Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fresh April Snow In The Alps, East and West North America

Although many resorts on both sides of the Atlantic have closed last weekend after Easter Sunday or plan to do so next weekend, quite a few of those that are still open to the end of April or in to May or June are able to report fresh snow fall – in some cases quite significant levels in the Austrian, French, Italian, Swiss and German Alps as well as in the Dolomites. More snow is expected towards the end of the week too as the snowline drops.
In North America there’s been cold weather and in some cases significant snowfalls at last in the East of the continent, with up to a foot (30cm) of new snow reported in the past 48 hours. Unfortunately however most resorts are already closed there.
Several resorts got fresh snow over the Easter holidays in Austria with Solden reporting almost a metre (98cm/3.3 feet to be exact). Solden has had more fresh powder on Tuesday again with more new snow so the slopes there are in a great shape. Nearby Obergurgl also saw healthy falls leaving both resorts in great shape for the rest of April. Other ski areas also did well including the Molltal Glacier (30cm), Serfaus Fiss Ladis (20cm) the Dachstein Glacier (20cm) and Alpbachtal (20cm). A few centimetres of fresh snow has also allowed Kitzbuhel to extend its season to May 1st with more than 20 slopes still open in the popular resort. The snow depth is 145cm (nearly five feet) at higher elevations. The country’s best snow depth is still at the Dachstein-Glacier with 580cm (nearly 20 feet!). At Zugspitzplatt Ehrwald there are 440cm and at Stubaier Glacier are 410cm. More new snow is expected for Wednesday and for the weekend in Tirol and Vorarlberg.
Resorts still open in France have seen some good fresh snow falls in many cases over the past week. Chamonix, which still has the country’s deepest snow base of 3.4m (11.3 feet) has had another 20cm of snow in the last seven days while the Grand Massif region including Flaine reported the biggest fall of 45cm (18 inches). In the southern Alps Isola 2000 had 25cm of new snow.
There have been some healthy snowfalls in Italy over the past week at the country’s leading resorts. Among the beneficiaries were summer ski centre Val Senales with 60cm (two feet), Madonna di Campiglio with 37cm of fresh snow and Cervinia with 30cm (a foot). In the dolomites Cortina d’Ampezzo had 25cm (10 inches) on new snow. The deepest snow base is above Passo Tonale on the Presena Glacier with three metres (10 feet).
There’s been new snow reported over the last few days in Switzerland, so the slopes are looking good for the last weeks of the season. Andermatt got 42cm, Crans Montana 40cm, Engelberg 40cm, Lotschental 32cm and Laax 15cm. The country’s higher slopes are in a good shape and skiers can enjoy the spring conditions. At the end of the week the snow line is expected to drop to 800m, so snow can be expected in some regions. The deepest snow can still be found at Engelberg with 595cm (20 feet), followed by Andermatt 400cm and Laax with 380cm.
With a few weeks of the season left at the snowiest resorts in the Pyrenees, snow depths are holding up. Vallnord in Andorra has the deepest in the region at 2.7m (9 feet) with Grandvalira (Soldeu and Pas de la Casa) still reporting up to 1.4m (nearly five feet) on upper slopes. Over the border in France Cauterets has the deepest snow in the region with a 1.7m (nearly six foot) base. Astun in Spain is on 1.2m (four feet).
Norway dominates Scandinavia in terms of snowfall totals and snow depths with coastal Voss reporting the region’s deepest base of 3.4m (11.3 feet) at present. It is one of the world’s top 10 recipients of snowfall volume in the past week too with another 42cm (16 inches) of snow falling.
Temperatures have risen after the snowy first week of April that allowed several Scottish ski areas to re-open, so they have since closed again. However Cairngorm has had new snow in the past 24 hours and is considering re-opening if conditions allow. Nevis Range has also had a few inches of new snow in the past few days and with more forecast later this week says it may re-open this weekend if conditions allow.
Many of Canada’s leading resorts closed after Easter Sunday but those still open on both sides of the country have in many cases benefitted from fresh snowfall and even those that haven’t had new snow have, in most cases, good bases that will see them through to the end of the season. Lake Louise, open to May 7th for example, is only 20cm off its all time snowfall record. Other resorts with a month or more of their winter still to go include Sunshine Village near Banff, Marmot Basin near Jasper and Whistler. Mount Washington (picture attached) has a huge snow base once again and plans to stay open until April 22nd, the Canadian National snowboard squad were training there over the weekend. On the East Coast there was much needed new snow in Quebec with Mont Sainte Anne still having half its runs open and an 84cm base.
Although many US ski areas closed at the weekend, there have been some significant snowfalls reported in both the East and west coasts of the country, so in some ways this was one of the most normal weeks of the 11-12 ski season. The biggest seven day accumulation has been at Big Sky in Montana which reports 75cm or two-and-a-half feet of snow, other resorts in the North west have again seen the most snow although fresh accumulations in Colorado and California were minimal. Utah resorts however reported up to 30cm (a foot) of new snow with Snowbird expecting to stay open in to May. Tahoe resorts didn’t see much new snow but they have announced extended seasons in some cases thanks to the big March falls and Alpine meadows, Kirkwood and Squaw Valley all look set to open at least at weekends to the start of May, possibly longer. Although there are hardly any ski areas still open in Eastern USA after the war March there was at last significant snowfall here with Killington one of the big beneficiaries, receiving 33cm (over 13 inches) in the past few days boosting its upper slope depth to 91cm (three feet). Mt Baker in Washington state continues to have the deepest snow pack in the US, North America and the world at 7.8 metres or about 26 feet!

1 comment:

Golfing Like a Pleasure said...

Geez, winter is about to end. Welcome summer!