Snow is finally falling across the Alps, after one of the driest Decembers on record.

In the Swiss Alps, the last time so little snow fell over the Christmas period was in 1864, according to measurements taken by the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research.

For mountain resorts that do up to a third of their business over Christmas and New Year, this is a worry. While this December’s glorious winter sunshine certainly showed off the Alps in all their splendour, many tourists arrive expecting to be able to ski.

Christoph Marty, a snow climatologist with the institute, understands why hoteliers have been gazing anxiously at the sky. “It definitely affects business,” he says. A post-Christmas survey of ski resorts and lift operators by Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger showed that 56% of them expected to make losses in December.

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