Most of the world’s major ski areas continue to have good conditions with the biggest snowfalls of the past seven days reported in North America on both coasts. In Europe conditions remain largely good in the Alps and Dolomites with resorts in Italy and Switzerland reporting the best of the new snow of the past seven days.
North America has seen a further week of extreme snow on its East and West coasts with ski areas in between getting a good covering too. Resorts in New England received up to four feet (1.2m) of fresh cover in the much-publicised travel-stopping storms that generated a state-of-emergency in several states.
On the West Coast, the snow deluge that buried Mammoth in California a week ago turned its attentions further north to last winter’s snowiest ski centre, Mount Washington on Vancouver island off the BC Coast. It saw a similar fall to the one Mammoth had experienced, clocking up 2.5m (over eight feet) of snow over Christmas Weekend and has shot straight back in to the chart as the second snowiest resort on earth with a 518cm (over 17 feet) base.
Back in Europe, the Pyrenees could do with lower temperatures and more snow – although depths remain adequate at typically 30-90cm and in Eastern Europe it’s typically a freeze-thaw pattern more like Spring. Conditions continue to be good In Scotland where all five ski areas are open thanks to ongoing low temperatures.
In Germany many ski resorts like the popular Garmisch and Oberstdorf reported 10 cm of new snow on Christmas. In the Alps and the Black Forest another 10 cm of new snow are expected to fall until tonight. The Zugspitze has the deepest powder in the country (145 cm), Garmisch Classic reports 95cm.
In Austria the skiing conditions are generally good at the moment. Popular resorts like Saalbach, Ischgl and Serfaus have almost all of their ski lifts in operation. The snow depths are above two meters on the glaciers in Sölden, Mölltal, Kaunertal and Pitztal. For Christmas many ski resorts got 5-15 cm of new snow, including Kleinwalsertal, Montafon, Bad Kleinkirchheim, Großglockner, Bad Gastein and St. Anton. The latter reports a snow depth of 160cm and has 243km of slopes open. The coming days will bring some smaller snowfalls in many parts of Austria, according to weather forecasts. Over the New Year weekend sunshine is expected especially in the south.
It’s been a rather quiet week for snowfall in France over Christmas, the upside of which is that skiers and boarders have been able to enjoy the accumulated cover over the holiday period . The biggest falls reported was 40cm over the past week at St Gervais, Cauterets in the Pyrenees got 30cm. Isola 2000 has the deepest snow in the country at 2.1m (7 feet) after receiving another 10cm on Christmas Eve, it’;s one of four French resorts with more than two metres of snow accumulated now. Here’s a list of all snow depths in France.
Italy has some of Europe’s deepest snow and has had some of the most fresh snow of the past seven days. More snow ids expected across the country there too, although on the down side the Avalanche risk off piste is at its highest in Europe at many resorts here too – typically level 3 (moderate) to 4 (high). The Presena glacier has the deepest snow as usual with 4.5m (15 feet) – the world’s third deepest. Interestingly it’s Passo Tonale below that’s had the most snow this week – reporting another metre of fresh snow in the past seven days, although that’s apparently only added 10cm to the Presena Glacier’s claimed snow depth.
Christmas brought a lot of new snow in Switzerland. Dozens of ski resorts issued powder alarms because of 20-cm-snowfalls, under which Zermatt, Saas Fee, Engelberg and Sedrun. Engelberg has the deepest snow in the country (235 cm) and Saas Fee is not far behind (230 cm). Huge snowfalls were also reported from Andermatt. The ski resort had a more than white Christmas, issuing powder alarms on the 24th and again on the 26th for 20cm+ of new snow in 24 hours on each occasion and overall the resort received a metre of snow in seven days, bringing the overall snow depth there to 220cm. As with many Swiss resorts (especially in the south) the avalanche risk in Andermatt is set to level three (of five). From Thursday until New Year's Day sunshine is expected in the Swiss mountains - with the current snow this means almost perfect skiing conditions in the alpine country!
Snow cover is adequate but not exceptional in the Pyrenees at present with most resorts in Andorra, France and Spain still reporting snow depths of 30-90cm.
Voss has once again received the most snow in Norway over the past week, with another 30cm of fresh powder. It has Norway’s deepest snowbase at 115cm (nearly four feet). In Sweden Are and Vemdalen have both received similar new accumulations.
Most of Canada’s ski centres have healthy – if not as dramatically huge bases as Mount Washington, with Whistler benefitting from a healthy 75cm (2.5 feet) of new snow from the same Christmas storms, part of 1.8m (six feet) of snow received in the past week. In Alberta Nakiska is breaking skier visit records due to outstanding snow conditions and because guests have discovered all the recent enhancements including: trail improvements and the addition of ski runs, the new Monster Glades, snowmaking enhancements, added animation to the family learning area, and improvements to both the mid-mountain and day lodge.
It’s still snowing on the US West Coast, particularly California where Mammoth Mountain (picture attached) and with Mount Baker in Washington state, traditionally one of the snowiest places on earth, receiving a metre of snow in the past seven days. However the focus has been on the East Coast storms of the past few days which left the greatest accumulations of up to 1.2m (four feet) of new snow in New Hampshire with Cannon Mountain the leading beneficiary. The snowfall comes after a December of low temperatures allowed for plenty of snow making giving the region’s ski areas a superb base entering 2011.