French ski resorts delay opening due to lack of snow

People ski down a slope at the Val Thorens ski resort in the French Alps on Nov 22, 2014, during the ski station's opening weekend. Skiers and snowboarders beware: several resorts in the French Alps, Pyrenees and Jura said Tuesday they would open at
People ski down a slope at the Val Thorens ski resort in the French Alps on Nov 22, 2014, during the ski station's opening weekend. Skiers and snowboarders beware: several resorts in the French Alps, Pyrenees and Jura said Tuesday they would open at least a week later than planned due to a worrying lack of snow. -- PHOTO:  AFP 

GRENOBLE, France (AFP) - Skiers and snowboarders beware: several resorts in the French Alps, Pyrenees and Jura said Tuesday they would open at least a week later than planned due to a worrying lack of snow.

In the Alps, early snow that fell in November has since melted as temperatures rose.

The popular upmarket resort of Courchevel, for one, had planned to open on Dec 6 but is now pushing that back to Dec 13.

"The snow has melted quite a bit with the thaw and it's not cold enough to make artificial snow," a ski lift worker told AFP.

The nearby resort of Meribel also said it would throw open its slopes on Dec 13 "provided there is snow", while Montgenevre further south had planned to rev up its chairlifts starting late last month but has postponed indefinitely, as have others in the region.

"We opened on the weekend of Nov 22. Then the rain and thaw damaged the snow at the bottom of the slopes," said a spokeswoman for Montgenevre, near Italy.

According to the national weather service, there is very little snow below 2,000m for this time of year - and in some cases none at all - but snowfall is forecast for the end of the week.

In the southwestern Pyrenees mountain range, resorts are also considering postponing their official openings due to a lack of snow, according to Jean Canal, head of the local tourist office.

And in the eastern Jura range, the Metabief resort has also decided to open later for the same reasons.