It’s Warming Up On Alpine Glaciers - Snow update

Wed 30 June 10

Fresh snow in South America, Australia and New Zealand. Les 2 Alpes staging major international freestyle ski and board event this weekend. Saas Fee opening this weekend, Mammoth Mountain closing. Temperatures still low at Norway’s summer ski areas which report world’s deepest snow bases.

It’s Warming Up On Alpine Glaciers - Snow update

It’s Warming Up On Alpine Glaciers - Snow update ©

 

www.skiinfo.co.uk reports that more ski areas opened in Europe last weekend and more are scheduled to next weekend but temperatures are warming up and are in double figures over 3000m, making conditions ‘sticky.’

In France Les 2 Alpes is planning a big event this weekend. The Kumi Yama contest is a Japanese themed slopestyle and superpipe contest from July 2nd to 4th which will feature X Games and Winter Olympic champions. The glacier ski areas at Tignes and Val d’Isere remain open too.

In Switzerland Saas Fee is due to open this Saturday, joining its neighbour Zermatt which is open year round. Saas Fee has a three metre (ten foot) base waiting for those hitting its slopes this weekend.

In Italy Cervinia has opened for summer skiing with a two metre (near seven foot) base, but the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale has closed, keeping the total number of Italian ski areas open at three. The other two being Passo Stelvio and Val Senales.

Austria has four ski areas open again, more than any other northern hemisphere country, following the Molltal glacier re-opening at the weekend and has 9km of runs open, served by three lifts with 250cm (eight feet) of snow.

On the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun the snow is a metre thick at the top of the glacier but only 5cm is left at the Alpincentre which you can currently ski down to, but perhaps not for much longer.

The Dachstein Glacier has 180cm of snow on the glacier and two lifts, two runs and a terrain park open. Their ice palace under the glacier has also seen the arrivals of giant frozen ice sculptures of The Simpsons.

The Tux glacier, which is open virtually year round, has one of the biggest ski areas open at present with 20km of runs served by nine lifts and a 550m vertical.

It’s colder and the snow is in better shape In Norway where three glacier areas remain open. Folgefonn has a two metre base, Galdhøpiggen four metres lying and Stryn 4.5 metres – the deepest any open ski area is currently reporting anywhere.

In North America Mammoth Mountain’s long season appears to be nearing its end this weekend, with the last day of their nine month season on Monday July 5th following Independence Day weekend. The Californian resort is currently offering its guests the chance to ski or board, play a round on the local nine hole golf course and do some mountain biking all in one day for $99.

At Timberline in Oregon lifts and runs are open, including the Otto Lang terrain park, but the resort’s half pipe is currently closed for construction.

North of the border Whistler’s Blackcomb glacier remains open with its many summercamps. Whistler's Momentum Ski Camps will stage “Momentum Splashdown,” an event for professional skiers and campers, on Tuesday, July 6 from 4-6pm. Olympic gold medallist Alex Bilodeau will judge the aerial offerings of some of the North America's best skiers at the water ramps located adjacent to Blackcomb Mountain's Base II area.

Meanwhile in Pakistan a new expedition aiming to ski K2 has reached base camp. The attempt is being made by ski mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson as part of his attempt to ski all of the world’s highest mountains. Fredrik Ericsson and Trey Cook were told on arrival in Pakistan that there were unusually deep snow conditions on the Baltoro glacier. The team changed their plan and decided to approach the peak via the Gondoro-la with an attempt on Laila Peak which would enable them to acclimatize and allow the deep snow to consolidate. The team found the deepest snow in the Gondogoro valley in at least 15 years. The team attempted a ski descent of Laila Peak but were turned back 300 meters from the summit by deep, unstable snow. However, Ericsson did enjoy a 1000 vertical meter descent on Laila’s pristine, 45-degree northwest face.

In the southern hemisphere there has been some fresh snow in Australia and low temperatures have allowed the resorts to do a lot of snowmaking. More snow is forecast throughout the rest of the week. Mt Buller is typical of all the leading Australian ski areas in that temperatures there reached a low of -6.3 last night and heading to a top of -2 today, these are spot on conditions to blast some quality man made snow around the clock across the whole resort. Four lifts are operating there with a coverage of 46cm in all open areas. But with forecast snow showers throughout this week and heavy snowmaking underway since Saturday morning, they are anticipating more intermediate terrain will be open later this week.

In New Zealand almost all ski areas are now open and there’s been mlore fresh snow. Whakapapa on Mt Ruapehu reports 22cm of new snow and an average base depth of 60cm. Most other ski areas have a similar amount of snow with Mt Hutt having some of the deepest snow with 125cm.

The 2010 winter season is officially underway in Lake Wanaka with all four fields now open for business and reporting excellent snow conditions. Good snowfalls in May and optimum snow making conditions throughout June have provided the mountains across the region with a good base and quality snow coverage for the start of the season.
Snow Farm, New Zealand’s only Nordic ski area was the first to open in early June then at Treble Cone’s opening last week, skiers and boarders enjoyed outstanding conditions with all lifts operating. Skiers in The Saddle were treated to great powder with fresh tracks well into the morning.

Lake Wanaka’s resorts will again take centre stage for many national and international events this winter. The FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Junior World Championships (19-31 August), Burton New Zealand Open (10-14 August) and The World Heli Challenge (30 July-9 August) will attract world class athletes and provide stunning action for spectators.

There’s been no new natural snowfall on Southern Africa’s ski slopes but Afriski in lesotho has been able to keep snowmaking as temperatures fluctuastes between highs of +4C in the daytime and a low of -5C at night. It has about 65cm of snow lying on its 400m long main raun, and the beginner run is also open.

Over in South America there has been quite a lot of fresh snow in both Chile and Argentina enabling more resorts to open.

In Chile Portillo opened at the weekend, a week later than planned, and has about two feet of snow. Valle Nevado reports it has had more than 2 metres of snow so far this season and currently has 50cm lying on the slopes. The connection to La Parva is open, but not the one to El Colorado.

Argentina’s largest ski resort Catedral is also now partially open although reports only 50cm of snow on upper slopes and nothing at the base, with only limited terrain open as a result. Las Lenas is looking a little better with 40cm at the base and 85cm on upper slopes, but temperatures have been peaking at a too-warm 12C.

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Les Deux Alpes, France

Snowboard Guide rating 7 out of 10 “Decent all-year, all-style resort, with some great carving terrain and good off-piste, but the place can be hellishly busy at weekends and over holidays.”

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