Thursday, July 16, 2009

Skiinfo Reports More southern Hemisphere Snow And Big Events in the Alps

Skiinfo reports that after last weeks fresh July snowfalls on Europe’s open-for-skiing glaciers, skies have been largely clear with little or no fresh snowflakes reported in the past week.
In France snow sports are continuing at Tignes, Les 2 Alpes and Val d’Isere with each reporting a 180cm, (six foot) snow base. Temperatures have been high however with Val d’Isere currently reporting 8 degrees Celcius at 3000m mid-morning on their glacier and all three resorts reporting quite windy conditions with wind strengthes up to 50kmph.
Over in Switzerland, Saas Fee will stage one of the biggest events on snow this July when the resort’s annual summer Ride event attracts many of Europe's top freeskiers to the Allalin Snow Park on the resort’s glacier this Saturday, July 18th (picture attached). Last year’s Saas-Fee Ride was seen across the globe with a 26 minute TV programme that surprised many people of just how good summer glacier skiing can be. It has just clocked up over 500 hours of television airtime and has given the 50+ athletes at the comp some much deserved publicity. This year's main discipline is Big Air. There will also be a Rail Jam session for athletes to show their style for the TV crews
The organisers report that Saas-Fee is the perfect location for the competition due to the north facing glacier, which keeps the snow in great condition and the safety standards high. Nearby Zermatt is also open for snow sports with Europe’s highest ski slopes and the world’s biggest summer ski vertical open to all.
Another of the biggest summer ski areas in Europe continues to be found at the Hintertux glacier in Europe, the largest of the four Austrian ski areas currently open – the other’s being at Dachstein, Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun and the Molltal glacier near Mallnitz and Flattach. Hintertux offers 23km (15 miles) of runs at present with a near 600m vertical and a 225cm (7.5 feet) snow depth – nine of the area’s 22 lifts are operational.
Italy has three areas open too. Cervinia, linked to Zermatt, as one of the biggest ski areas in the country and a 1.5m (five foot) base, Passo Tonale has deeper snow with a two metres (6.6 feet) base and Passo Stelvio is the third option.
Norway’s Folgefonn glacier ski centre with four metre (13.3 feet) deep snow continues to have the greatest snow depth in the world. Two other Norwegian ski centre choices currently available are Galdhøpiggen with a 200cm (6.6 ft) base and Stryn with 90cm (three feet) of snow lying.
In North America Whistler is in to the last two weeks of its short summer ski season on the Blackcomb glacier. Conditions there are reported to be a little challenging for the half dozen operators of inclusive ski and snowboard camps. Snow depth is reported to be down to 90cm following rain in the region. South of the border Timberline remains operational on Mt Hood in Oregon, USA with both lifts operating and serving the new terrain park and the superpipe.
More than a dozen current and former U.S. Ski Team members will be at the ski centre this weekend for or a chartity fundraiser on July 18 and 19 to benefit the World Cup Dreams Foundation, a non-profit organization giving financial assistance to aspiring American ski racers. The two-day clinic will be held in the mornings on the Palmer Snowfield at Timberline on Mount Hood. A fundraising dinner and auction is planned for Saturday night, July 18. Spaces for the clinic cost $350 for one day and $600 for both days, about 20 people are so far signed up.
In the southern hemisphere Australian ski resorts have reported more fresh snow is currently falling. "We have had a big week of snowfall - the last 24 hours have brought us another 7cm - we now have a natural average of 68cm - with almost a metre across the manmade areas", Mt Buller told Skiinfo this morning. Meanwhile Perisher reports that there is a 90% chance of snowfalls tomorrow (Thursday 16th) The Australian Weather Bureau has forecast snowfalls above 1100m with light to moderate southerly winds and top temperature of -1C. At Mt Hotham the resort reports 34cm (14 inches) of fresh flakes falling across the ski area in the last 48 hours with snowfalls are predicted to continue through to Friday with a glimpse of sun on the weekend and more snow next week. The average natural snow depth there is now 78cm (2.7 feet) with eight lifts open.
New Zealand has received less snow in the past week although there have been a few fresh inches last weekend and snow depths are greater – typically between 120cm (four feet) and 180cm (six feet) at South island ski areas.
Conditions vary in South America where there has been little fresh snowfall in the past week. In Argentina, Las Leñas has between 90 and 120cm (three – four feet) of snow on its slopes and is 100% open and the other major resort of Catedral reports similar snow cover.
Over the border in Chile Chapa Verde has a one metre (3.3 foot) base whilst Portillo has received more than three metres (ten feet) of snow this season and currently reports 91cm (three feet) on lower slopes, 129cm (4.3 feet) on upper runs but only 5cm (two inches) of fresh snow in the past week.
In Africa conditions are unchanged from last week with Afriski in Lesotho still reporting insufficient snow cover to be able to open, however temperatures are expected to drop to -7C tonight with a moderate fall of snow expected. Tiffindell in South Africa has a 30cm (one foot) base and 750m of ski runs open.