January in the Alps should see the mountains full of skiers and snowboarders enjoying the winter snow, but with unprecedented damp weather along with record-high winter temperatures settled in across Europe, it's mountain biking rather than skiing that's helping fill struggling resorts as the snow shortages bite hard.
The lack of snow in resorts like Les Gets has made skiing almost impossible and has seen uplifts opening specifically for mountain bikers. Passes are being heavily discounted as the resorts look to stabilize their income by encouraging riders to hit the snow-free trails in January.
Is this a sign of things to come? Climate experts suggest we should not be surprised by this weather as the effect of global warming will continue to cause warmer, wetter winters. But as with the shrinking of the Alpine glaciers, the rate at which ski resorts are becoming unviable seems to be accelerating.
Just a few years ago, Swiss resorts warned that skiing below 1,000m was, over time, likely to become impossible as global temperatures rose. At 1,500m the resort of Splügen was once considered "snow safe", but has been shut down until further notice as another example of the rise in temperatures.
World Cup ski events are under threat as the usual snowy slopes have turned to mud and grass. Resorts are having to use an army of snow cannons to create artificial snow in an attempt to host their events. It has brought surreal scenes of the world's top skiers flying across finish lines on artificial snow, surrounded by grass and minimal spectators.
With the mountain forecast remaining warm and wet, it's an unexpected bonus for mountain bikes to be riding these locations. However, it's a long term worrying sign that we all should take notice of and with many Alpine communities dependent on winter sports for their livelihoods, the snow needs to come soon.