Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ski Resorts Stay Open Longer As Fresh Snow Falls On Above Average Base...

Skiinfo reports that although ski resorts have been closing as the 08-09 season ends for many, hundreds of other North American and European resorts are still open in more than 20 countries. In some cases fresh snow has fallen and in most cases the accumulated snow base is deeper than the average. Many resorts have decided to stay open longer, in some cases well in to May, because of the great conditions.
The Pyrenees have had a spectacular snow season right from mid-November and it is still the place where snow is falling. Cauterets has reported the most snow on the French side of the southern European mountain chain right through the snow season including a huge fall of more than 1.5m in just a few days earlier in the winter. It’s still reporting the biggest falls in the country with another 40cm (16 inches) in the past week giving it the biggest snow depth in France at present with 485cm (16 feet) on its upper slopes.
In Spain the spectacular snow season continues with more snow in recent days and no major resorts closing so far, with mopst others opting to extend their season, most notably Sierra Nevada which still has a three metre (ten foot) base and will stay open an extra two weeks to 15th May. Baqueira Beret (picture attached), which does close this weekend, has the most snowe in the country at present with a 350cm (12 foot) covering on upper slopes. Boi Taull and Masella have both announced they’ll stay open another month – up to 10th May.
Over the Pyrenean border in Andorra, there has also been a dusting of snow on top of a healthy base. Grandvalira will be open to May third.
In the Alps there’s been less fresh snow, although parts of Switzerland have added a few inches in the past seven days. Top snowdepths: Saas Fee has had 25cm (10 inches) of fresh snow in the past week, Fiesch 10cm (four inches). Andermatt-Gotthard has the most snow in the country with 460cm; Zermatt has 408cm (13.5 feet) and Engelberg 390cm (13 feet) with Saas Fee less than an inch behind on 388cm.
No new snowfall has been reported in Austria or Germany in the past week. The Dachtein and Zugspitz glaciers in each are reporting the most snow respectively, with 430cm (just over 14 feet) and 380cm (just under 13 feet).
In Italy there’s also been no fresh snow in the past week, but conditions remain good as elsewhere because of the accumulated snow depth. The maintenance of this was helped by low temperatures in many northern resorts over the Easter weekened, including parts of the South Tyrol and Aosta Valley.
The snow is still good in Scandinavia, where Norway’s three summer-ski areas will soon be in action and where the 24 hour sun will soon shine of Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic circle where it’s still full on winter. To the south it has been warmer with daytime temperatures of 5 to 13 Celcius diminishing the snow pack. Although a few ski areas such as Ramundberget did manage to add to their bases with 9cm (three inches) of new snow and 10 Swedish resorts still have at least an 80cm (32 inch) base.
In Eastern Europe Bulgaria’s ski resorts are now all closed for the season however the Czech and Slovak republics do still have about a dozen areas open between them with between 30cm (a foot) and 170cm (nearly six feet) of snow still lying.
In Scotland three ski areas continue to battle on with limited resources of the white stuff! Cairngorm above Aviemore is the only centre open daily still. Glencoe and Nevis Range on the West Coast are open at weekends.
In Canada there has been some fresh snow on both the East and West Coasts. Banff and Lake Louiser both received several inclhes of fresh snow at the weekend. Sunshine Village has had 490cm (over 18 feet) of snow this year, and currently has a snow pack of 174 centimetres (nearly six feet) – it remains open to late May, Lake Louise is open to May 3rd. Whistler has also had more fresh snow and in Quebec Mont Ste Anne claimed 33cm (13 inches) of new snow ahead off their Easter weekend celebrations.