Climate change and technology reshape the ski slopes

It’s ski season – but hitting the icy slopes of Europe and the US sure ain’t what it used to be!

The days of skimming the low-lying valleys of Italy, France, Austria, Canada and the US are numbered. Climate change is dramatically decreasing snow cover, shutting down the lowest resorts, with many more yet to close their doors.

The ski trail has gone high into the mountains – for those who can still afford it, and can handle the higher, steeper pistes – and it’s become seriously high-tech.

Gone are the days of fighting through sweaty queues to try on dozens of pairs of ski boots to find the ones that almost fit!

Skiers have their feet pre-scanned at any one of dozens of 24-hour convenience stores back home. Resorts use digital 3D printers to pre-prepare tailor-made disposable hardfoam linings that fit perfectly.

All skiers now wear electronic comm-suits that constantly download up-to-the-second data on snow conditions, lift queues and restaurant availability onto easy-to-read plastic soft-displays on the skiers’ forearms.

Should a skier suffer an accident, details of location and condition are instantly flashed to ski patrols. Nanofibres in the comm-suits even generate their own power to keep the channels open – and to heat the suits to keep skiers warm!

“It costs a small fortune to hit the slopes these days,” says avid piste-master Anton Musgrave from the top of Mont Blanc. “But it’s an elite experience that is certainly worth it.”

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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