Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where To Ski This Week: Summer Skiing Season Winds Down in Europe

Skiinfo reports summer ski season in Europe is now winding down for a quiet first few weeks of September before the countdown to 2011-12 really kicks off in the middle of the month as the ‘Ski Opening’ festivities began at glacier ski areas in Austria and Switzerland. In the southern hemisphere they’re still enjoying last week’s huge snowfalls in New Zealand and conditions are largely good in other countries too.
It’s been a warm week in the Alps leading to declining snow cover on the nine glacier areas still open, with some bare patches emerging at most of them and snow depths below 30cm in some cases and no fresh snow reported in the past week.
This weekend will be the last of the summer ski season for Cervinia in Italy and Les 2 Alpes in France but it remains possible to ski in to September on the Molltal and Tux glaciers in Austria, the Saas-Fee (picture attached) and Zermatt glaciers in Switzerland, Val Senales and Passo Stelvio in Italy and Tignes in France. Passo Stelvio still reports the same 4 metre base it has been reporting all Spring and summer, which if correct is the deepest in the world at present, although fresh snow in New Zealand is now coming close to taking the title.
Across the Atlantic conditions are reported to be still good at the only North American ski area currently open – Timberline in Oregon (USA), which is still benefitting from the huge snowfalls in the region of last winter and spring.
In the southern hemisphere resorts in most countries are continuing to report fresh snow and largely good conditions.
New Zealand continues to have the best snow with a snow depth tantalisingly close to three metres at Turoa (298cm) and once travel chaos cleared following 50-80cm snowfalls across the country last week – the biggest snow fall in three years - large numbers of skiers and boarders have been heading to the slopes. Fortunately sunshine is forecast for the coming weekend so it’s looking ‘Epic.
Conditions are mixed but still generally good at most Australian ski areas. Perisher, the largest, reports a 147cm base and 9cm of new snow in the past week.
In South America there’s been more snow in both Argentina and Chile, where marketing staff are keen to say the season is now going well, "In spite of our slow start this season, we're having a banner season with lots of snowfall, and absolutely spectacular conditions, fresh powder every week and lots of sunshine!", said Kristina Schreck of Valle Nevado.
Finally , in southern Africa, Afri-ski in Lesotho, which is now in its last two weeks of its 2011 season, says conditions are good for the time of year. It still has a kilometre long, 50cm deep slope and although temperatures are now creeping above freezing, describes conditions as ‘pristine.’

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