Grande Motte closes to summer skiers

30th July 2019, by Abi Butcher

The heat-affected Grande Motte glacier in Tignes on the day it closed, 25 July

The heat-affected Grande Motte glacier in Tignes on the day it closed, 25 July

The Grande Motte glacier in Tignes was closed to skiers last Thursday, more than two weeks before summer skiing was due to finish, thanks to the heatwave that has engulfed Europe over the past few weeks.

“The Grande Motte glacier was not spared by the heatwave that has hit France since the beginning of summer,” said the resort by the resort. “Unfortunately, safety and quality conditions are no longer met on the ski runs.”

The glacier when it opened on 22 June: a stark contrast from 25 July (top)

Like much of the rest of Europe, France was hit by gruelling heat last week — with Paris recording temperatures of nearly 43C (42.6C), the highest in the city’s history.  The weather was not much cooler in the Alps, where the Grande Motte closed on Thursday 25 July, instead of Sunday 4 August as was initially timetabled. It will, however, remain open to pedestrians until Friday 30 August — particularly those keen to enjoy the roof-top cable car ride to the summit.

A Tignes spokesman said the early closure also allows the resort to protect the glacier for professional teams who are due to start their training in Tignes on 28 September.

A distressing image of the Grand Motte glacier in Tignes last week

And in Norway, two of the glacier areas that normally open in August have also shut. Folgefonn summer ski centre and the Galdhopiggen Glacier were to remain open until early September but also announced their immediate closure last week thanks to high temperatures and melting snow.

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