Lack of snow leaves ski resorts empty across Turkey

With only 15-25 cm of snow well below the seasonal average, the occupancy rate of Turkey’s many premier ski resorts has dropped considerably, reported local media.

The slopes of Kartalkaya in the northwestern Bolu province, usually a popular skiing destination due to its proximity to Istanbul, the country’s most crowded city, are mostly empty, with hotels at only 20 per cent capacity.

“Kartalkaya is having its worst season in 42 years,” Halit Ergul, President of Western Black Sea Hoteliers Association, told the Ihlas News Agency on Friday.

A lack of snowfall in January has left Kartalkaya with 18 cm of snow. Out of 25 ski tracks, only 10-12 that are able to bring in artificial snow were opened, he added.

The average snow depth in Kartalkaya is between 135-190 centimetre, according to Kartalkaya Ski Centre authorities, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ski resort on Mount Erciyes in the central province of Kayseri was also hit hard, with 21 cm of snowfall.

“We aren’t able to produce snow with temperatures over zero degrees during the day,” Murat Cahid Cingi, Head of a ski resort in Erciyes, told state-run Anadolu Agency.

“Only when the slopes are empty, and temperatures drop to 4-5 degree below zero, we can run the tracks with snow produced from lake water,” he added.

Cingi also blamed the unusually warm weather for the lack of winter tourism demand.

“With weather unusually warm in places like Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya, where most skiers reside, people don’t think about skiing. It needs to be cold for winter tourism.”

Turkey is experiencing severe drought as dams around the country’s major cities have reached low levels amid a lack of precipitation and an unusually warm winter, stemming from global climate change.

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