Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fresh Snow In The Alps And Incredible snowfall In California

It’s been a snowy week on both sides of the Atlantic – the Alps have had the snow they’ve been waiting for and there’s been snow for the Dolomites and Pyrenees too, while Western North American resorts have seen huge snowfalls.
The snow in Europe hit first on the French Italian border before moving across the French alps and then also bringing heavy snow in parts of Austria and Switzerland where the biggest recorded accumulation was 60cm.
The Pyrenees has also seen more heavy snowfall with several powder alarms for 20cm (8 inches) or more of fresh snow in the past four days, sometimes on multiple occasions at the same resort.
The Dolomites too have had some good snowfalls with several resorts reporting up to 60cm (two feet) of snow in recent days.
Lots of snow was reported in Germany in the last 48 hours bringing 20cm of snowfall to Reit im Winkl, Alpspitz, Oberstdorf and Balderschwang. "Everything is white at the Moment, even in the valley", confirmed the marketing manager of Oberstdorf tourism. "Slopes are in a good shape because of the snow we had last autumn, now this base is reinforced". More snowfall is expected in the next days with temperatures staying low.
Meanwhile falls in North America have been ever more remarkable with most ski areas by Lake Tahoe reporting at least 3 metres (10 feet) of snowfall over the 3-4 days at the end of last week. The biggest accumulations were an incredible 5.1m (17 feet) in 7 days and the snow continued to deluge inland resorts as it moved East over Colorado and Utah.
Conditions are still good in Scandinavia but Scotland’s snow cover - although currently in good shape – may be threatened by a warm front that will bring double digit temperatures above zero in the next 72 hours for the first time in nearly four months.
The end of the weekend was the beginning of quite heavy snowfalls in Austria. In Pitztal and Soelden 21cm of new snow were reported. More resorts are glad to have 20 cm new snow now, like Kleinwalsertal, Silvretta and Gargellen. It is still snowing in some resorts, conditions for skiing are good. "We have a perfect winter panorama with the snow coming last night", says Leopold Holzmann from the Oetztal tourism office in charge of Obergurgl and Solden. "Slopes are in a good shape and we hope to hold this quality till the end of the season in the beginning of May".
In France up to 75cm of new snow has fallen on ski slopes in the past week, greatly refreshing snow conditions which were already still in good shape on most pistes over 1600m
The biggest falls were in the Pyrenees where between 35 and 75cm of snow fell including 75 cm at Formigueres, 50cm at La Mongie, 43cm at Gourette and 35 cm at Font-Romeu.
There was between 25 and 45cm of snow in the Southern Alps including 45cm at freeride centre la Grave, 35cm at Auron and 25cm at Vars and Risoul while the Northern Alps saw between 15 and 35cm on the northern Alps with 30cm at Valfréjus and Chamonix, 23cm at Tignes and 21cm at La Clusaz and Les Carroz). There were also powder alarms for 20-25cm of fresh snow at freeride centre Bonneval as well as St Gervais and Valfrejus on Sunday.
For the next few days, more new snow is expected, mainly over the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. Snow depth is around two metres at fifteen or so leading resorts.
Italy returned to wintery conditions over the past week and the country still boasts some og the deepest snow depths in Europe. There were good snowfalls across the north of the country, the largest last Wednesday, 16h February including in the Alps, Sestriere – Vialattea had 40cm (snow depth 140cm) and in the Dolomites the Presena Glacier got 50cm (taking its snow depth to five metres, the second deepest I Europe). The on the 17th Madonna di Campiglio received 55cm of new snow (taking snow depth 175 cm) and in Arabba Marmolada with 70 cm (taking the snow depth to 330cm). Most recently Cortina received 35cm on Monday, 21st February taking its snow depth to 170cm.
In Switzerland 41 ski resorts reported 20cm and more new snow from Sunday to Monday. That is next to a record and brings lots of skiers to the lift stations again. Ski-fans can test the new powder and definitely enjoy the white slopes. On Monday Gstaad, Engelberg and Loetschtal measured 30 cm – 40cm of new snow on higher slopes. In the last week a dozen resorts had snowfall between 30cm and 60cm. After a couple of weeks with nearly no snow worth mentioning this is what skiers were looking for.
There’s been fresh snow across the Pyrenees, in Spain there were powder alarms for Astun, Candanchu and other resorts on Saturday when more than 20m of snow fell. You’ll find same conditions in Andorra.
The snowfall has slowed a little in Norway with only one powder alarm at Kvitfjell but conditions remain generally good. Here’s a list of all snow depths in Norway.
Snow cover remains good across Canada. The snow is continuing to fall in Banff-Lake Louise, Alberta, with almost half a metre of snow this past week. This follows the best January in five years for snowfall. Last month, 167cm of dry, light snow blanketed the area – well above the 30 year average. "Bright blue skies between the snow storms and mild temperatures have produced amazing conditions for skiers and riders at Mt. Norquay, The Lake Louise Ski Area and Sunshine Village. And there’s plenty of time left to enjoy it with three and a half months of skiing still to go in Canada’s Protected Playground, Banff National Park", said a statement from the area.
There have been incredible snowfalls in California (USA) with several resorts around Lake Tahoe in California reporting more than 3 metres (10 feet) of snow had fallen during the week to Sunday, most of it over the previous 3-4 days. The biggest accumulation was 5.1m at Homewood, while Alpine Meadows base passed 6m (20 feet) – the greatest depth at any resort in Europe or North America this winter. The snow continued Eastwards and several feet of powder fell in Utah and Colorado earlier this week.

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