7,274 feet) high in the Apennines and is normally a favourite destination of skiers from Rome.

This year the shops and bars are nearly all closed, with no one coming to rent equipment or buy a hot drink on the way to the slopes.

“A crucial detail is missing for a ski facility: snow,” complained Vincenzo Regnini, president of the company that runs the local transport and ski-lift facilities.

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