Archive for March, 2009

Sunny Spring Skiing On Huge Snowbase To Last Longer As Resorts Extend Season

March 23rd, 2009 reports that although the snow falls are decreasing and in
most cases temperatures are rising as Spring nears, there have still been
significant snowfalls in many ski areas over the past seven days. These
continue to top up huge bases which will allow many ski areas to remain open
in to May, should they wish.

Last Thursday and especially on Friday there were still big snowfalls in
Austria with up to 70cm (28 inches) at the Tauplitzalm on Friday
contributing to a total of 115cm – nearly four feet – in 7 days.

The Austrian snowfalls continued on Saturday with a couple of Powderalarms
issued by at the SkiWelt which received 50cm (20 inches) in 48
hours since. Most other resorts got around 30cm (a foot) on Friday already
and another 20cm (eight inches) on Saturday taking upper slopes depths of
240cm (eight feet).  Snow depth on the Kaprun and Dachstein glaciers remain
above four metres (14 feet) which bodes well for summer skiing this year.

German resorts also had up to 40cm of snow last Friday at Jenner by
Berchtesgaden.  Oberstdorf now has snow cover of up to three metres (10
feet), one of the deepest in the country.

In France there were snowfalls last Wednesday (11th March) with 30-40cm (12
- 16 inches) of snow at many resorts in the northern Alps including
Chamonix, La Plagne and Val d’Isere.  The French winter to date has been
reported to be 1.2 degrees  colder than usual and one of the three coldest
of the past 20 years.

In Switzerland Disentis got 40cm (16 inches) of snow on Thursday and there
were some smaller snowfalls on Friday.  Andermatt is reporting the deepest
snow in the country with a 460cm (Over 15 feet) base with Zermatt on 397cm
(just over 13 feet),  Engelberg on 385cm (just under 13 feet) and  Saas Fee
353cm (just under 14 feet).

Italy has had a mostly sunny week with Courmayeur receiving the most snow -
another 30cm (foot).  Sella Nevea in the North East of the country has the
most snow with 640cm (21 feet) on upper slopes .  The warm weather is
reported to have increased the avalanche risk.

Spain has also had sunny days and spring skiing conditions in Spain over the
past week. Sierra Nevada will offer half price ski tickets after the Easter
holidays and have announced that the season will last for an extra fortnight
to at least mid-May because of all the snow.  The resort, Europe’s most
southerly, currently has five metres (17 feet) of snow on its slopes and
100km (63 miles) of piste open. Other Spanish ski resorts are almost as well
endowed and have between 170cm (six feet) and 260cm (12 feet) of snow.

In Andorra on the French Pyrenees there have been similar dry sunny
conditions with skiers enjoying the deep snow bases across the southern
European mountain range. Cauterets in the French Pyrenees has the greatest
snow depth in France with 480cm (16 feet) on upper slopes.

In Scandinavia it has also been one of the most peaceful weeks of the winter
with mostly clear skies, although Klppen resort got 17cm (seven inches) of
new snow over the past week. The Swedish weather service has published a map
showing that more than half of Sweden still has snow coverage of at least
50-75 cm (20 – 33 inches), one of the best levels of snow cover at this time
of the season for many years.

In Scotland conditions are the worst they’ve been for several months with
Glenshee and The Lecht closed due to lack of snow cover and limited terrain
open on the tops at the other three centres – Cairngorm, Nevis Range and
Glencoe. Current warm weather won’t help matters.

In Eastern Europe snow conditions are holding up with cooler weather on this
side of the continent. Bulgaria’s three major resorts have had small
snowfalls over the past week and expect up to 15cm (six inches) more by the
weekend. Bansko has the most snow accumulated with 240cm (8 feet) on upper
slopes. At Borovets its 210cm (7 feet) and in Pamporovo 90cm (three feet).

In the Czech and Slovak republics there has been heavy snow in high altitude
ski resorts so very good conditions are projected for the coming weekend
with 90 ski resorts open in Slovakia and 65 in the Czech Republic.  The
deepest snow, 180cm (six feet) is to be found at Chopok South in Slovakia
and Praden Ovčárna in the Czech Republic.

In North America, Canada’s Alberta and British Columbia are reporting some
of the greatest snow accumulations of the past week.  With resorts like
Sunshine and Whistler open in to May this is good news for superb Spring
skiing conditions.  Whistler reported 77cm (over 2.5 feet) of fresh snow at
mid-mountain level over the past seven days including 18cm (seven inches) in
the past 24 hours.

In the US there’s been more fresh snow in the West with Telluride in
Colorado announcing plans to extend its season by a week.  The Canyons in
Utah reported 15inches (37cm) of new snow falling to create great powder
conditions. In New England more Springlike conditions with warmer
temperatures have been reported.

In Asia, a spokesman for Niseko ski resort in Japan told, “We
have experienced some beautiful sunny weather and mild temperatures along
with the occasional winter storm so far this March. Temperatures are on the
rise a little now with most days seeing the mercury rise above freezing
level but with the snow base holding strong at 3.9 metres (13 feet), we can
expect some great Spring skiing conditions.”

Following the announcement of fresh snow at Mt Hotham in Australia last
week, New Zealand’s Ruapehu reported fresh snow last week. Although the
southern hemisphere ski season is more than two months off, the mountain was
blanketed in a cover of fresh white snow. There would be as much as 10cm’s
on the upper slopes.
“March has definitely seen much cooler temperatures after what has been a
really good warm summer.” said Mike Smith of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts.

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