As May gets underway – traditionally one of the quietest months in the ski calendar, the US looks likely to be the only country in the world with at least the number of ski areas open still in double figures according to research from snow reporting company skiinfo.co.uk: "Most people in the northern hemisphere have given up on snow sports for this year", said UK Skiinfo's manager Patrick Thorne, "But for those of us still obsessed with the white stuff year round, Skiinfo continues to provide weekly updates on what’s open around the world". May is usually the quietest month of the year for snow sports as most ski areas in the Alps, even those with summer ski glacier operations, take a break at the end of the winter, while in the southern hemisphere the ski season doesn’t usually get started until June. However while winter 2010-11 was fairly lacklustre in the Alps, massive snowfalls in Western North America – in some cases the biggest ever reported has left a dozen or so resorts still open there, with several boasting a snow pack of more than five metres (17 feet) and plans to stay open until July.
Only about a dozen glacier ski areas are expected to be open next week in the Alps, more than half of them in Austria and with all areas closed in France until summer skiing starts there on three glaciers in late June. Half a dozen areas are open in Italy and Switzerland including Glacier 3000 between Gstaad and Les Diablerets open weekends, Engelberg and Zermatt (picture attached) – the latter one of only two worldwide that opens every day of the year, or tries to (weather permitting), and operates Europe’s highest lifts at nearly 3,900m. The other is Austria’s Hintertux glacier.
Elsewhere in Europe there’ll be no reappear of Midsummer skiing in Scotland, where the last ski area closed on Easter Monday this year after temperatures headed towards +20C, but after the second successful year in a row for snowsports there for more than a decade.
In Scandinavia the season of 24 hour daylight and skiing or boarding under the midnight sun is nearly upon us at Riksgransen in the Swedish Arctic, while three Norwegian summer ski areas have either opened, or are about to, with spectacular snow accumulations of up to seven metres (23 feet) waiting.
Across the Atlantic, in Canada, Sunshine ski area near Banff is open in to the latter half of May and will soon be staging its annual Slush Cup. Glacier skiing and boarding is also possible at Whistler Blackcomb.
South of the border in the US half-a dozen ski areas, all sporting the world’s deepest snow bases, are open in California including Alpine Meadows, Boreal, Donner, Squaw Valley and Mammoth. Squaw Valley has announced a new superpipe will open there this weekend while Donner says it will be open to June at least, Mammoth to July. Other still open US resorts include Snowbird in Utah and Timberline in Oregon which is open almost year round and, even though it is now May, has reported more than 70cm (2.3 feet) of fresh snow in the past seven days.
Overall http://www.skiinfo.co.uk/ estimates that there are an average of 50 ski areas open worldwide in a dozen countries during May. A similar number of year-round indoor snow halls are now also open for those desperate for a summer snow fix in largely suburban locations in more than 20 countries worldwide.