SCIENCE & TECH

’Sno substitute: The ecological cost of fake flakes on the piste

ski tips

It’s downhill all the way

Philip and Karen Smith/TFA/Aurora Photos

FORGET Christmas; I’m dreaming of a white February. Seven days of natural snowfall, that’s all I’m asking for while I’m on holiday. Call me a snob if you like, but artificial snow just doesn’t cut it on the slopes. It feels like tiny glass beads under my skis, it’s heavy, and it doesn’t move or pack or stick like the real stuff does.

But we have to be realistic. Reliably snowy Alpine winters are a thing of the past. Our greenhouse gas emissions, including those piling up from flights to Geneva or Boulder, have made sure of that. With global temperatures 1.1°C above where they were on average at the end of the 19th century and still on the rise, the smart money is on learning to love fake snow or else trading in those ski boots for a pair

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New Scientist – Earth

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