The melting of a glacier in the Alps has changed the border between Switzerland and Italy. This has sparked a debate about the location of a ski resort in Italy.
According to The Guardian, the border line between the two countries runs along the basin section where snow water flows from both sides of the Klein Matterhorn mountain.
But the melting of the Theodul Glacier means that the basin drains into the Rifugio Guide del Cervino, a skier’s lodge near the 3,480-meter Testa Grigia peak.
Frederic, a 59-year-old tourist, said on a visit to the resort’s restaurant, “So. Are we in Switzerland now?” he asked.
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It was a question worth asking. The answer was the subject of diplomatic negotiations that began in 2018 and culminated in a compromise last year, but details of the negotiations remain secret.
Two-thirds of the area where the accommodation and restaurant sections of the Rifugio Guide del Cervino, a 40-bed accommodation spot in Italy built in 1984, are located is technically in the south of Switzerland.
The issue has been raised by the fact that the tourism-based region sits on top of one of the world’s largest ski resorts, and by an important new development: a cable car station being built a few meters away.
An agreement was reached in Florence in November 2021, but the content of the agreement will not be disclosed until it is ratified by the Swiss government in 2023.
Alain Wicht, the border official of Switzerland’s national mapping agency Swisstopo, participated in the negotiations, where the two sides made concessions to find a solution.
“Although neither side emerged victorious, at least no one lost,” Wicht said.
Where the Italy-Switzerland border crosses the Alpine glaciers, the border follows the basin line. But Theodul Glacier lost almost a quarter of its mass between 1973 and 2010.
The rocks beneath the glacier have therefore changed the basin section, forcing the two neighbors to redraw a 100-meter-long section of their border.