Thursday, July 7, 2011

Where To Ski This Week

Skiinfo reports the southern hemisphere’s ski season is continuing to ‘take off’ as more snow reaches Australia and some snow arrives in South America and New Zealand. In Europe more glacier ski areas are opening in Italy and Switzerland, but several report another 20-30cm weekly drop in snow depth, while across the Atlantic, after peaking with over a dozen ski areas open for national holidays in Canada and the US last weekend, only three are open this weekend. France still has three centres open although Val d’Isere is due to close the weekend after next. Les 2 Alpes and Tignes will both be open to late August and early September respectively. Snow depths range from 50-120cm.
In Austria three areas are open at Kaprun, Tux and the Dachstein glacier, but the latter reports another 30cm week-on-week decline in snow depth, now down to 50cm – less than half the 1.1m of a fortnight ago.
Italy’s summer ski choice count is back up to three with Cervinia re-opening this week to join Val Senales and Passo Stelvio – which reports the deepest snow in central Europe at 4 metres. The orther two ares have a perfectly adequate 1.2 – 1.5m.
In Switzerland the skiing is still good at year-round Zermatt but it will be joined by neighbour Saas Fee (picture attached) which re-opens its glacier slopes next Saturday, July 9th and will stay open daily to May 2012.
Norway’s three summer ski and board areas continue to have the world’s deepest snow depths at present. At Folgefonn which has a 7.1m base, deeper than anywhere else on the planet, there’s reported to be great weather and the big jump was and is being used for filming, so it's in good shape
The number of ski areas open in the North America has dropped dramatically after a record-breaking 13 ski areas were open north and south of the US-Canadian border for the continent’s holiday weekend last week when Canada day fell on Friday, July 1st and the US Independence Day on Monday July 4th. Only Crystal Mountain in Washington State has said it will stay open and join the year-round ski area of Timberline in Oregon after nine other US ski areas said July 4th had been the last day of the 2010-11 season. In Canada Whistler is still open for another few weeks of summer glacier skiing and boarding on the Blackcomb glacier.
In the southern hemisphere Australia’s great winter continues with resorts announcing a ‘powder day’ today. This follows three days with 20cm falling each day at resorts like Mt Buller and Perisher. Depths are reported to be up to 3 metres in drifts.
Things are gradually improving in New Zealand with some fresh snow at last with resorts reporting falls of 10-40cm in the past few days and conditions generally more like winter,. However bases remain rather thin with Mr Hutt and Whakapapa both around 40cm at best.
In South America it’s still mixed too. In Argentina Las Leñas finally opened on Monday (July 4) with a 55cm base but Catedral, the continent’s largest resort, still has only limited terrain open. It’s a similar picture at Chile’s leading resort Portillo and Valle Nevado.
In Africa Afriski is in good shape still with snow park open, a 1km long main slope with snow 50cm deep. The biggest problem at the moment is black ice on the access road.

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