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There's Life in the Old Glacier Yet
Wednesday, 21 April 2004





After last summer's catastrophic 'melt down of French glaciers, the worst for 50 years, Tignes, which operates one of the world's largest summer ski areas, is putting a positive spin on the current situation. The top French resort is stressing that despite the ongoing "down sizing" of its Grand Motte glacier, summer snow sports will be around for a long time to come.

"In 20 years the front of the glacier has become 30metres (100 feet) thinner, but the top, near the top of the cable car, has actually become 5 to 10 metres (15 to 30 feet) thicker due to precipitation." Says Christian Vincent, a glaciologist from the CNRS research centre in Grenoble.

In Tignes the resort prepares for summer glacier skiing all year, setting up 'snow traps' to capture winter snow for summer use. In 2005 a new system of temporary and removable snowmaking will also be available for use on the glacier in summer and autumn.

The message from Tignes is that there's no need to panic.

"Glaciers are a result of the climate. Some will disappear, some are doomed to ultimately disappear, but the larger ones will always be there," said an optimistic Mr Vincent.

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