In the spirit of the season, we’ve been thinking of snow (and the lack thereof). So, it turns out, has the Swiss photographer Jules Spinatsch.
His ongoing series “SNOW MANAGEMENT” examines how changing conditions have affected the Swiss Alps by focusing on the winter sports industrial complex. This work was shortlisted for the Prix Bictet (Water) in 2009, and the following images and excerpt from the artist’s statement are reproduced from that site:
… the first effects of what we call today global warming hit the Alps, resulting in less and less snow every year. A fierce competition began among winter sports
destinations in order to survive and escape the effects of global warming for some more years: it led to (still ongoing) huge investments in facilities to produce artificial snow and machines to prepare the slopes perfectly every night. Further with the introduction of the snowboard in the late 1980s and other new sports tools, a young urban lifestyle arrived and prevailed, turning rustic alpine villages and valleys into fun parks. Today spectacular events are organized to promote them, even new sports disciplines are invented ranging form challenging to entertaining, from ridiculous to absurd. The Alpine landscape has become an advertising arena, were marketing strategists battle for consumers and visitors simultaneously, while neglecting to fight the bigger challenge, to find more sustainable strategies.