Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fresh Snow All Over The World (Well, The Northern Half!)

Nearly all of the world’s leading ski nations on both sides of the Atlantic have reported healthy snowfall in the past week. Resorts on the East and West coasts of Canada and the USA have issued powder alarms for falls of 20cm or more in 24 hours, as have ski areas across the Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees and at several locations in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
The greatest snowfalls of the past week have again been recorded around California’s Lake Tahoe although the scale is a little less epic than it was a week ago, with seven day accumulations down from five to two metres. In second place the Pyrenees have seen up to 1.5m fall.
All five Scottish ski areas remain over though cover is not as complete as it was earlier this winter. Cairngorm appears to have the most lifts and runs operational at present. Fine weather in the Highlands with little wind has led to some superb ski days.
In Austria the most snowfall in the past week was reported above Sölden with 84cm (nearly three feet) followed by Obergurgl-Hochgurgl 45cm and Pitztal 30cm. Several ski resorts received a few centimetres of fresh snow on Monday or Sunday including Obergurgl 15cm, Galtür 10cm and St. Anton 5cm. Skiers can expect to enjoy the sunny weather at the moment with little new snow forecast in the coming days.
Conditions are now looking great almost everywhere in France after a rather challenging Februaary for those in search of fresh snow. Over the past 48 hours, the Pyrenees, the northern Alps and the far east of the Southern Alps (Queyras Valley) have recorded significant accumulations of up to a metre of new snow. The snow depth records at the top of the slopes have also increased greatly since last week, with 250cm at the top of Cauterets in the Pyrenees (190cm at the base level), 230cm at the top of Flaine, and 220cm in Isola 2000 and La Clusaz. Skiing conditions are excellent in this period of school holidays in France, but caution is now required since the avalanche risk is now high (level 3 or 4 / 5) in most mountain areas.
There have been some healthy snowfalls on both the East and West sides of northern Italy in the past 72 hours with first Arabba reporting a 60cm accumulation on Monday, then the 2006 Olympic Region in the West of Sestriere, Sauze d’Oulx and neighbouring centres reporting a similar fall yesterday (March 1st). Snow depths remain among the best in Europe with areas reporting up to 4.3m (over 14 feet) accumulations.
It’s been a good week for new snow across Switzerland with fresh snow reported all over the country. There were more than 30 Powderalarms with more than 20cm of new snow reported on Monday and another 30 Alarms on Sunday. Several big resorts got lots of snow with Gstaad reporting 40cm, Engelberg 30cm and Laax 30cm. For the last seven days 70cm of total snow fall was measured in Zermatt and Gstaad, Laax reported 56cm. The biggest snow depth can be found in Engelberg with 365cm (12 feet) off snow followed by Gstaad with 265cm.
It has been another good week in the Pyrenees with multiple powder alarms through the past seven days on both the French and Spanish (and Andorra) sides of the mountains. Baqueira Beret (picture attached) in Spain reported a metre of snow in 48 hours and on the French side St Lary reported the second greatest snowfall in the world with 1.5m of snow in seven days.
There’s been more snow in Norway where resorts have some of the deepest snow bases in Europe thanks to consistent falls in many areas through the season. Voss has some of the deepest snow in the region with a near three metre base. The last widespread falls were last Sunday 27th February when Hemsedal was among the resorts adding 12cm to its base.
Resorts on both East and West Coasts of Canada have been reporting good snowfall over the past week. In British Columbia a major snowstorm has been hammering Fernie Alpine Resort over the past few days delivering over 35cm of snow on Monday. More is expected throughout the week. Mike Falcon, host of The Adventure Show in Vancouver, was at Fernie Alpine Resort on Sunday and described the snow conditions as "EPIC!".
There’s been lots more fresh snow on both the East and West sides of the US with resorts in New England issuing multiple powder alarms. The West Coast has again received more snow than anywhere else in the world over the past seven days but the falls have been more widely spread with resorts in Idaho and Utah as well as the usual California topping the world snowfall league over the past week. To take advantage of the great snow and all the new developments, Canyons has just announced its staying open an extra week – until the 17th April.

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