Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fresh Snow News - Norway Gets Best Of Europe’s Snow, Still more for North America

It has been yet another week of limited snowfall in the Alps, which the snowpack that built up at the end of last year still holding up at higher altitudes but with serious need of a good fall to replenish slopes below 1500m and give something for frustrated off piste skiers and boarders to enjoy.
Anyone looking for powder would do well to look north or west as Norway tops the world table for snowfall this week, with some areas reporting up to 1.8m (six feet) of new snow in the past seven days. Out in North America there has been heavy falls across the East of the continent and, once again, in the West with many resorts in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and British Columbia reporting a foot or so more snow in the past 36 hours.
In Germany the biggest competitive event of world skiing is underway at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bavaria), the World Ski Championships opened on Monday night. The Alpine contest takes place in one of Germany’s most important resort for winter sports. It has been quite warm there with temperatures reaching 5 degrees and sunny. The slope for the first race on Tuesday was a bit icy but the athletes managed it well. Garmisch-Partenkirchen has a snow depth from 100cm on the mountain and down in the valley 40cm. The best snow depth can still be found on the nearby Zugspitze glacier with 200cm.
Elsewhere it has been snowing again on Scotland’s slopes and snow depths are good along the southern European slopes with 60cm bases on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica and Europe’s most southerly ski centre, Sierra Nevada (Spain), reporting the continent’s deepest snow base of five metres.
After the best falls in the Alps two weeks ago, Austria is again waiting for fresh snow. The slopes are still in a good shape but there is not much for free riders. A few centimetres of new snow have been reported from Sölden and Stubaital. The glaciers conserve the snow best so there are still 260cm in Mölltal. Kitzsteinhorn-Kaprun the ski resort with the country’s biggest vertical of 2129m has 175cm of snow on higher slopes.
There has been almost no snow in France in the past week – a few small resorts report a few centimetres, bigger resorts often report larger falls on the tops in June or September! However snow depths on upper slopes are holding up well, around 1.8m (six feet) or more at resorts including Alpe d’Huez, Flaine and la Rosiere.
Italy has received almost no snow in the past week, but its ski areas still have the deepest snow in Europe, the most 4.5m (15 feet) on the Presana glacier above Passo Tonale.
It is sunny all over Switzerland but there’s been nearly no new snow during the past week in Switzerland. However ski conditions are still good, the resorts say. "We have best conditions for winter sports", says Britta Maier from the marketing office in Laax. "All lifts and slopes are open. We have around 100cm of snow depth and the snow park and half pipe are open too".
Snow depths in the French Pyrenees, Spain and Andorra are holding up reasonably well as 60-120cm in most areas with the large falls of fresh snow of a week ago giving the slopes a fresher feel than most of the Alps at present.
Scandinavia has seen to biggest snowfalls anywhere of the past week. The little known village of Jolstal (Norway) has received morer snow than anywhere else on earth in the past seven days – 1.6m.
There have been healthy new snowfalls on Canada's East and West Coast . In Quebec Mont Sutton reported repeat snowfalls of 20cm or more in recent days, while over on the West Big White in British Columbia was one of several reporting heavy snowfall on Monday morning with another 25cm of fresh powder added there.
Snowfall continues to be abundant right across USA as the country excellent snow season continues. In the past 24 hours there have been still more heavy snowfalls – particularly in Colorado and Utah, where most major resorts have reported 20-40cm of fresh snow. California still has the planet’s deepest snow base as it has done for two months now, with Mammoth’s slopes still coated in more than five metres (17 feet) of snow. Among 30 or more powder alarms from the region on Tuesday, Steamboat (picture attached) reported 36cm of new snow, Crested Butte 23cm and Breckenridge 25cm. In Utah, Canyons had 20cm and Brighton 30cm. There was plenty of fresh snow in Eastern North America again at the weekend too, carrying on from the giant traffic-chaos inducing storms of the past week. The Lake Placid Olympic venue of Whiteface in New York state was one of those reporting big fresh accumulations.

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