Winter sports fans considering investing in Alpine property may have been put off by recent reports of a bad start to the 2014/15 winter season with a distinct lack of snow cover. Christmas weekend, however, put paid to any fears on that front when storms delivered serious quantities of the white stuff, especially over the northern and western Alps.
Despite enjoying an abundant “white Christmas” this year there are still many who may be uncertain about scare stories of climate change impacting negatively on property investments in the Alpine region.
John Coleman, co-founder of The Weather Channel, recently dismissed global warming as "not scientifically credible". In an open letter addressed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change he declared that the "little evidence" that exists for rising global temperatures merely indicates a "natural phenomenon" in the earth's developing ecosystem.
If you believe Coleman and other climate change sceptics, investing in a European mountain resort property right now, when future weather conditions seem questionable and prices therefore more attractive, will no doubt pay off in the long run.
It's a fact that our planet has revolved through differing climate cycles in the past. In the "Medieval Warm Period" grapes grew in northern England, and icy passes thawed in the Alps. Then followed the "little Ice Age" when even London's Thames froze over in the mid-17th Century.
Everyone is aware that “one swallow does not make a summer”, and therefore one season starting slowly snow-wise does not necessarily mean that winter sports in the Alps are history, despite the dire predictions of the prophets of doom.
Just before Christmas The Guardian newspaper, in the UK <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/dec/21/alps-ski-resorts-snow-shortage-holidays" target="blank">advised that skiers should “head high or stay home”, simply on the strength of the fact that snow had not yet fallen</a> in great quantities in the Alpine region. Then on 27 December snow storms hit the western edge of the Alps in the early hours, and quickly spread east, so that by dawn it was snowing in almost all the French resorts and most of Switzerland too. From one extreme to the other, the snow took the authorities by surprise and there were reports of strandings and traffic disruption, but it seems this year's ski season is saved for the foreseeable future.
It all goes to show that the weather is a fickle friend. While we all expect certain weather conditions at certain times of year in certain locations, this is not always totally predictable, as any meteorologist will tell you.
As one ski tour operator pointed out, the last time the Alps experienced an entire season with disappointing snow was 150 years ago. So what are the odds of it happening again? Whether or not you believe in global warming, it seems snow cover remains the luck of the draw, and as the current conditions in the Alps would indicate, if you're considering realising your dream of an Alpine chalet, it’s certainly a gamble worth taking.
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