Diamonds Are Forever
Swiss glacier to be wrapped up, saved for later
A Swiss ski resort worried about global warming’s ill effects on its future is taking matters into its own mittened hands. At the ski season’s end in May, the Andermatt resort will cover some 32,200 square feet of the Gurschen glacier with an insulating PVC foam in hopes of keeping its black diamonds from melting into bunny slopes. The foam, which costs some $84,000 and can be stored during winter for reuse, was constructed by Swiss technicians to protect the snow layer from heat, ultraviolet rays, and rain. The country’s glaciers have lost about a fifth of their surface area in the last 15 years, according to a Zurich University study linking the loss to global warming, and the ice field above Andermatt is retreating by about 16 feet a year, a resort spokesperson says. If the PVC-foam trial is successful, the resort plans to cover more of the glacier, and other resorts may also get in on the doggy-bagging technique.