World Snow Report Week Ending 24 December, 2011
Wed 21 December 11
In a complete reverse of our headline of three weeks ago, snowfalls have continued in epic quantities across much of the Alps while this time some US resorts are battling a shortage of the natural stuff and relying largely on snowmaking to open limited terrain.
It’s not just the Alps either, conditions remain good in Scandinavia, Scotland is fully open with Glencoe reporting snow pockets up to three metres (10 feet) deep and the Pyrenees have largely opened after many areas received 50cm+ of snow at the weekend.
- Snowfall of over 2m in 7 days reported by some French and Swiss resorts.
- All five Scottish ski areas open.
- Little new snowfall for some weeks in USA, some resorts reliant on snowmaking.
- Heavy snowfall in the Pyrenees.
Austria has had lots of new snow and more is expected over the next few days. It will be colder on Christmas Eve when the snowline will fall from 1000 to 400 metres.
More than 15 ski resorts reported more than 20cm of new snow on Saturday (17.12) and St. Anton reported 50 cm fresh snow at Saturday.
Other big falls were recorded at Silvretta Montafon 45cm, Serfaus Fiss Ladis 25cm and Pitztaler Glacier 22cm.
On Sunday Sölden got 27cm of new snow and on Monday Schladming was glad to report about an additional 30cm.
Lermoos in the Zugspitzarena reported 60cm of new snow over 48 hours at the start of this week helping to double its snow pack to a metre.
Austria’s big ski resorts are about to open most of their slopes. At Tux are 62 from 86 km open. In Sölden there are 135km open from 148km. There is still capacity in St. Anton and Lech Zuers. Here are more than 100 km slopes closed at the moment, but also around 170 km open for skiers.
You can find here all snow depths in Austria.
“For the past week all days are alike in the French mountains, all regions (without exceptions) have recorded heavy snowfall since last Thursday,” says Skiinfo France’s Stéphane Giraud.
The largest falls have been at ski resorts located in the Northern Alps but both Southern Alps and Pyrenees also received a lot of snow too.
Over the last seven days, it has dropped, for example, 200cm (in accumulated falls) in the Paradiski resorts of La Plagne and Les Arcs as well as at Praz sur Arly, 145 cm in Val Thorens, 120 cm in Puy Saint Vincent, and 85 cm in Piau Engaly.
The snow is still falling.
145 Skiinfo powder alarms (for 20cm of snow or more in 24 hours) have been triggered in France by Tuesday 20th December, (the highest was on Saturday for Les Arcs with a 100cm snowfall).
“In other words, a smile must be worn in all French ski resorts ...” says Stéphane.
In some cases the snow has been so great that some resorts have been unable to open slopes or lifts for practical reasons or until avalanche danger is checked. But the situation should improve quickly as the snowfalls should gradually give way to sunshine for the Christmas weekend.
“In the meantime, the ski resorts will secure their ski areas and overcome the immense task of grooming in order to provide the best conditions to holiday skiers spending Christmas in the mountains,” adds Stéphane.
The deepest snow depths in France at the moment – by region - are in the Paradiski region of Les Arcs (120/305 cm) and La Plagne (140/270 cm) in the Northern Alps; Serre Chevalier (50/180 cm) and Puy Saint Vincent (40/140 cm) in the Southern Alps; Cauterets (70/130 cm) and Piau Engaly (65/120 cm) in the Pyrénées; Les Rousses (60/120 cm) in the Jura and Saint Maurice sur Moselle (35/60 cm) in the Vosges.
Italy has seen some healthy accumulations of snow over the past week, particularly in the West of the country.
In the Aosta Valley Monterosa reports 95cm, Cervinia a metre and La Thuile 110cm of snow – the three biggest accumulations in the country.
Cervinia now reports the deepest snow base in Italy with 2.7m (nine feet) of snow on upper slopes. It overtakes long-standing holder of the top spot for Italian snow depth, the Presena Glacier at Passo Tonale which has a mere 2.4m (weight feet) base.
Here are all snow depths in Italy.
It has been snowing heavily all over Switzerland and continues to do so. The small country now leads the list with the most powder alarms (resorts reporting more than 20cm of snow in 24 hours) with more than 300 now.
Ski resorts in Switzerland now have more than enough snow and indeed some resorts had to close slopes temporarily due to avalanche risk. The last seven days brought more than a metre of snow in many resorts and in some cases more than two metres were reported in some areas like Lötschental or Anzère.
So it’s not a surprise that the snow depths are looking quite good. Saas Fee has 344 cm at higher altitude. Andermatt has 260 cm, Engelberg 190 cm, Zermatt 150 cm and Verbier 150 cm. New snow falls are expected for Thursday at the northern Swiss Alps and in Wallis.
Pyrenees And Rest of Spain
Snow conditions have improved dramatically in the Pyrenees with up to a metre of snow reported on the previously fairly snowless slopes. Grandvalira in Andorra has now opened all six centres with slope depths of up to 80cm. Conditions are also looking good in the French Pyrenees (see France review) and in Spain Baqueira Beret reports powder snow 60-100cm deep.
The snow is easing just slightly in Scandinavia where depths have now reached 2.1m (seven feet_) at some Norwegian resorts. Voss has done particularly well with another 85cm (nearly three feet) of new snow this week.
Conditions are mostly very good across Western Canada where resorts have healthy snow bases and have received another 10-30cm of fresh snow over the past week keeping the powder fresh. Whistler has all 8000+ acres of terrain, North America’s biggest ski area, open and is posting the third deepest snow in the country at 145cm (nearly five feet) with another 20cm in the past week.
Here’s a list of all snow depths in Canada.
Although conditions remain good at most US resorts, some regions are faring better than others.
The biggest contrast on 2010-11 is Lake Tahoe which last winter was blanketed by incredible falls that measured nearly 20m (60 feet) by the spring and allowed any resorts that wanted to top open in July. This Christmas however resorts are currently struggling to open much terrain using mostly machine made snow rather than the usual abundance of natural snowfall.
Only 8 or 170 trails were open at Squaw Valley at the weekend and Heavenly reported 20 of its nearly 100 runs were operational. Although weather has been cold enough for snow making no snow is currently expected for the foreseeable future.
In Utah more powder is needed but Deer Valley reports half of its 100 trails are open with a 26 inch (65cm) base although none of its seven bowls are.
Unfortunately it’s a similar picture on the East Coast with resorts struggling to open terrain there too, sometimes with the added issue of temperatures being too warm for snowmaking. One of the biggest resorts, Killington, currently reports 33 of its 140 trails are open, others are less fortunate.
The resorts with the deepest snow bases are mostly in the northwest of the country (Alaska and Washington State) where Eaglecrest which a month ago boasted the most weekly snowfall in the world still has a 267cm base. Of the big name international resorts Aspen is around the best with a 60-90cm base at Highlands.
This list details all snow depths in the US.
Thu 22 December 11
Due to the widespread lack of early season snow, organizers regret to announce the cancellation of the Halfpipe contest. The Big Air event will continue.
Thu 05 January 12
After a largely sunny Christmas week in the Alps, another spate of huge snowfalls occurred over New Years Eve and New Years Day with some resorts receiving a metre of fresh snow during the 48 hour period.
Sun 08 January 12, Revelstoke, Canada
With snow falling and a fully loaded rider field, the scene was set for a highly competitive first day of the 2012 Swatch Freeride World Tour.
Sun 08 January 12, Davos, Switzerland
HEAVY HITTERS BATTLE IT OUT UNDER HEAVY SNOW FOR SHOT AT O'NEILL EVOLUTION FINALS
Sun 08 January 12, Davos, Switzerland
MARK MCMORRIS & SPENCER O'BRIEN CLAIM O'NEILL EVOLUTION TITLES