Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fresh Snow In The Alps Leads To Resorts Re-opening

Skiinfo reports that there has been up to 10cm of fresh snow in the past 72 hours on mountain tops across the Alps including the glaciers that are already open or about to open for the start of the 2009-10 ski season.
In Austria the Tux glacier, one of the handful that endeavours to open year round, is one of the beneficiaries, with its snow depth topped back up to 55cm (just under 2 feet) after a long summer melt. There are 9 lifts operating there serving 15km (9 miles) of open piste. Fresh snow on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun means that it will re-open on Friday (September 18) with a 70cm (2.23 foot) base after having been closed for the past month or so due to the hot weather. A third Austrian choice, the Molltal glacier near Mallnitz is reporting the country’s biggest snow depth at present with 90cm (3 feet) of snow to enjoy. The Pitztal glacier is also opening for its long 2009-10 season this week, helped by a new plus-temperatures operational snowmaking system imported from Israel and the fresh snow. Solden, which had hoped to open on 5th September but has had to delay opening due to the weather conditions is now reviewing their planned opening after reporting another 8cm (3 inches) of snow today.
There was also snow at the four other glacier ski areas currently open in the Alps. Saas Fee in Switzerland reported on another 6cm (2.5 inches) of powder on Tuesday, taking its 7 day total to 10cm (4 inches) and glacier based depth to 65cm (over 2 feet). Its neighbour Zermatt, open 365 days a year for snow sports, has been similarly blessed.
There’s no outdoor skiing currently available in France, but the fresh snow is good news for Tignes which will re-open a week on Saturday (September 26th) for its long winter 2009-10, just four weeks after closing its summer ski season.
In Italy Passo Tonale and Val Senales are both open for glacier skiing and again benefited from the fresh snow.
There’s no skiing in North America at present but Timberline ski area in Oregon, USA is due to kick off the 2009-10 season there this Saturday, September 19, when its lifts should be running again.
With the ski season over in Africa, the bulk of world ski attention is currently focussed on South America, Australia and New Zealand where there has been little fresh snow in the past week and spring skiing conditions are dominant in most locations, with earlier snow accumulations in recent weeks packing down to create great on-piste conditions, especially from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.
In Australia, Perisher has tipped the 2.8m (9.3 feet) mark of cumulative snowfalls since the start of the season, and it’s currently looking good out there for spring skiing and boarding. The resort has received 21cm (8.5 inches) of fresh flakes since 1 September and more is predicted with light snowfalls expected around next Sunday, 20 September. Perisher has 39 lifts currently in operation accessing 4 resort areas and 7 mountain peaks, plus there's four progressive terrain parks and the Superpipe so riders still have plenty of options on offer. After a week of snow showers and cloud at Hotham, the weather has cleared. The resort has had 16cm (7 inches) of snow in the last 7 days. The average natural snow depth is currently 65cm (2.2 feet), a drop of about 20cm (eight inches) on a week ago, with the snow depth in the snowmaking areas at 120cm (4 feet). The Black Snake run is currently recommended as a good pick for advanced skiers and boarders, Snake Gully for intermediates and Easy Street at the Big D for beginners.
The snow depth is down to 40cm (15 inches) at Mt Buller and with temperatures hitting 9 Celcius it’s getting warm there.
In New Zealand there are styill some big sanow deoths if no fresh snow at many areas. Turoa on Mt Ruapehu is reporting depths of 236cm (8 feet), the most in the country, although most other areas still have between 120cm and 180cm (4-6 feet) lying, giving much more than adequate snow cover. At The Remarkables (picture attached) under-16 year old shredders will bust out their latest tricks when the final K2 Parklife Mini Shred for the season this weekend when they battle it out in the resort’s Tararua Real Iced Coffee (TRIC) Beginner Terrain Park on September 20. Ross Lawrence, Ski Area Manager, said he’s excited about the second event following the success of the first event in July. "This is the chance for the kids to ski and ride with their buddies in a competition scenario and show how far they’ve progressed this season. In July we saw these girls and boys pushing themselves to their limits, this time around we’re sure to see them step it up to the next level in their riding and skiing", he said. "The TRIC Beginner Park is perfect for this kind of event, it’s been designed and built to help skiers and riders progress their skills in a relaxed environment".
In South America the leading resorts such as Valle Nevado and portillo in Chile and Cathedral and Las Leñas in Argentina are each reporting ther biggest bases – all a little over 2 metres (7 feet) on upper slopes, meaning the skiing should be good well in to October. However in some cases, notably Catedral, lower slopes have little or no cover.