A snow gun blows snow at the closed Valdesqui ski station in Navacerrada, to the north of Madrid in central Spain [AFP]

This year’s ski season in Spain has been notable for its lack of snow. We are expecting some snow over the Iberian Peninsula during the next few days, but ironically very little of that will fall across the Pyrenees.

Many ski resorts have simply had to close or just operate on a limited number of their pistes. The reason being that it has been both unusually dry and mild across much of western Europe for a good part of the winter so far.

Spain has 32 ski resorts and according to the Spanish Tourist Association of Ski and Mountain Resorts, none had all of their trails open on Friday. In fact, eight of the county’s resorts were closed for skiing altogether and none had all of their trails open.

Those that are open have been relying on man-made snow to draw in the skiers. The cost of this has been severe because it is a very expensive process to undertake. On top of that, it follows that the resorts have had to cut back on hiring.

Rental shops, hotels and restaurants have all been badly hit. For some, the answer has been to get on their bike and diversify. There has been an increase in the promotion of non-ski activities such as mountain biking, hiking or even the opening of spas.

Spain has just had its driest December in 23 years according to the national weather office with around 30% of the average precipitation being recorded. With half the season gone, and the best half at that, because of the Christmas holidays, it is now hoped that we can look forward to some useful snow over the next few days.

Snow is expected to fall all the way from the Cantabrian Range in the northwest, right through the Spanish Plain, brushing the outskirts of Madrid, and all the way down to the Sierra Nevada in the southeast.
 
Some parts could see as much as 30 cm of snow over the next few days which will be very welcome. The end of the week does look dry but cold, so we are not expecting any rapid thaw of that much needed snowfall.

Source: Al Jazeera