Lifts damaged in Pyrenees storm

1st March 2010, by Chris Gill

Haute Pyrenees

Haute Pyrenees

Several ski resorts in the Haute Pyrenees suffered damage as a result of a powerful storm last weekend.

Storm Xynthia raged through the mountains, a fierce and abrupt weather front, with gale force winds gusting in excess of 200km/hr. The storm crossed the mountains from the east coast and was so strong that it damaged ski lifts and snowmaking equipment in several resorts – notably in the Haute Pyrenees region.

Reports suggest there was between 20% and 80% damage to the worst affected areas, forcing tiny Hautacam (a family area just south of Lourdes) to close for the remainder of the season.

Elsewhere, more familiar resorts such as Superbagnères-Luchon, Peyragudes and Saint-Lary all suffered varying amounts of damage. Others, including Luz, Cauterets and the Tourmalet region are trying to repair lifts, where parts were derailed or blown down – some have since reopened.

The latest news is that most of these areas are still reporting 80-90% of their terrain open. So, skiing can continue. The storm didn’t dump huge snowfalls but settled snow depths are fairly good, with soft piste conditions at present.

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