“Ski bashing” French climate activists have set their sights on winter sports and sabotaged a pair of snow machines at a ski resort.
Police are investigating after the power cables of two snow cannons, used to make artificial snow, were cut at the Les Gets ski resort on Christmas night, causing €3,000 (£2,650) in damages.
Unseasonable mild weather has already closed half of France’s ski slopes. The resort, in the country’s south-east, had already been forced to cut back its operations after heavy rain washed out 48 of its 68 pistes.
One of the machines was also vandalised, with a message written in spray paint reading: “No skiing without snow.”
Benjamin Mugnier, marketing director of SaGets which manages the ski area, said: “They sabotaged our work tools.
“We’re doing all we can to best accommodate the many tourists during this period, which is also difficult because of the lack of snow. It saddens us to see something like this in the middle of the holidays,” he told broadcaster France3.
Though the hourglass logo of the global environmental group Extinction Rebellion had also been painted on one of the machines, the local chapter at Annecy denied any involvement.
Along with soaring energy bills and receding snow, this year, French ski operators are also contending with a public backlash against winter sports, named “ski bashing”.
Critics of the ski operators have called winter sports a non-essential, wasteful “pastime for the rich” for its high energy and water consumption.
An Ipsos report released earlier this year found that only 13 per cent of French people visit the mountains every year during winter, and more than half said they never visit the mountains during this season. Likewise, a third of French people have never gone skiing in their life.
“There is a real problem of ski bashing, of misunderstanding the economic model that sustains our territories,” Jean-Luc Boch, the president of the National Association of Mountain Resort Mayors, told French daily Le Figaro on Wednesday.
“It has become complicated, we have to deal with extreme movements.”
Mr Boch noted that ski resorts provide the economy with 400,000 direct or indirect jobs.
Ski resorts are the latest targets of climate activists.
This summer, members of the Toulouse chapter of Extinction Rebellion snuck into a local golf course and filled the holes with concrete.
The act was intended as a protest against the water ban exemption given to golf courses during a crippling nationwide drought in which 100 French villages experienced drinking water shortages and people were banned from watering their gardens.
The post Climate activists vandalise snow cannons in French resort in ‘no ski without snow’ campaign appeared first on The Telegraph.