Outrage as French ski resort drops snow by helicopter after pistes melt

Peter Stubley
A helicopter brings snow to the lower slopes of Louchon-Superbagneres in the French Pyrenees: AFP via Getty Images

A ski resort in France has used a helicopter to drop 60 tonnes of snow to prevent its slopes from closing.

The decision by officials at Luchon-Superbagnères has been criticised over the cost both to the council and the environment.

However the director of Haute-Garonne department claimed the €5,000 (£4,100) investment would be repaid many times over.

“We’re not going to cover the entire ski station in snow, but without it we would have had to close a huge part of the ski domain,” said Herve Pounau.

“It’s during the holidays that we have the most activity for beginners and the ski schools.”

The lack of snow at the resort had already cut down the number of open pistes from 28 to six.

High temperatures of around 10C also made it impossible to use snow cannons to cover the lower slopes.

The solution chosen was two helicopter flights on Saturday and Sunday to move snow down from the higher parts of the mountain.

“This operation should make it possible to guarantee 15 days of activity for the ski schools,” said Mr Pounau.

However Patrick Jimena, an ecologist and former councillor, said he was “furious” and described the decision as “crazy”.

He wrote on his Facebook page: “No justification can be possible for this nonsense. ​At the time of global warming, some people empty their boat with a spoon as a tsunami approaches!


“Elected officials of the Haute-Garonne departmental council should think twice before funding such actions.”

Environmental campaigner Bastien Ho described the snow deliveries as “a short-term aberration which fights against global warming by contributing to it”.

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