Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Where To Ski This Week: Fresh Snow In Austria

There remain only 10 areas open for snow sports in the northern hemisphere but the past week has seen an autumnal chill in the area at ski resorts in northerly latitudes and there’s been up to 21cm of fresh snow on Alpine glaciers reports Skiinfo.
However, the trend over the next few days is warmer weather, with possible double figures on the glaciers again – not good for snow cover.
You can currently choose between ski slopes in Austria (2), France (2), Italy (3), Switzerland (2) and the US (1) for your downhill snowsports.
In Austria the most snowfall in the past week has been reported by not-currently-open Sölden with 21cm, but the Molltal glacier in Carinthia has reported 10cm of fresh snow. The Dachstein glacier has had a centimetre of snow but is only open for cross country skiing, the other currently open downhill choice is the Hintertux (85cm) glacier.
It’s the last few weeks of summer skiing in France with Les 2 Alpes boasting the deepest snow depth at 125cm, Tignes has less with only 30cm but currently plans to stay open later in to September. It will re-open at the end of that month and then be the only French area open for several months to mid-November so will hopefully receive a top up soon.
In Switzerland the two choices remain Saas Fee (69cm, picture took today attached) or neighbouring Zermatt (92cm), with Europe’s highest slopes and a 365 day ski season.
Italy’s Cervinia (125cm) will offer summer skiing linked to Zermatt’s for a few more weeks. Passo Stelvio (400cm) continues to claim the deepest snow base in the world at 4 metres and Val Senales is also open but with thin cover (30cm).
Across the Atlantic only Timberline in Oregon, USA is open with more than a metre of snow lying and one of the best snow bases for many years after the epic winter 2011-12 there.
In the southern hemisphere the ‘feast or famine’ theme of the New Zealand 2011 ski season continues in ‘feast’ mode with more heavy snow – the downside being traffic chaos with blocked roads and accumulations of up to 60cm at resorts like Turoa on Monday.
In Australia conditions continue to fluctuate above and below freezing and there’s a mixed bag of weather however the good snow earlier in the season and the substantial top up at the start of August mean most resorts are still fully open with bases of 1 – 1.5 metres typical.
In South America conditions have continued to improve too with Portillo in Chile and Cerro Catedral, in Argentina reporting the best upper snow depths of 1,5 and 2 metres respectively, although most areas are now open as normal with at least 50-100cm bases.
Finally, in southern Africa, temperatures are well below freezing in Lesotho where the good winter 2011-12 continues. Afriski has received 10cm of fresh snow topping up base depths on 50cm and the main kilometre long run is wide open, along with the terrain park and nursery slope.

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