Friday, June 17, 2005
Hotels and other businesses around Norway's famed Geiranger Fjord are mighty unhappy these days. Late snows and bad weather have kept roads into the area closed, and that's hurting an already short season. Road crews are normally able to open the main road to Geiranger from Gudbrandsdalen and Grotli in early May. As of this week, it remained closed, with highway officials saying there was still too much snow. Attempts already have been made to bombard the snowmass with water from helicopters, in the hopes that would loosen it up and quicken the meltimg process. It didn't work, and now the local business community is complaining loudly. "This is a disaster," the head of the venerable Union Hotel told one local paper this week. Now Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) is reporting that experts from the country's famed Telemark Battalion are surveying the situation. The idea is to start blasting away the snow and ice with more conventional means. Heavy snows from last winter, coupled with a late spring and summer, are also causing problems for sheep ranchers. Plans to release the animals for mountain grazing are delayed, because of the snow and a lack of grass.