Written by By Josh Ritter, CNN
Have you been brave enough to brave the winter weather this year, despite southern Europe’s unusually warm weather?
If you’ve been looking forward to the cool, crisp run of temperatures and dry winter conditions promised by the calendar, good news: the season has yet to start.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s looking much brighter in the near future.
Europe’s tourist industry has been hit by a plague of bad news in recent months, including the cancellation of 35 ski slopes in Austria due to a flooding problem. More than 200 businesses shut shop across the Grand Duchy during spring, as well.
In Italy, schools began the year later than they had in many years, forcing parents to wait for the first few days of September to start school. Much of Germany has seen less snow than normal, with many Alpine resorts reporting skier traffic far below expected numbers.
The unusual lack of snow in the Alps has not been limited to weather. Passengers on a recent flight to Italy were forced to spend their nights in the terminal because the airport did not have enough toilets.
Traveling further north in Europe, hundreds of tourists in the UK still have not been able to fly back home from France’s Toulouse and Lyon airports, after the Côte d’Azur Airport was temporarily closed due to a power outage
If that’s not depressing enough, tour operators looking to sell ski season packages will have to contend with the fact that the skiing itself is not looking like it will even start up this year.
This week, several of France’s ski resorts were forced to close early, with the operator of Verbier saying that there was “exaggerated snow” in the ski area this season, and was likely to be worth less than last year.
In Italy, some are even blaming strong competition from the Russian resort of Maribor, where skiers can rent their own houses for an annual fee of $9,000.