Friday, February 4, 2011

Fresh Snow News - More Heavy Snow Across North America, In Europe Spain Gets Snowy

It has been another snowy week in North America with storms on the Eastern side of the continent bringing travel chaos but also great conditions in the East and Midwest. On the west coast snow has continued falling with Alaska getting the most snow of anywhere in the world in the past week with up to 1.2m (four feet) falling.
In the Alps it has been another cold and fairly snow-less week meaning pistes are typically hard packed and sometimes icy at higher elevations, with lower slopes more severely challenged. The good news is that the snowpack on upper slopes is generally good from falls in December and sometimes snowmaking, but off-piste powder is getting very hard to find and in all cases a good dump of fresh snow would help a lot. This has happened in a few resorts in the past week but not across the range.
There’s better news in the Pyrenees which has seen heavy snowfalls, particularly on the Spanish side and Europe’s most southerly resort Sierra Nevada, now claims the continent’s deepest snow base at 5m. There’s been more fresh snow in Scotland and Scandinavia too.
After a snowy period last week, there was a quiet weekend in Austria when skiers and boarders got to enjoy great powder where it had fallen in resorts like Fieberbrunn. Rauris reported 10cm of snow on Saturday and Ankogel 15cm fresh snow on Friday. The biggest accumulation during the week had Dachstein with 40cm snowfall. Several other resorts reported 15-30cm accumulations in the last seven days. The biggest snow depths (between 230cm-260cm) still can be found at the glaciers Mölltal, Hintertux, Pitztal and Dachstein.
Only two weeks before the main winter holiday, snow cover in France is generally lower than in recent seasons. However there has been some snowfall in the Vosges and Pyrénées, which saw up to 50cm of new snow at the weekend, allowing resorts there to open a few extra slopes. Between (50 cm at Piau Engaly, 40 cm at Peyragudes). In the same time, the Vosges found their winter colors with 20 to 40 cm. There was also some smaller snowfalls in the Southern Alps (5 to 10 cm on average but up to 30cm in Auron) and on the island of Corsica, where ski resorts are now open. Although thinner than usual, the snow cover is still very good at high altitude (up to 215 cm at top of slopes in Isola 2000) and reasonable at medium altitude. The average depth is 57cm at the base of slopes in the Southern Alps, 48cm in the Pyrenees and 35cm in the northern Alps.
In Italy ski resorts have had the biggest snowfalls in the Alps of the past week with resorts like Sauze d’Oulx among the few big name resorts in the central European mountain chain to resort big falls – 60cm (two feet) in its case. Here are all snow depths in Italy.
In Switzerland the most snowfall during the last seven days was reported in Airolo with 40cm. Andermatt and Davos reported 25cm and Laax 22cm. There was no new snowfall in the beginning of the week. It is sunny in Switzerland with temperatures close to zero. The best snow cover can be found in Engelberg (310cm), Andermatt (220cm) and Laax (210cm). Unfortunately new snow is not expected in the coming days.
It’s been a good week in the Pyrenees, at the weekend Spanish resorts in particular received large falls. Formigal (picture attached) saw some of the biggest falls with at least a metre of snow falling in resort and on the slopes. "Just when people thought that snow does not exist in Spain, all the mountains are looking white with everyone enjoying the fresh powder. With the Aramon team working around the clock to make the entire 100% of pistes open to the public, the following weeks should be great. Today, fresh powder and lovely sunshine awaited our guests", said Aramon commercial manager Jose Luis del Valle. Andorra ski resorts also reports great conditions for the weekend.
There’s been several good snowfalls across Norway over the past week with a number of resorts, including summer snow capital Stryn, issuing powder alrms. Here’s a list of all snow depths in Norway.
Canada has had another good week on both East and west Coasts. Mont Sutton in Quebec is one of the beneficiaries of snow storms moving up from the US issuing powder alarms for falls of more than 20cm on two successive days – today and yesterday. Nearby Mont Orford has had similar falls while over in the West Mount Washington has the second deepest snow base in the world and Whistler issued a powder alarm this week.
The severe weather that has brought travel chaos in the East Coast of the US has brought snow to the regions ski areas. Sugarloaf in Maine is one of numerous centres issuing powder alarms for snowfalls greater than 20cm in the past 24 hours, in its case the storm brought 23cm. Similar accumulations were reported for Smugglers Notch in Vermont, while Okemo, also in Vermont, reported over a foot – with 36cm, as did Loon Mountain and Wildcat, both in New Hampshire. In fact Loon has had more than a metre of snow in the past week, one of the world top three for snowfall. The heavy snowfall is continuing. Over in Western North America the snow is still falling too and some of the world’s best snow conditions are currently over there. Mammoth in California still has the world’s deepest snowpack, as it has for nearly two months now, with more than five metres of snow on upper slopes. Alyeska in Alaska has had the biggest snowfall in the world for the past seven days with 119cm (four feet).

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