Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Heavy snowfalls in Europe and North America

California is back on form with falls of up to 1.5m (five feet) reported in the past week. Other areas of western North America including Alberta and BC resorts north of the border in Canada have also reported big new accumulations.
In the Alps temperatures have largely dropped again and snowfall has resumed in the past few days.
There were good snowfalls at the beginning of the week for some of the big ski resorts in Austria. Sölden reported 23cm on Tuesday, Molltaler Glacier 20cm, Pitztaler Glacier 17cm and Zugspitzplatt Ehrwald 15cm on the same day. During the past week Sölden has had the most new snow with 52cm, followed by Bad Gastein 35cm, Molltaler Glacier 30cm and Axamer – Lizum 25cm. The best snow depth is on the Dachstein Glacier with an impressive 550cm. The coming days will be mostly sunny and skiers and boarders can enjoy the good conditions.
Temperatures have fallen again in France and there has been some fresh snow, with the biggest falls in the past seven days (around 40cm) in the more southerly resorts like Isola 2000.
There’s been some fresh snow at the bigger northern ski areas too, particularly on higher slopes at resorts like Tignes and Val Thorens (15cm) and Flaine (20cm).
In Italy ski resorts have reported some of the biggest snowfalls in Europe in the past week led by Arabba in the Dolomites with 90cm (three feet) of new snow. There’s been snow on the western side of the country too though with Alagna reporting 48cm and nearby Gressoney in the Monterosa region of the Aosta Valley 40cm (16 inches).
Switzerland has had a good snow start in the week with powder alarms for 20cm (8 inches) or more of fresh snow on Monday at the Gstaad Glacier 3000 and Mountain Rides (30cm), Champex-Lac (25cm) and Elm with 20cm and on Tuesday in Saas Fee (25cm), Laax (20cm) and Samnaun (20cm). Most snow over the last seven days has been reported in Ebenalp/Appenzellerland with 40cm. At the moment there’s 556cm of snow (nearly 19 feet) on the higher slopes in Engelberg (the most of any resort in Europe), 400cm in Laax, 380cm in Champex-Lac and 370cm in Crans Montana Aminona.
Conditions remain largely good in the Pyrenees where some resorts have been receiving fresh snowfall since Saturday. Baqueira Beret in Spain has the deepest snow in the area with 2.7m (nine feet) lying on upper slopes, 1.3m (4.43 feet) on lower runs. In Andorra Vallnord has the most snow with up to 2.1m (seven feet) and in France Cauterets with 245cm (eight feet).
Most ski areas in Scandinavia are in good shape despite warm temperatures in the south of the region last week. Snow depths are up to four metres (13.3 feet) at Roldal in Norway with Voss on 3.5m (12 feet).
All five Scottish ski areas are currently closed due to lack of snow. Nevis Range currently looks the most promising to open limited terrain but all five centres badly need a very large snowfall.
Western Canada has returned to deep snow days with most resorts in Alberta and BC reporting 60-90cm (2-3 feet) of new powder snow in the past week. In Alberta with over a metre of new snow blanketing Banff National Park, all three of the park’s world-class ski resorts are experiencing truly exceptional conditions. Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise ski resorts are all heralding the massive snowfall as the perfect start to a great spring ski season in Canada’s flagship national park. "This is definitely one of the top ten March snowfalls on record", said Mike Moynihan of The Lake Louise Ski Area. "We’ve seen a metre of snowfall this week and with the storm cycle finally clearing and giving way to clear blue skies, skiers and boarders are simply lapping it up". It’s still snowing in the East of the country too with Mont Sainte Anne and Mont Sutton in Quebec among Canadian resorts reporting 30-40cm of new snow in the past seven days.
There have been still more huge snowfalls in western USA with resorts in California definitely back-on-form and recovering lost ground in terms of snowfall from earlier this season. Several resorts around the Tahoe area have reported around 1.5m (five feet) of fresh powder in the past week including Squaw Valley and alpine meadows. It’s not just California in the West that is doing well though. Resorts in Utah have reported up to 1.2m (four feet) of fresh snow and Mt Baker in Washington State has had yet another 151cm (five feet) of snow moving it further ahead of the field in the ‘resort with the deepest snow base’ table – now at 660cm (22 feet).
Colorado had heavy snow at the end of last week but then warm sunny days at the start of this week giving springlike conditions. That’s changing though with temperatures plummeting and more snow expected for the remainder of this week.East coast resorts are still reporting big snowfalls too, led by Gore Mountain in New York state with 99vcm (over three feet) of new snow.

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