Thursday, April 28, 2011

Season Ends For Most of Northern Hemisphere as more Records Set in North America

Most of the world’s ski area have now closed for the 2010-11 season, although over 100 in the northern hemisphere will be open this weekend for a final fling, others plan to stay open longer in to May and in some cases beyond.
The story of the season has continued for another week with the biggest falls in Western North America and resorts in the Alps very warm. This did not prevent good Easter Conditions at Europe’s highest ski slopes on the Klein Matterhorn with Cervinia on the Italian side of the area shared with Zermatt’s Switzerland still open from top to bottom over its huge vertical and reporting 10cm of fresh snow on Easter Sunday.
The season is now over at most US resorts but for several famous name areas it has been a record-breaking winter for snowfall, and those that are still open are racking up fresh snowfall even now. In Colorado Vail, which closed at the weekend, has reported more snow than ever before. Vail has received 511 inches (12.8m) of snow this winter, beating the previous record of 505 inches set in the 1977-78 season.
There has been little snowfall in the last week in Austria where about 25 ski resorts are still open. Only Sölden reports 12cm snowfall for the last seven days and the Stubaier Glacier had 5cm. Temperatures are going down in the next days and the snowline will be at 1700m. Open areas include the Mölltaler Glacier (300cm), Hintertuxer Glacier (255cm) and the Stubaier Glacier with 200cm snow depth at the mountain. In St. Anton/Arlberg (150cm) the skiing in continuing as well possible in the warm conditions as it is in Obertauern with 65cm snow depth. In Ischgl there’s 90cm snow at the slopes, this ski resort celebrates end of season with the famous Top of The Mountain Concert, on April 30th with The Killers performing.
About 30 ski areas are still open in France including many of the best known centres. The deepest snow is reported by Les 2 Alpes with 1.7m on upper slopes. La Plagne has reported 10cm of new snow in the past week, while Tignes got 5cm.
Snow depths have dropped in Italy where about 20 ski areas remain open, but are still at 2-3 metres at the glacier areas of Val Senales and Presana. Livigno has half its lifts open and 1.5m of snow on upper slopes.
High temperatures pushed every cloud away over the past week Switzerland got only 2cm new snow in Saas Fee. But there are still the deepest snow depths and the most open slopes in the Alps here. Around 30 ski resorts are open and bring skiers with ski lifts up to the top. Engelberg with a mountain station at 3000m has a phenomenal snow depth from 360cm, the deepest in the country. The glaciers offer the best ski conditions while summer starts in lower areas. As well as in Saas Fee and Andermatt snow depth are really good between 230cm and 241cm and Zermatt measures 90cm at the top.
The ski season ended over the Easter weekend in Spain and Andorra. Only Sierra Nevada remains open until next weekend. Baqueira Beret reported business for winter 10-11 was up slightly at around 750,000 skier days and that snowfall totalled 5.5m during the 149 day season. The Scottish ski season has come to an end, two months earlier than last year due to a lack of snow. Cairngorm Mountain, which has seen a healthy total of more than 130,000 skiers and snowboarders descend its slopes over a five month season since last November was the last of the five British ski areas to close, on Monday.
Norway’s summer ski areas aren’t open yet but a dozen or so of the country’s top resorts are still operating, albeit with bases down to a very thin 10-30cm in some cases, including Hemsedal which traditionally stages a big Mayday Festival next weekend. Voss continues to have some of the country’s best snow with a 2.5 base on upper slopes.
In Canada most of the ski areas have now closed for winter 2010-11 but there has been a few centimetres of fresh at still open Whistler Blackcomb on the west and Mont Sainte Anne in the East. Other still-open choices include Banff, Sunshine, Lake Louise and Marmot Basin.
Although most US resorts are now closed, two nearby Colorado resorts that are still open – Arapahoe Basin and Loveland – have both recently passed the 100 inch (2.5m) base level and, in Loveland’s case at least, may also set all time snowfall records. Loveland has had a foot (30cm) of new snow in the past few days and a similar amount is forecast for the next few days. So far it has received 536 inches of snow this winter and needs to pass 572 inches (the 1995/96 season total) to break records. Its season continues to May 8th. Arapahoe Basin has seen similar snowfalls recently although its season-to-date total is less than 400 inches (10 metres). It currently expects to stay open until at least June 5th. In California several resorts have set all-time snowfall records, including Mammoth Mountain which plans to remain open in to July. Squaw Valley is open weekends through May. Other still open options include Snowbird in Utah, Crystal Mountain in Washington state (which announced a foot of snow earlier this week and hopes to stay open to July) and Timberline in Oregon which aims to stay open almost year round (Closing for a few weeks in September). It issued a powder alarm for 41cm of new snow on Tuesday. Snowbird (picture took yesterday attached) also just reported it has received the most snow in its 40 year history at 690 inches (17.25m) . "This has been a remarkable season for Snowbird", said resort president Bob Bonar. "We’ll be celebrating with skiing until Memorial Day and most likely beyond, with conditions that are anything but typical spring skiing".

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