For the Austrian village of Hochfilzen it was a disaster. As it prepared to welcome the world's best cross-country skiers and shooters for a biathlon event this weekend there was a problem: no snow.

With climate experts confirming that the Alps are in the grip of the warmest temperatures for 1,300 years villagers borrowed some snow from a nearby mountain, trucking in snow from Grossglockner, Austria's highest peak, 20 miles away. Over five days lorries deposited the snow in the village, allowing a 6-metre wide by 45cm deep (20ft x 17inch) track.

"There's normally snow here. Unfortunately this year it didn't arrive in time," Martin Frieder, the town's tourist office spokesman said, adding: "Last winter we had 8.7 metres of snow."

An unseasonably warm autumn has wreaked havoc in Alpine ski resorts, postponing the winter season in Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Instead of snow all around, most slopes are still covered in green grass.

Yesterday climate experts confirmed that the warm temperatures - including 22.4C recorded last week in Grenoble, the capital of the French Alps - were unusual.

"We are experiencing the warmest period in the Alpine region in 1,300 years," said Reinhard B�hm, a climatologist at Austria's Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics. "It will undoubtedly get warmer in the future."

The lack of snow has also affected ski resorts further afield, with all 31 skiing areas in Spain and Andorra closed, said the newspaper El Pa�s.

Andrea H�ndel, of the German Alpine Association in Munich, said it is too warm for artificial snow machines to work. Snow is now forecast within days.