Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fresh Snow In 10 Countries As 2009-10 Season Continues to Wind Down

Skiinfo reports that It has been another big weekend of end-of-season parties across the northern hemisphere, although several hundred ski areas remain open in the Alps and North America for a few days more, with a few dozen still planning to open in to May.
Sölden had 18cm (7 inches) of new snow (the most in Austria) during the past week. There are still two and a half metres (eight feet) of snow on the glacier which will remain open for until the 2nd of May. 10cm (4 inches) of fresh snow also fell in Lech Zürs and Ischgl last weekend. Lech will close on Sunday (April 25th), Ischgl will celebrate the end of their season with a concert of Alicia Keys on May 1st. The Mölltal glacier also had some new snow on Sunday and will be open until May 16th. Currently, they have up to 390cm (13 feet) of snow on the glacier, more than anywhere else in Austria. Some other Austrian ski resorts will still be running their lifts for skiers and boarders next week. Kitzsteinhorn will remain open until May 2nd and currently has 171cm (just under six feet) of snow on top and 154cm (five feet) on lower slopes. Obergurgl celebrates its "ski finish" from this Saturday 24th April through the week to May 1st. The resort has 105cm (3.5 feet) of snow left on upper slopes but only 14cm (6 inches) on lower ones. The Pitztal glacier remains open until May 16th, as does the Kaunertal glacier which has already begun its four week celebration of the end-of-season. The so-called "Spring Classics" include freeski contests, parties, professional snowboard coaching and a film and foto week. On the Stubai glacier there is still lying 180cm (six feet) of snow lying with a winter season lasting until June 13th.
50 ski areas are still open in France this week and there’s still some fresh snow. Chamonix, where the snowpack has diminished a little to 3.6m (12 feet) but remains the deepest in the country has reported another 10cm (four inches) of snow in the past week. Many French areas close this weekend but Chamonix is one of nine French ski areas remaining open in to the first week of May.
In Switzerland, Davos issued a powder alarm on Saturday because of 20cm (eight inches) of new snow. They still have a snow depth of 184cm (six feet) on upper slopes, but the official end of season is announced for April 25th. Samnaun even reported 25cm (10 inches) of new snow on Monday. 35 of its 40 lifts are still open with 160 cm of snow on the mountain. Samnaun’s season will end on May 2nd. In St. Moritz the ski lifts are still running, too. "Several mountain railways and lifts will be open through to May", the local tourism association informs. "With a snow depth of 80 to 120 cm skiing conditions are still great on the mountains around St. Moritz". Gstaad as well as Saas Fee will allow skiing until a week on Sunday (May 2nd), but Engelberg with three metres of snow on upper slopes won’t close before May 24th. Zermatt offers 365 days of skiing and snowboarding, with its year long season officially ending on May 31st and officially recommencing on June 1st.
In Germany, the Nebelhorn near Oberstdorf will remain open for another week (until May 2nd). So will the Zugspitze that even reported 21cm (eight inches) of new snow in the past seven days and still has a snow depth of 305cm (10 feet) on the glacier.
In Italy Arabba has a 5.2m (17.3 feet) and Madonna di Campiglio has had the most snow of the past week with 22cm (seven inches) of new snow.
There’s been fresh snow in Scandinavia with Norwegian resorts reporting some of the greatest new snow accumulations of the past week, the most at Røldal which has had 70cm (2.3 feet) in seven days.
Spring skiing is at its best right now in Sweden. 18 resorts are open throughout this week which for many is the last week of the season. Riksgränsen up in the Arctic Circle have the deepest snow depth in the country with 158cm (5.3 feet) and also got 5cm (two inches) of fresh snow today. A big event takes place in Åre this week with this weekend on the 24th it's the world’s largest downhill competition "Skutskjutet". The racing course is 3.5km long and everyone aged from three years up can participate and all competitors have a chance of winning an all new Audi A3 convertible.
In Scotland there’s been yet more fresh snow, although three of the country’s five ski areas (Glenshee, Nevis Range and the Lecht) have now closed – in most cases due more to lack of skiers and boarders than a lack of snow. Glencoe is open at weekends and Cairngorm (picture attached), which has received about a foot (30cm) more snow since the weekend, every day until the end of April. It then intends to open at weekends in May.
Virtually all resorts in the Pyrenees including those in Andorra and in Eastern Europe have now closed. However Sierra Nevada in Spain, Europe’s most southerly resort, still has a deep snow base and will remain open to May.
In addition Poland’s leading resort of Zakopane is reported to be still open with 5cm (two inches) of new snow in the past week on its 150cm (five foot) base.
In North America there’s been fresh snow on the East Coast after several sunny weeks but only two leading ski areas remain open and both plan to close after the coming weekend. Killington in Vermont has one lift running serving nine trails and a 20 inch (50cm) base. It has reported a few inches more snow since Monday. To the north Mont Sainte Anne in the Canadian province of Quebec is also open up to this weekend. There’s a wider choice and deeper snow on the continent’s West Coast. In Canada Banff (sunshine), Lake Louise and Whistler are open in to May, Alberta’s Marmot basin closes this weekend.
In the US the heavy snowfall on the West has eased but still-open Arapahoe Basin in Colorado has had 10cm (four inches) more snow in the past week. Loveland in Colorado as well as Squaw Valley and Mammoth in California are among those still open.
With temperatures dropping south of the equator and heralding the start of the southern hemisphere’s winter, Hotham and Dinner Plain welcomed the first snowfalls of 2010 on Sunday 11 April. Both villages turned white for a few hours on Sunday and Monday with light dustings of new snowflakes throughout the day. With only 53 sleeps to go to the official start of the 2010 winter season, it is certainly time to start getting excited and plan your holiday.