Thursday, June 23, 2011

Where To Ski This Week

Skiinfo reports it has been a quiet week on the world’s ski slopes without much new snow anywhere. The French glaciers are now all open and more southern hemisphere ski areas are open, except in New Zealand where it remains unseasonably warm. In Austria the snow pack has declined at the remaining glacier slopes that are still open. In the Dachstein’s case down 20cm from 1.3m a week ago to 1.1m today. The Kitzsteinhorn is down 10cm to 1.7m – both centres say temperatures are reaching 5C on the glacier by early afternoon and as high as 8C at Stubai which has a 1.5m base. Tux has the most terrain open in the country at 22km with a two metre base.
In France all three summer ski areas are now open with Les 2 Alpes and Tignes (picture attached) joining already-open Val d’Isere last weekend. Both reported a few centimetres of fresh snow to pep up cover, which is deepest at les 2 Alpes.
Italy’s choice of summer skiing is down to two centres with the closure of the two intermediate runs on the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale after last weekend. Passo Stelvio reports the deepest snow depth in central Europe with up to four metres lying.
In Switzerland, Zermatt remains the only open ski centre option with a metre deep snowbase on its extensive glacier slopes, Europe’s highest.
It’s the end of the midnight sun ski season at Riksgransen in the Swedish arctic Circle, although the centre does plan to re-open for a final ‘Midsummer skiing’ weekend this Friday.
Norway’s summerski season remains in full swing with the three areas all boasting positions in the top five snowiest places in the world this week, led by Folgefonn with an incredible 7.1m (24 foot) base!
Arapahoe Basin has delayed plans to close after last weekend and will stay open weekends at least to the coming US Independence Day holiday where it will join Snowbasin and Snowbird in Utah, Mammoth, Alpine Meadows, Donner Ski Ranch, Kirkwood, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley USA, and Sugar Bowl in California; Timberline in Oregon and Crystal Mountain in Washington state in opening for skiing and boarding for Independence Day weekend next week.
In Canada Whistler has re-opened for summer skiing and boarding on Blackcomb glacier.
The so-far lousy start to winter 2011 continues in New Zealand where Turoa on the North island which was due to open this weekend join south island areas that are already ‘on hold’ for starting their season for several weeks as temperatures fail to drop quite low enough for consistent snowmaking or much natural snowfall.
Australia’s ski areas have had a mixed few days with some thawing but also fresh snow. Mt Hotham reports the average natural snowdepth is now 18cm after 5cm of new snow falling in the last 48 hours. The forecast ahead is a little mixed for the next week but there is certainly some snow in there. Snow flurries and a top of 1 degree is the plan for today with next Tuesday forecast to bring in blizzard conditions and up to 15cm of new snow, right in time for the first week of the Queensland school holidays.
In South America the season is getting underway. In Argentina Las Leñas hopes to open this weekend and has had fresh snow but Catedral has had to postpone its planned opening due to limited snowfall and also remains troubled by its proximity to the erupting Puyehue volcano.
600 miles north, Portillo in Chile is on target to open on the 25th but says operations will be limited, despite a 60cm base, with no heliskiing or off piste available yet.
In Africa, Afriski has a 1km long slope open with a 50cm base and reports excellent conditions.

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