Fresh Snow On Both Sides Of The World

Sat 31 July 10

Up to 10cm of fresh snow in the Alps. Record Snowmaking In Australia. Heavy Snow In Chile and Argentina. Fresh snow in New Zealand. Summer ski season ends on Canada.

Fresh Snow On Both Sides Of The World

Fresh Snow On Both Sides Of The World © Photo: Treble Cone reports that temperatures have finally dropped in the Alps and fresh snow has fallen on the glacier ski areas that remain open.  In the southern hemisphere there’s been heavy snow in Chile.

In Europe the situation on the 11 still-open glacier ski areas in terms of snow depth remains little changed but conditions are much improved with temperatures dropping from near double-figures to around zero, the melt largely topped and the fresh snow making surfaces much more ski and boardable.

In Austria cover continues to be mixed, on the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier the fresh snow means that cover at the Alpincentre (2450m up) is back to 5cm (two inches), but on the top it still remains rather thin at 18cm (seven inches).  On the Molltal glacier the reported snow depth continues at  1.5m (five feet) with 9km of run open.  At Hintertux 20km of run are open and the snow depth is 125cm (just over four feet).  Snow depth on the Dachstein Glacier is at 70cm.

In France Les 2 Alpes and Tignes have both reported fresh snow.  Les 2 Alpes has a metre of snow (3.3 feet) and Tignes 80cm (just under three feet).

In Italy, the Plateau Rosa above Cervinia has a metre of snow and you can also continue to board at Passo Stelvio and Val Senales.  The latter reports some of the deepest sow in the Alps at 2.4m (eight feet) and that it received 5cm (two inches) of fresh snow in the past few days.

In Switzerland the choice remains between Saas Fee and Zermatt.  Saas Fee reports that it received 10cm (four inches) of fresh snow and currently has for ski slopes including its park and pipe open, served by 10 lifts.

In North America the end of the summer ski season in Whistler has left just timberline in Oregon open, although temperatures are quite warm.  The Magic Mile and Palmer ski lifts and runs are open as well as the Mile Canyon Terrain Park.

South America is looking snowy with 15cm (six inches) of new snow so far today at Catedral in Argentina, which operates the continent’ largest lift network.   It now has a base depth of 1.5m (five feet).  Las Lenas to the south has had fresh snow too and now has more than a metre (1.1m) on upper slopes.

In Chile conditions have improved dramatically at Portillo with more than two feet (60cm) of snow falling in the past week, taking base depths to 40 inches (a metre) on upper slopes and allowing the resort to finally remove their, “low snow warning” from their website.

Across the Pacific in New Zealand conditions are looking good at most ski areas and fresh snow is currently falling.  Mt Hutt has passed the 1.5m (five foot) base depth with 1.55m lying on upper slopes after an 8cm (three inch) snowfall in the past 24 hours. Other resorts are reporting new snow too.  Treble Cone has 5cm (two inches) of fresh powder on a 77cm base.

Whakapapa has a 92cm (three foot) base after v10cm of new snow fell, its fellow Mt Ruapehu resort of Turoa has 1.35m (4.5 feet) after receiving 15cm (six inches) of new snow.

Over 70 competitors came out in full force on Saturday to take part in the first event of the Mother Freestyle Series, the Nitro Elan Jib Nats with prizes from Nitro, Elan and 3CS. There was over $10,000 in cash and prizes and lots of spectators turned out. Next up are the Smith Sessions Slopestyle at Turoa on 14th August.

Treble Cone
Treble Cone
Photo: Treble Cone

Although it has unfortunately warmed up in recent day, consistently low temperatures for the first few months of the winter in Australia, coupled with ever improving snowmaking systems and technology, has allowed the country’s resorts to report new snowmaking records reached during the past week.

Last winter Perisher produced 624,769 cubic metres of snow, in what was heralded as an amazing achievement for Australian alpine resorts.  Already this season, which still has two months left to run, the resort has smashed that record with over 700,000 cubic metres produced to date..

The resort's three-year $19 million investment in automated snowmaking infrastructure has really been a bonus for guests this winter, with snowmaking commencing on May 11th, four weeks before the start of the season, and continuing almost non-stop ever since.

The snowmaking expansion has enabled the beginner and intermediate Happy Valley area and top to bottom on the iconic Towers Run on Mt Perisher, for more advanced skiers and boarders, to open earlier than usual this season, although natural snowfalls have only registered just over 30cm. This weekend the popular Excelerator run in Blue Cow also openeds due to the efforts of the snowmakers.

Sixty-eight new energy efficient, fully automated fan guns and lances were commissioned in 2009, making a total of 271 snow guns now installed across Perisher Valley, Blue Cow and Smiggin Holes resort areas.

“Perisher’s snowmaking infrastructure and increased capacity now rivals many international alpine destinations; allowing guests more certainty when booking their snow holidays that we can provide a quality snow product at all times of the season,” said Peter Brulisauer Perisher’s CEO.

“Feedback from guests has been very positive, it’s made an incredible difference particularly to the popular Towers Run and Happy Valley areas which has opened on an excellent top to bottom cover. Best of all the new system is incredibly energy efficient and the water is recycled through the Snowy Scheme back into the catchment,” continued Mr. Brulisauer.

A second Australian ski area, Mt Hotham, has also reported new snowmaking records set there.

“Our snowmaking areas are in great condition with a snowdepth of 91cm. This season to date we have made enough snow to fill 99 Olympic swimming pools!” said a resort statement.

 In southern Africa, Afriski in Lesotho has seen warmer temperatures recently but the machine made snow continues to hold up well.  It’s up to 70cm (2.3 feet) deep covering a 700m long run with a beginner’s slope and terrain park also in operation.

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