bad weather
The Alps is home to some of the best ski slopes in the world

Tourists hoping to enjoy a relaxing skiing holiday in the glorious Alpine mountains look set to be left disappointed as the mountains have suffered a shortage of snow.

Many of the ski slopes in Austria, Switzerland and France have been left at a loss after snow failed to fall during the busy ski season.

Warm temperatures have meant that even a snow cannon, used to produce artificial snow, cannot be used. Such a short supply of snow has not been seen since 2006.

Only 40 of over 200 skiing stations across France will be open, according to French Mountains, a mountain tourism company based in France.

Large patches of green grass have emerged, where normally fine quality powder snow would have settled, posing a serious safety hazard for skiers of all ability.

In particular, the northern Alps, home to the popular resorts of Val Thorens, Meribel and Courchevel, have been particularly affected by the lack of snow. Many resorts in the north have been forced to close large sections of the mountain and reportedly even limit the number of ski passes.

Les Trois Vallées, considered the largest ski areas in the world, has been rocked by the snow shortage. Just a third of its vast 6,000km of runs are open to skiers, with fears for the safety of the snowless slopes.

Despite the dire lack of snow in the northern Alps, some resorts are expecting a bumper season. Stephane Lerendu, the Avoriaz ski station's director of tourism said that the snow is in "exceptional condition".

"Conditions are exceptional. As we are nearly the only station open in the Haute-Savoie region, we are expecting serious crowds."

It is hoped that the delayed snow fall will arrive in time but many holidaymakers are expected to look towards other options to avoid further disappointment.