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Sun, snow and skiing

Posted on Wednesday, 7 December 2011
The start of the ski season in France usually kicks off at the end of November. This year, however, with balmy sunshine and unusually high temperatures the ski slopes are looking a little more like hiking grounds than ski stations. Even at high altitudes the snow is slow to fall naturally, so many of the larger resorts take matters into their own hands with snow canons carpeting the slopes ready for eager skiers.

All the ski stations should have been open by this weekend but many have had to delay opening by a further week as Pierre Vray, meterologist at Meteo France Grenoble, is not predicting things to improve immediately. " In terms of snow, " he says, " it is closer to a situation in early October."

Laurent Reynaud, managing director of ski areas in France, is not overly concerned yet, "We expect the snow, it's true. But the bulk of the stations open between 5 and 15 December." There's still time and many of the ski stations will be busy preparing for the coming season.

Christophe Chaix, doctor of géoclimatology, has a broader pessimistic view than most as he reports that the Northern Alps have lost a meter of snow since the 1960s due to global warming.

However, for this year, snow is still guaranteed and the ski stations will still open, perhaps a little later than expected but they all expect to be fully operational by Christmas, the busiest time on the ski calendar.

In the Southern Alps, the ski stations closest to Nice, remain largely closed with the exception of Isola 2000. So for those who just can't wait to get on the slopes then head for Isola where there are already 11 pistes open and 40cm snow on the highest peaks of the resort.

Getting to the ski slopes from Nice couldn't be easier with a regular ski bus departing from Nice train station and Nice airport. The bus is the number 750 and reservations are necessary on the Ligne D'Azur website or you can find out information on Isola 2000 website.

Riviera Rental Guide have a prime selection of holiday apartments and villas in or around Nice for easy Winter access to the slopes without giving up city nightlife.

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