Winter refuses to go away - world snow update

Wed 07 April 10

Seven feet of snow in seven days at Utah resort. Up to a Metre of new snow In past week In Switzerland. Average Snow depth On Open French Ski Slopes Still Tops Six Feet. More Heavy snow in North America. Scottish resort plans to open at weekends through May

Winter refuses to go away - world snow update

Winter refuses to go away - world snow update © Photo: Steve, WSG

www.Skiinfo.co.uk reports that new snow over the Easter holidays has given a great powder base for many of the resorts still open in the Alps, while across the Atlantic the latest round of huge snowfalls on the west of the North American continent has left more resorts extending their seasons with waist-deep April powder. Conditions remain good in Scotland and Scandinavia too.

There were heavy snowfalls in the German speaking areas of the Alps over Easter with Andermatt seeing over a foot (35cm) of new snow. This was part of a total one metre (40 inch) fall in the past seven days, the largest in Switzerland. The Andermatt-Gotthard region also reports the biggest snow depth in the country at present with 3.5m (nearly 12 feet) on upper slopes.

A good 30cm of snow fell on Thursday in Lenzerheide, and with high winds and poor visibility most of the lifts were closed until Friday, and the conditions were perfect.

Fresh snow at Lenzerheide outside Alp Statz restaurant 1/Apr/10
Fresh snow at Lenzerheide outside Alp Statz restaurant 1/Apr/10
Photo: Steve, WSG

St. Moritz also reported 15cm (six inches) of fresh snow on Sunday. Martin Berthod, the resort's sports and events manager, said, "The snow conditions are still excellent all over the Engadin."

The 4 Valleys has also reported good snowfall in the past week, with 75cm (2.5 feet) of new snow and Laax has had yet another 60cm (two feet) taking its snow depth to 220cm (7.3 feet).

Glacier ski areas currently have some of Switerland’s deepest snow with Engelberg reporting three metres (ten feet) and Saas Fee a few centimetres/inches less with 289cm.
The snow depth in the French Alps is very good for the end of season with 183.6cm (6.2 feet) average on the top of the slopes in the Northern Alps and 229.6cm (7.6 feet) average for the Southern Alps

It has snowed a lot the last week in the French Alps with Skiinfo posting 24 Powderalarms for snowfalls in excess of 20cm (8 inches) in 24 hours in Sunday.

Serre Chevalier reported 65cm (2.2 feet) of fresh snow and Puy St Vincent 40cm (16 inches) just on the one day.

Lenzerheide tree run, rider: B.Barringer 1/Apr/10
Lenzerheide tree run, rider: B.Barringer 1/Apr/10
Photo: Steve, WSG

In Austria sunny weather is forecast for the next few days and on many Austrian slopes there is still lots of snow - so conditions for spring skiing are fine.

Sölden, for example, got fresh snow again and issued a powder alarm for more than 20cm (8 inches) of new snow on Monday. 31 of the ski resort's lifts are still running and the sky there is cloudless.

It received 40cm (16 inches) in total through the last week and currently has a snow depth of 251cm (8.3 feet). Lech Zürs am Arlberg has had 35cm (14 vinches) of new snow in the past week.

There are a dozen Austrian resorts with two metres or more of snow on their slopes. The Mölltal glacier has the biggest snow depth of 390cm (13 feet), Hintertux has more than three metres (10 feet), too.

In Germany to the north the Zugspitze got lots of fresh snow again with 20cm (8 inches) more on Monday and 35cm (14 inches) on Good Friday. Feldberg in the Black Forest also received another 20cm (eight inch) fall in the past week.

Many French ski resorts are still open during April and six will remain open into May. Bonneval sur Arc will close on the 1st of May, Val d'Isère on the 2nd and Chamonix Mont-Blanc, where the upper slope snow depth went back above 4 metres (13.3 feet) this week, as well as Tignes, Val Thorens and La Grave la Meije are open another week to May 9th.

Over the past week Pelvoux-Vallouise and Puy St Vincent have both reported a metre (3.3 feet) of new snow, Le Grand Bornand 82cm (2.6 feet) and Serre Chevalier 80cm (2.6 feet).
Chamonix currently has the top snow depth with 405cm (13.5 feet), La Clusaz has 310cm (10.3 feet) and Alpe d'Huez and La Grave 300cm (10 feet). Serre Chevalier is just behind on 290cm (9.6 feet).

Italy has topped the table in Europe for the most snow in the past seven days with Madesimo reporting 1.2m (four feet) of new Spring powder. Arabba and the Marmolada Glacier was second on the continent withy another metre (3.3) feet and there was about 60cm (two feet) more in Val Gardena in the Dolomites and Monterosa in the alps.
Marmolada currently has the deepest snow in Europe too, with 5.2m (17.3 feet). Passo Tanale’s Presena glacier is second with 4.2m (14 feet).

In Northern Europe, despite warmer weather during the Easter holidays, skiing conditions remain good at most open resorts in Scandinavia. In Sweden there's also been some small amounts of new snow in Tandådalen - 8cm (three inches) in the last seven days.

This week and next there's a lot of attention at Åre since Jon Olsson Super Sessions started on Monday and will continue until the 17th of April. One of the highlights during the week will be the Big Air competition, as well as the Jon Olsson Invitational on the 15th with some of the world’s best jibbers in resort. The ten days are full of activities including parties, various competitions, a rail park in Åre town square and of course apres-ski.

In Scotland CairnGorm's best season for decades continues with 40cm of fresh snow in the past week, one of the world's biggest accumulations.

The Scottish ski area saw over 2000 skiers take to the slopes on Good Friday to check out the recent fall of snow, which was perfectly timed to provide excellent snow cover across the mountain for Easter skiing and boarding.

It is expected that skiing will continue to be available throughout not only the Easter holidays but right through April and into May. The resort will be open daily for snowsports until 3rd May (the bank holiday weekend) and thereafter every weekend in May, conditions permitting.

"Coming on top of the 117,000 skiers we have already had this season, Friday's figures set us on course for a grand finale to double last year's total of 65,000 skiers for the season by the end of April." said spokesman for CairnGorm Mountain Colin Kirkwood.
A number of special Easter events are taking place. The resort has arranged to open for evening skiing on Thursday 8th April when a number of lifts will remain open from 4pm until 7.30pm. Rides on the resort's piste-bashing machine and skidoos will be available for non-skiers.

Also for non-skiers on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th April Physics will be coming to the Mountain when a team from the Institute of Physics in Scotland will invite visitors to skewer balloons, make rockets with alka-seltzers and make water defy gravity as they highlight the relevance of physics to their lives.

The ski season is winding down in the Pyrenees with warmer temperatures bringing classic Spring freeze/thaw conditions and a relaxed vibe on the slopes.

One of the region’s largest resorts, Baqueira Beret in Spain, has already closed, but Formigal, the largest in the area still has 1221km (76 miles) to enjoy and snow depths of 220cm (7.3 feet). Andorra’s ski areas are also still open.

Europe’s most southerly major ski area, Sierra Nevada, still has five metres of snow on upper slopes and plans to stay open in to May.

In Eastern Europe it is generally ‘melt down’ with the snow gone, or mostly gone, from lower areas but on the other hand Poland’s leading centre of Zakopane reported 40cm (16 inches) of new snow on Tuesday.

North America and particularly California and Utah in Western USA have seen the biggest snowfalls of the past week, with particularly huge accumulations reported at Brighton in Utah with 228cm (7.6 feet) in seven days. Snowbird, Alta and Solitude have also reported more than two metre (6.7 feet) accumulations.

It’s almost as good in California where almost all resorts have reported between 1 and 1.5m (3.3-5 feet) of new snow over the Easter weekend. It’s a shame the majority of ski areas in the region have closed already or close in the next seven days.

There’s been new snow elsewhere in Western North America too, with Colorado resorts benefitting and Grand Targhee in Wyoming the latest to announce an extended season. 1.6m (63 inches) of snow have fallen there this past week, and another 35cm (14 inches) has arrived yesterday morning.

Grand Targhee will run Dreamcatcher chairlift for an extra week, through to Sunday April 18. The chair will run from 10 am to 3 pm, and offer limited facilities.
It’s a different story on the East Coast alas where extremely warm weather has caused a rapid thaw at most areas.

To the north Whistler Blackcomb has announced the decision to extend skiing and riding on Whistler Mountain by one week. Whistler Mountain’s last day of operations will be Sunday, April 25 while Blackcomb Mountain’s last day of operations will be Monday, May 24.

“With over 1,353 centimetres (533 inches) of snow so far this season and a current snow base of 363 centimetres (143 inches), this incredible season is far from over,” says Dave Brownlie, president and chief operating officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “The great snow was a key factor in deciding to keep Whistler Mountain open an additional week, but guest feedback about Whistler Mountain closing during the second week of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival played a big role in the decision as well. We listened to the feedback, then reviewed and revised the required lift maintenance schedule, allowing us to extend Whistler Mountain’s winter operations by one week.”

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