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Europe has been so warm this fall that the bears haven’t been able to start hibernating.

But, so what about the bears; what about the slopes?

Ski clubs and military outdoor recreation centers have had to cancel, postpone and relocate trips to European ski resorts because there isn’t enough snow to go around.

“Everybody’s pretty astonished as to why it’s so warm,” said John Mears a recreational aid at the outdoor recreation in Darmstadt, Germany. “Last year we had snow on Thanksgiving day.”

According to The Associated Press, Germany is experiencing its warmest autumn in 500 years. Its average temperature from September to November this year was 54 degrees Fahrenheit — about 5.75 degrees higher than the median temperature from 1961 to 1990.

And, according to temperature data, the Alps are in the midst of the warmest fall in 1,300 years, the AP reported.

“Bottom line is that we did postpone a trip earlier this year to Sölden by two weeks in order to hope for better snow conditions,” said Al Rasper, who is in charge of planning ski outings for the Heidelberg International Ski Club in Heidelberg, Germany.

This weekend, the club is scheduled to go to Lech, Austria, but Lech doesn’t have any snow. Club members adjusted their plans, and will take a bus from there to Ischgl — about 45 minutes away — to find the white stuff.

At the end of October, the club took a trip to Kaprun, Austria, but that turned out to be a bust. “The skiing was so poor, they ended up hiking,” Rasper said.

Baumholder’s outdoor recreation office has had two trips to Kaprun since the season opened because it’s one of a handful of central European resorts with snow.

“We don’t have a choice but to go there,” said Werner Graf, outdoor recreation director in Baumholder, Germany.

A trip to Interlaken, Switzerland, that was supposed to leave Friday night has also been rerouted to Kaprun, because the Swiss slopes they planned to hit have just 2 inches of snow, said Graf.

“This has been going on for the past few years, to tell you the truth,” he said. About 15 years ago he could plan a trip to the Black Forest at the beginning of the ski season, but that’s no longer the case.

“Everything’s shifted back, but I think this year is worse than last year.”

Graf’s not giving up hope for a turnaround in the weather, though, and said given enough time it will change.

Even if it doesn’t, “We’ll find the snow,” he said.


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