A popular Italian ski resort is lying idle this winter after unusually warm temperatures left entire mountains without any snow. Ski-lifts are switched off and snow cannons lie abandoned on the grass of Mount Terminillo, which soars 7,274ft high in the Apennines and is normally a favourite destination of skiers from Rome. But this year the shops and bars are nearly all closed, with no-one coming to rent equipment or buy a hot drink on the way to the slopes.

“A crucial detail is missing for a ski facility: snow,” complained Vincenzo Regnini, president of the company that runs the local transport and ski-lift facilities.

Not only has it never snowed, but the high temperatures have even made it impossible to produce artificial snow using the cannons, Mr Regnini told Reuters.

“Transforming water into snow needs a temperature at least close to zero degrees. Last week we had 12 (Celsius),” he said.

Dwindling snowfall

Rising temperatures threaten the skiing industry worldwide but Italy, with its many relatively low-altitude resorts in the Apennines as well as the Alps, is particularly badly affected. Some 90 per cent of Italy’s pistes rely on artificial snow, compared with 70 per cent in Austria, 50 per cent in Switzerland and 39 per cent in France, according to data from Italian Green lobby Legambiente. Italy will use the Milano-Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Olympics in 2026 to showcase its most famous winter sports destinations, but with dwindling snowfall a growing number of resorts are considering alternative sources of tourist revenue. Around Terminillo, which normally offers more than five miles of slopes less than 62 miles from Rome, the locals are afraid that skiing and the business it brings will become a memory of the past.

“We’ve never had a season like this;  it’s tough,” said resident Domenico Cerza, while Lola De Sanctis, another local, decided to look on the bright side.

“It feels like June … so what can we do? Let’s enjoy the sun,” she said.