Thursday, December 4, 2008

Early Snowfalls In Europe Hit ‘Historic Levels’

http://www.skiinfo.com/ is following still more heavy snowfalls across Europe over the past 48 hours, with much more snow in other parts of Europe and many areas of North America too.
One of the greatest beneficiaries are the Italian Dolomites where 150cm (five feet) has fallen at Cortina in a 48 hour period up to Monday, with snow still falling. Alessandro Fregni of Skiinfo.com’s Italian office commented, "In three days ski areas have seen almost as much snowfall as for the whole winter last year".
Most other Swiss resorts have great cover and more new snow. Skiinfo issued powder alarms in the past week for Skiinfo with 70cm (28 inches) and Davos 53cm (17 inches) of fresh snow each. Many major resorts now have snow depths of 2-3 metres (7 – 10 feet).
In Austria the snow cover is also superb with Heiligenblut the biggest recipient of the week’s latest dump, receiving a metre (40 inches) of powder in the past seven days.
Many of the open French ski areas have reported at least a foot of new snow in the past week. Several have much more including Les Arcs, with 80cm (32 inches). New openings this weekend include Les Orres, Chamrousse, L e Grand Bornand, Isola 2000 and Montgenevre. Alpe D'Huez and Courchevel will be fully open and Megève partly open. It looks like the ski areas in the Pyrenees and elsewhere in Spain which dominated snowfall news in November with record pre-season accumulations leading top early openings of ski areas in the region will continue in to December, as the snow keeps falling.
A new cold front has brought still more fresh powder to Spain (Formigal and Sierra Nevada -picture attached- have both received 70 cm/28 inches more powder in the past week) all the ski resorts in Spain will open for a three day holiday weekend. For Spanish skiers and boarders the Purísima Feast on December 8 is a must every year and represents the official opening of the winter season.
On the French side of the range Cauterets opened last weekend with 80% of runs available on opening day and up to 150cm (five feet) of snow.
Elsewhere in Europe conditions continue to be very good in Scandinavian countries too. Norway’s Hemsedal currently has 65cm (over two feet) of snow on its slopes, with Bjorli registering the greatest snow depth at present with 100 cm (40 inches).
In North America the picture has improved dramatically in Colorado, just as it did this time last year before a meteoric snowfall season in which several resorts set record snowfall figures after a warm November 2007. One of the best reports is from Vail which has had 63cm (25 inches) of snow in the past week.