In Pictures

In pictures: Keeping the ski slopes open

Skiers at Saint Sorlin D'Arves, France Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption Across the Alps many resorts use artificial snow to ensure holiday makers can continue to ski, whatever the level of natural snow.
The snow generated by a snow cannon Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption At the French resort of Saint Sorlin d'Arves, more than 200 snow cannons are operating at an altitude of 1,600m (5,250ft) to combat the lack of snowfall.
Rainbow in the snow from a snow cannon. The company managing the ski tracks of this ski resort has invested heavily in an irrigation system to feed the snow cannons, which allow skiing when snow coverage is low. Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption Snow cannons require a lot of water to be pumped through the complex system of pipes that run beside the tracks. Here a rainbow forms in the snow pumped by a cannon.
A new track is being shovelled together with snow generated by snow cannons Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption In some areas snow is shovelled to form a ski run.
A snow-levelling machine, pulled by a winch anchored on another machine, pushes up heaps of snow generated by snow cannons Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption Early in the morning, teams are out on the slopes guiding the snow into place.
A member of the ski tracks maintenance team attaches the cable of his levelling tractor to the winch of another machine Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption These maintenance teams use specially equipped tractors to level the snow.
View from the cabin Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption The levellers are guided by GPS-based maps displayed in the comfortable, heated cabins.
A member of the ski tracks maintenance team Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption On the back of the machine there is a milling wheel to soften the snow while a sort of carpet smooths the surface.
Skiers head to the slopes in a free shuttle bus Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption Once the day begins skiers head to the slopes in a free shuttle bus.
Skiers stand in line, waiting to have access to a mechanical ski lift Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption The majority of skiers stand in line waiting for the ski lift.
A cross country skier climbs a mountain. Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption But some make their own way up the mountain.
Skiers enjoy the sunshine during a lunch break at Saint Sorlin D'Arves, France Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption At high altitude some have a chance to enjoy the sunshine during a lunch break.
A skier with a decorated helmet heads for the tracks Image copyright John Vink / Magnum Photos
Image caption With the local economy relying on the slopes to provide income for several months each year it seems the snow cannons are here to stay, despite protests from some environmental groups.

All photographs © John Vink / Magnum Photos.

Related Topics