28/11/2011 06:40 GMT

Warm November Forces Snowless Ski Resorts To Postpone Opening

Unseasonably warm weather is proving expensive for ski resorts across Europe as mild temperatures have forced resorts to postpone their opening.

Late autumn sunshine has meant that in some areas even snow machines are failing to turn the landscape from green to white.

The Austrian ski industry is one of the worst hit, after their driest November since the 1920s.

Snow cannons in Tirol are operating incessantly and the mountain resort of Ischgl is spending thousands to make its own artifical snow.

Ischgl Slope manager Serafin Siegele told the BBC:

“We have about 1,000 snow cannons, we cannot run them all at the same time. 300-500 are operational but we try to do our best.”

Artificial snow in a snow-free landscape at the 1660 meters hight ski resort of Les Crosets, Western Switzerland.

Organisers at the World Cup slalom in Levi, Finland were forced to cancel last weekend’s events due to lack of snow. Depressing pictures of bald rocky slopes shrouded mist showed why the event has been postponed.

Parts of Scandinavia are still green and blooming despite being close to the Arctic Circle. Animals in Lapland that turn white for winter have changed colour before the snow even hit, contrasting strangely with the landscape,

Viljo Pesonen, mayor of Sodankyla in Finland told the Washington Post:

“It was really very weird — ghost-like white figures darting among the yellow leaves and lichen,

“They don’t go by the weather conditions, time determines when they turn white. It has also made the place much darker as there has been no snow to lighten the shortening days,” he said.

However it’s still early in the season and despite the situation looking grim for popular holiday locations such as Val D’Isere and Andorra, some forecasters believe that resorts have been spoilt by early snowfall in previous years.

Becky Horton, a UK spokesperson for Tirol Tourist board, told the Daily Mail:

"It could be better but we have to remember that it is still November and we have been lucky in previous years that the snow has come early – traditionally ski resorts open Christmas week so we still have time for plenty for snow.

"Tirol is home to five glacier ski regions – Stubai, Kaunertal, Soelden, Hintertux and Pitztal – all of which have been open for skiing since October."

The Met Office said that although heavy snowfall is unlikely in the next five to seven days, ‘it would be unheard of if it didn’t snow some more.’

Skiiers looking for a pre-Christmas break are advised to head for areas "high, in latitude or altitude, or go to North America".