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How good was the skiing this season?

May 24th, 2011
Nick Ski Three Valleys

Nick Ski Three Valleys

With France Meteo saying the least snow in a generation and HAT (Henrys Avalanche Talk) saying the least snow since 1949…. Well, from 11th December until the beginning of April the 3 Valleys had at least 90% of pistes open but generally 95%.

What really happened?

As always we started to ski in November in Val Thorens and finished as planned 8th May. This season the snow and cold weather arrived about a month ahead of average and by the opening day of Courchevel 4th December and the 3 Valleys links there was far more snow than normal and what a great first day we had skiing back home to La Tania. Then, a huge temperature change with rain and very warm weather, you could almost see the snow melting in resort. However things picked up and the week of 11th December was fabulous with around 50cms at mid station and a few classic powder days. Then, on New Year week after some more snow the Grande Couloir opened the earliest I remember in 10 years. This indicated that we had a huge amount of snow base higher up as the steepest run in Europe is very rocky and normally opens at the end of January. We then had a medium powder day on Wednesday 12th January followed by rain up to around 2300 metres which put a crust on almost all the off piste. The pistes were pisted and we started to enjoy some fabulous piste skiing but the off piste was impossible to ski below around 2700mtrs, very cold and sunny days for week after week until the week of 19th February when the snow returned. By this time the pistes were becoming very hard packed, not icy though, but the best skiing was in the first couple of hours. The sunny slopes like Mur and the bottom of Marmottes started to close even though it was very cold the sun was melting these and similar facing pistes throughout the 3 Valleys. .

The season then seemed to be more normal with a few medium snowfalls which freshened the pistes and made the off piste much better but extremely dangerous on steeper slopes because the layers of snow had not and were not bonding.

So, March progressed and the final sting in the tail happened with temperatures reaching heights that had not been seen since the late 1800s. The snow then started to melt rapidly and many pistes were closing by the start of April. Folyeres kept going until 8th April and after then we were basically 2 weeks ahead of normal which would mean everywhere except Val Thorens would normally be closed. However, the outstanding work by the piste bashers continued to astound us and the Three Valleys links were kept open until Easter Monday with some downloading into Mottaret for the last week .

So, to sum it all up a season of extremes, generally cold and sunny season until the end of March and then very warm. Only a few snow falls after December but by then the base was well above average and helped tremendously by the snow making facilities and the skills of the piste basher drivers who took snow from everywhere possible at the sides of the pistes. Did we have fun? Of course what could be better than being in the mountains with lots and lots of sunny weeks. How about our guests? On a number of occasions when ski hosting the guests said it was one of their best days skiing ever. It was especially important to pick the best routes and pistes this season but there was lots and lots of fabulous skiing to be had. See you next season.

Many thanks to Nick Ski Three Valleys for this article.

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Snow Conditions

Ski Season Begins To Wind Down But More Big Snowfalls Reported

April 8th, 2010

New snow over the Easter holidays has given a great powder base for many of the resorts still open in the Alps, while across the Atlantic the latest round of huge snowfalls on the west of the North American continent has left more resorts extending their seasons with waist-deep April powder. Conditions remain good in Scotland and Scandinavia too.

There were heavy snowfalls in the German speaking areas of the Alps over Easter with Andermatt seeing over a foot (35cm) of new snow. This was part of a total one metre (40 inch) fall in the past seven days, the largest in Switzerland. The Andermatt-Gotthard region also reports the biggest snow depth in the country at present with 3.5m (nearly 12 feet) on upper slopes.

St. Moritz also reported 15cm (six inches) of fresh snow on Sunday. Martin Berthod, the resort’s sports and events manager, said, “The snow conditions are still excellent all over the Engadin.”

The 4 Valleys has also reported good snowfall in the past week, with 75cm (2.5 feet) of new snow and Laax has had yet another 60cm (two feet) taking its snow depth to 220cm (7.3 feet).

Glacier ski areas currently have some of Switerland’s deepest snow with Engelberg reporting three metres (ten feet) and Saas Fee a few centimetres/inches less with 289cm.

The snow depth in the French Alps is very good for the end of season with 183.6cm (6.2 feet) average on the top of the slopes in the Northern Alps and 229.6cm (7.6 feet) average for the Southern Alps

It has snowed a lot the last week in the French Alps with Skiinfo posting 24 Powderalarms for snowfalls in excess of 20cm (8 inches) in 24 hours in Sunday.

Serre Chevalier reported 65cm (2.2 feet) of fresh snow and Puy St Vincent 40cm (16 inches) just on the one day.

In Austria sunny weather is forecast for the next few days and on many Austrian slopes there is still lots of snow – so conditions for spring skiing are fine.

Sölden, for example, got fresh snow again and issued a powder alarm for more than 20cm (8 inches) of new snow on Monday. 31 of the ski resort’s lifts are still running and the sky there is cloudless.
It received 40cm (16 inches) in total through the last week and currently has a snow depth of 251cm (8.3 feet). Lech Zürs am Arlberg has had 35cm (14 vinches) of new snow in the past week.
There are a dozen Austrian resorts with two metres or more of snow on their slopes. The Mölltal glacier has the biggest snow depth of 390cm (13 feet), Hintertux has more than three metres (10 feet), too.

In Germany to the north the Zugspitze got lots of fresh snow again with 20cm (8 inches) more on Monday and 35cm (14 inches) on Good Friday. Feldberg in the Black Forest also received another 20cm (eight inch) fall in the past week.

Many French ski resorts are still open during April and six will remain open into May. Bonneval sur Arc will close on the 1st of May, Val d’Isère on the 2nd and Chamonix Mont-Blanc, where the upper slope snow depth went back above 4 metres (13.3 feet) this week, as well as Tignes, Val Thorens and La Grave la Meije are open another week to May 9th.

Over the past week Pelvoux-Vallouise and Puy St Vincent have both reported a metre (3.3 feet) of new snow, Le Grand Bornand 82cm (2.6 feet) and Serre Chevalier 80cm (2.6 feet).

Chamonix currently has the top snow depth with 405cm (13.5 feet), La Clusaz has 310cm (10.3 feet) and Alpe d’Huez and La Grave 300cm (10 feet). Serre Chevalier is just behind on 290cm (9.6 feet).

Italy has topped the table in Europe for the most snow in the past seven days with Madesimo reporting 1.2m (four feet) of new Spring powder. Arabba and the Marmolada Glacier was second on the continent withy another metre (3.3) feet and there was about 60cm (two feet) more in Val Gardena in the Dolomites and Monterosa in the alps.

Marmolada currently has the deepest snow in Europe too, with 5.2m (17.3 feet). Passo Tanale’s Presena glacier is second with 4.2m (14 feet).

In Northern Europe, despite warmer weather during the Easter holidays, skiing conditions remain good at most open resorts in Scandinavia. In Sweden there’s also been some small amounts of new snow in Tandådalen – 8cm (three inches) in the last seven days.

This week and next there’s a lot of attention at Åre since Jon Olsson Super Sessions started on Monday and will continue until the 17th of April. One of the highlights during the week will be the Big Air competition, as well as the Jon Olsson Invitational on the 15th with some of the world’s best jibbers in resort. The ten days are full of activities including parties, various competitions, a rail park in Åre town square and of course apres-ski.

In Scotland CairnGorm’s best season for decades continues with 40cm of fresh snow in the past week, one of the world’s biggest accumulations.

The Scottish ski area saw over 2000 skiers take to the slopes on Good Friday to check out the recent fall of snow, which was perfectly timed to provide excellent snow cover across the mountain for Easter skiing and boarding.

It is expected that skiing will continue to be available throughout not only the Easter holidays but right through April and into May. The resort will be open daily for snowsports until 3rd May (the bank holiday weekend) and thereafter every weekend in May, conditions permitting.

“Coming on top of the 117,000 skiers we have already had this season, Friday’s figures set us on course for a grand finale to double last year’s total of 65,000 skiers for the season by the end of April.” said spokesman for CairnGorm Mountain Colin Kirkwood.

A number of special Easter events are taking place. The resort has arranged to open for evening skiing on Thursday 8th April when a number of lifts will remain open from 4pm until 7.30pm. Rides on the resort’s piste-bashing machine and skidoos will be available for non-skiers.

Also for non-skiers on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th April Physics will be coming to the Mountain when a team from the Institute of Physics in Scotland will invite visitors to skewer balloons, make rockets with alka-seltzers and make water defy gravity as they highlight the relevance of physics to their lives.

The ski season is winding down in the Pyrenees with warmer temperatures bringing classic Spring freeze/thaw conditions and a relaxed vibe on the slopes.

One of the region’s largest resorts, Baqueira Beret in Spain, has already closed, but Formigal, the largest in the area still has 1221km (76 miles) to enjoy and snow depths of 220cm (7.3 feet). Andorra’s ski areas are also still open.

Europe’s most southerly major ski area, Sierra Nevada, still has five metres of snow on upper slopes and plans to stay open in to May.

In Eastern Europe it is generally ‘melt down’ with the snow gone, or mostly gone, from lower areas but on the other hand Poland’s leading centre of Zakopane reported 40cm (16 inches) of new snow on Tuesday.

North America and particularly California and Utah in Western USA have seen the biggest snowfalls of the past week, with particularly huge accumulations reported at Brighton in Utah with 228cm (7.6 feet) in seven days. Snowbird, Alta and Solitude have also reported more than two metre (6.7 feet) accumulations.

It’s almost as good in California where almost all resorts have reported between 1 and 1.5m (3.3-5 feet) of new snow over the Easter weekend. It’s a shame the majority of ski areas in the region have closed already or close in the next seven days.

There’s been new snow elsewhere in Western North America too, with Colorado resorts benefitting and Grand Targhee in Wyoming the latest to announce an extended season. 1.6m (63 inches) of snow have fallen there this past week, and another 35cm (14 inches) has arrived yesterday morning.
Grand Targhee will run Dreamcatcher chairlift for an extra week, through to Sunday April 18. The chair will run from 10 am to 3 pm, and offer limited facilities.

It’s a different story on the East Coast alas where extremely warm weather has caused a rapid thaw at most areas.

To the north Whistler Blackcomb has announced the decision to extend skiing and riding on Whistler Mountain by one week. Whistler Mountain’s last day of operations will be Sunday, April 25 while Blackcomb Mountain’s last day of operations will be Monday, May 24.

“With over 1,353 centimetres (533 inches) of snow so far this season and a current snow base of 363 centimetres (143 inches), this incredible season is far from over,” says Dave Brownlie, president and chief operating officer at Whistler Blackcomb. “The great snow was a key factor in deciding to keep Whistler Mountain open an additional week, but guest feedback about Whistler Mountain closing during the second week of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival played a big role in the decision as well. We listened to the feedback, then reviewed and revised the required lift maintenance schedule, allowing us to extend Whistler Mountain’s winter operations by one week.”

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Ski & snow news, Snow Conditions

The Return Of The Big Snowfalls

March 1st, 2010

It has snowed a lot on all the French mountains in the past week, but it is the Southern Alps that have benefited most from the new snow. 85cm (almost three feet) of snow fell, for example. in Puy Saint Vincent last week. Serre Chevalier received 71cm (2.4 feet) and Isola 2000 70cm.

Olivier Saez chief operator of Puy Saint Vincent said, “The snow conditions are very good as we have had regular snowfalls since the end of December. The snow depth is 230cm on the upper slopes and 165cm on lower slopes. The 85 cm of fresh snow in the past week feel at a regular rate so were able to maintain the slopes without operating difficulties. The ski area is perfectly secure and the PIDA (Plan of Intervention Trigger Avalanche) is working. Avalanches are triggered using a CATEX – a cable which has explosives attached to trigger avalanches in zones where snow has accumulated. There is no risk to skiers who stay on the ski slopes, but we strongly advise against going off-piste because we have an avalanche risk of 4 /5.”

Chamonix Mont-Blanc currently has the deepest snow in France with 405cm (13.5 feet). Other resorts including alpe d’huez and Flaine have more than 2.5m (8.3 feet).

Italy has also seen some big snowfalls in the past week with powder alarms issued for 24 hour falls as big as 50cm (20 inches), Courmayeur, La Thuile and Val Gardena issued alarms for 20cm.

Limone Piemonte has received the most snow in Italy over the past 7 days with 110cm (nearly four feet) but Aprica and Arabba have both had a metre too. Arabba also has the country’s second deepest snow depth with 3.8m (13 feet) on the Marmolada glacier. The most is on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale with 420cm (14 feet). Bormio has three metres (ten feet) of snow on upper slopes – the most of an Italian resort without a glacier.

Though snowfalls have been more moderate than a week ago in the German speaking ski areas of Europe, many important resorts in Austria have received respectable amounts of new snow in the past week days.

Sölden got 33cm (11 inches), Axamer – Lizum above Innsbruck as well as Nassfeld and the Stubai valley had 30cm (a foot) each. Similar snowfalls took place in Montafon and Kleinwalsertal. Many more resorts like Ischgl, Söll or the glaciers of Pitztal and Hintertux received at least 10-15cm (4-6 inches) of powder.

A dozen Austrian resorts including Sölden and St. Anton now have snow depths of around two metres (nearly 7 feet) or more on upper slopes. The Mölltal glacier stays on top of the list with up to 350cm(nearly 12 feet).

In Switzerland, Engadin – St. Moritz has accumulated 40cm (16 inches) of new snow over the past seven days and now reports two metres of snow on top of the mountain. Saas Fee and Klosters both also reported snowfalls of 23cm (9 inches) in seven days, Andermatt and Engelberg received 20cm (8 inches). As in Austria the avalanche danger has lowered a little in Switzerland and is generally at the mid-range level of 2-3.

In Germany the ski resorts of Oberstdorf received the most fresh snow issuing powder alarms because of 20-25 cm snowfalls on Saturday. Lots of other resorts in the central uplands as well as in the Alps reported at least some new snow.

Up in Scandinavia the last week has brought some serious amounts of snow in the southern parts of Sweden. Snowfalls up to 60cm (two feet) have been reported in some places. This has caused serious problems on roads and for the railways. The Swedish weather service have reported snowfall records for several cities and regions in the south of Sweden, some of which hadn’t been broken for over 30 years. For example the small ski resort of Mullsjö has a snow depth of 92cm (3.1 feet).

However most ski areas in Sweden are located further north where it hasn’t been snowing that much. In the north the small village of Gielas has had the coldest temperature of the winter with – 40.8C. For the north the most snow in the last seven days has been reported for Ski Sunne with 25cm (10 inches) followed by Kläppen with 24cm (10 inches) and Ramundberget with 15cm (six inches) which still has the biggest snow depth in Sweden, along with Vemdalen, both reporting 120cm (four feet).

There’s been some good snowfalls in Norway too, the coastal resort of Voss posted a powder alarm with 25cm (10 inches) of new snow on Wednesday.

Scotland’s remarkable ski season continues with more heavy snow this week, underling that for Cairngorm Mountain at least, this is probably the most consistant as well as deepest snowfall winters for three decades.

The resort plans to celebrate by setting a world record for the most people skiing in kilts on the weekend of 6/7 March, with a line of kilted 500 skiers and boarders descend the main run at once the aim.

In Spain Sierra Nevada continues to have the greatest snow depth in Spain with five metres (nearly 17 feet) on their upper slopes and is now opening a total of 101 kilometres of pistes. But also all Pyrenean ski resorts have reached snow depths close or over two metres (nearly seven feet).

Weather conditions have dramatically increased the avalanche risk in all Spanish ski resorts making off piste skiing especially dangerous. Top Spanish ski resorts have reported powder snow. Formigal has up to 240cm (8 feet) of snow and 136 km open, with Boi Taull on three metres (10 feet).

In Andorra it has been warmer and there’s no new snow but conditions are still reported to be reasonably good thanks to the snow base of more than a metre.

On the French side of the Pyrenees Cauterets has the deepest snow with 290cm (nearly 10 feet).

In Eastern Europe it has been warmer in the past week with little new snow reported anywhere. Conditions are reported to be holding up at most major centres, but colder weather and fresh snow is needed.

Resorts across the US have been firing off powder alarms over the past 48 hours. Killington reported 28cm (11 inches) of new snow and neighbouring Vermont resort Mount Snow, 32 cm (13 inches). On the other side of the country Homewood in California received 20cm (8 inches) of fresh powder yesterday while nearby Alpine Meadows had 33cm (13 inches) taking its base depth to 338cm (11feet).

Colorado’s resorts have also been receiving a lot of fresh snow. None more so than Silverton Mountain with 120cm (48 inches) during a weekend storm. It snowed three inches (7.5cm) an hour much of the weekend which left some extremely deep powder snow skiing.

Mt Washington in British Columbia has the deepest snow on the continent with 4.9m (16.3 feet).

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Ski & snow news, Snow Conditions

Heavy Snow Returns To Europe

December 2nd, 2009

www.Skiinfo.co.uk has issued hundreds of powder alarms in the past 72 hours as resorts across the Alps, Dolomites and Pyrenees report big and on-going snowfalls.  Hundreds of resorts are now planning to open for the coming weekend across the continent with superb conditions, although freeriders are warned to beware of high avalanche risk off piste in many locations.

As a result, www.Skiinfo.co.uk has now released more than 200 powder alarms for ski areas reporting more than 20cm (eight inch) falls in 24 hours, with Switzerland among the big winners.  St Moritz and the Engadin Valley have received 1.3m (4.4 feet) since the weekend.  Most other Swiss resorts have done well too, Sedrun, for example, got a whole metre of new snow in 24 hours on Monday (Nov 30th) – the road to nearby Disentis was covered with snow.

Engelberg was virtually closed down by snow at the start of the week too due to a massive storm that hit central Switzerland with over 90cms (three feet) of fresh snow according to Eric Spongberg an ex-freeriders based at Ski Lodge Engelberg (www.skilodgeengelberg.com).

 The roads in and out of the village where closed down on Monday, and all the lifts were closed on Tuesday due to high avalanche danger.

”There was rumours of snow coming in, but we have virtually been covered in snow in the past 24 hours” says Eric. ”It is total chaos here, with ploughs running back and forth trying to clear the streets and the avalanche bombs thundering in the background. The snowpack has been looking thin lately, but this definitely means a white Christmas in Engelberg”.

The ski area is open today and Eric is hoping to be on the slopes, ”It might be one of those days, I just might need to skip a couple of hours off work.”

Austria, which had great snow in late October and early November, but in common with the rest of the Alps, suffered a warm spell through the mifddle of last month, has also been receiving plenty of fresh snow,
The Mölltaler glacier got 60cm (two feet) of powder and now have one of the deepest snow depths in the world at present with a 220cm (7.3 foot) base.  Many other areas received between 20 and 50cm (8-20 inches) including Axamer – Lizum at Innsbruck, Sölden (52cm) and Obergurgl-Hochgurgl.

Lech Zürs has confirmed it will open lifts on Friday. Currently they have up to 55cm (22 inches) of snow on their slopes. Hochzillertal will open on the same day.

Silvretta Montafon (Nova and Hochjoch) now has 70cm of snow for their planned opening on Saturday. “There’s been heavy snowfall down to 800 metres and we hope to begin operating the Zamang Bahn (the ski lift for Hochjoch) and Versettla Bahn (for Nova) on December 5th.” said Frank Peters of Silvretta Montafon Mountain Railways.

It’s good news once again in France where more resorts are opening after good snowfalls across the country’s ski areas.

Lans en Vercors and Collet d’Allevard are opening their ski lifts today as a result and La Clusaz it’s Nordic ski area “Les Confins”

Many more plan to open thisweekend, at least partially, including Meribel, Alpe d’Huez, the Grands Montets at Chamonix, Montgenèvre, Les Arcs and probably Courchevel 1850, Le Grand Bornand and La Clusaz (only this weekend and just the “Massif de Balme”).

Val Thorens, which is already open, has reported  40cm of fresh snow and has one of the deepest bases in the country with a metre of snow lying. 

It’s a similar picture in Italy where the powder alarms continue to be issued.  Bormio has the deepest base in the country at 1.9m (6.6 feet), much of it fallen in the past week.  Other resorts reporting big falls include Madesimo with 90cm (three feet) and Alagna, Cervinia, Livigno and Monterosa resorts reporting at least 50cm (20 inches of new snow each).

Italy’s ski resorts enjoy a long ski weekend to December 8th so it’s great timing. This weekend many ski resorts will officially starts the season including Monterosa Ski, Dolomitri Superski, Limone, Courmayeur, resorts on the Milky Way pass like Sestrire and Sauze d’Oulx, Adamello (some lifts open at Passo Tonale and Pontedilegno).

Forty-eight hours of heavy snowfall over the Pyrenees has left Formigal more than ready to open this weekend.  Spain’s largest resort has 160 cm of snow on the higher slopes, around a metre on the lower pistes and more is predicted to fall over the next few days.

For bookings made before 15th December there is free ski or board hire for everyone and throughout the season there is a free child lift pass for every pre-booked adult lift pass.

There’s fresh powder too at Baqueira (40-70 cm), Cerler (20-125cm), Panticosa (70-130cm) and Sierra Nevada (10-30 cm). All the main ski resorts will open on Friday for a four days holiday (December 8th is a local holiday in Spain too). For Spanish skiers and boarders, this ‘Purísima Feast’ is a must every year and represents the official opening of the winter season.

Snow has also been snowing in Andorra, where resorts first opened early in mid-November after heavy snowfalls at the start of the month, but then had to postpone opening on the scheduled season start date last weekend due to a thaw.  It’s now looking goods for this weekend.

On the French side La Mongie and Bareges reported 60cm (two feet) on Tuesday, Piau Engaly 30cm (a foot). Piau-Engaly expects to open this weekend with its “Rock on Snowboard Tour” event.

Although the focus of recent snow reports has been on mainland Europe, conditions remain good in most Scandinavian ski areas to the north. Resorts in Norway reported up to 50cm (20 inches) of new snow in the past week and this weekend there will be 38 ski resorts open  including the big ones of Trysil, Geilo, Hafjell, Kvitfjell, Skeikampen and Hemsedal which has the most snow in the country with a 94cm (3.2 foot) base.  There are also a lot of opportunities for people who want to go cross country skiing, with 13 ski resorts that have more than 30km of tracks groomed.

There´s been some fresh snow in Sweden too where Lindvallen reports 15 cm and Tandådalen 7cm of new cover. In addition, the cold weather over large parts of the country makes ideal conditions for snowmaking. Further up north the resort of Kittelfjall has opened with a snow depth of 46cm. Dundret, 100km north of the polar circle, has opened too with a snow depth of 35 cm.

Elsewhere in Europe the ski season began in Scotland on Saturday when Cairngorm Mountain opened runs at the top of the ski slopes, attracting about 600 hardy souls who enjoyed the first turns of winter despite 45mph winds and a much stronger wind chill factor.

There’s no information on ski areas opening yet in Eastern Europe, however temperatures have dropped at last in that part of the continent with Bansko in Bulgaria reporting several days of sub-zero temperatures and snow falling.

Across the Atlantic the prolonged warm spell that stopped virtually all of New England’s ski areas opening for Thanksgiving weekend has finally ended and many resorts are reporting some snowfall and temperatures cool enough for the region’s mammoth snowmaking arsenal to dire up. Sugarloaf in Maine and Whiteface in New York State are among those planning to open at the weekend.

Further north in Eastern Canada, where Toronto recently declared last month the driest November in 70 years without a snowflake, conditions have improved greatly too.  Mont Ste Anne in Quebec expects to open after several postponements this weekend with at least four runs available.  It reported 12cm (5 inches) of snow at the weekend.  Mont Sutton received 43cm (17 inches) of snow at the summit over the weekend.
In the west of course it is a different story and Whistler’s November snowfall total officially passed 5.6m (18 feet) by the month end, with a 1.92m (6.5 feet) base, by far the biggest ever for this early in the season and indeed the biggest ever monthly snowfall for the resort.

The good snow news isn’t just restricted to the 2010 Winter Olympic host however, most of Western Canada’s resorts have great snow cover, and several more resorts opened early at the weekend, or announced they’d be opening earlier than planned in coming weeks including Fernie and Kicking Horse.

Revelstoke, which now has North America’s largest vertical, as well as the only heli and cat ski operations running along-side regular ski lifts from one base, opened upper slopes for a ‘taster weekend’ and will open permanently from next weekend.

Silver Star has also opened, “To the delight of us all, the winter skies have opened up and delivered over 40 cm of the white stuff needed to make the jump from Nordic skiing to alpine. With the alpine base now over 100 cm the Comet Express, Silver Woods Express, and the Silver Queen Chair. “ said a resort spokesperson.

The world’s attention has however been on Alberta over the weekend with Lake Louise Ski Area hosting its annual Winterstart World Cup Races. The men’s races took place November 28 and 29 and the women race this coming December 4 through 6.

 The WinterStart Festival takes place over the two weekends and includes the World Cup Alpine Ski Racing followed by a festival within a festival; Christmas in the Rockies, which runs December 5 and 6.
All the lifts are open at The Lake Louise Ski Area and Sunshine Village, with more available at Mt. Norquay today! The North American chair is open morning offering access to the infamous Lone Pine run.

“This is the best snow we’ve seen in 30 years, allowing the backside of Lake Louise and Goat’s Eye at Sunshine Village to be open already, offering tons of terrain, fresh tracks and a lot of powder.” Said a spokesperson
On Thursday, December 3rd, the newly renovated Sunshine Mountain Lodge at Sunshine Village will open 30 new eco-luxurious rooms.

Back south of the border in the Western US states temperatures are low for snowmaking but precipitation has been rather limited meaning that bases remain modest and open terrain is little changed from last week.

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Ski & snow news, Snow Conditions ,

Banff and Bormio Open

November 2nd, 2009

Mount Norquay at Banff and  Bormio in Italy have both opened on the 31st October, 2009 for the 09-10 winter season.  Both areas will be open weekends only for the first few weeks of November before opening full time.

Les 2 Alpes in France has also been open for a special festival but will close now through to re-opening in late November for the wqinter season. Cervinia, which had been open weekends only in October, is now open full time.

In Switzerland Les Diablerets has opened for winter 2009-10with the glacier ski area “Glacier 3000“ open, and currently offering the Dôme ski lift and parts of the Snow Park to skiers and snowboarders.

There are several lines of a different level with tables, rails as well as boxes ready for use in the park.

Depending on snow conditions, the rest of the 10 installations and 25 km of ski runs will be made available and remain open until May 3th, 2008. The status of available runs and installations will be regularly updated on www.glacier3000.ch.

Other resorts due to open in the next week include Lake Louise and Nakiska in Alberta, Canada and Keystone and Copper Mountain in Colorado, USA as well as Hemsedal in Norway.

Resorts already open include Sunday river in Maine and Arapahoe basin and Loveland in Colorado, USA as well as Kitzbuhel in Austria, Ruka in Finland and several dozen others.

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Ski & snow news, Snow Conditions

Conditions Still Excellent Across Europe And season Nears Halfway Point

February 6th, 2009

* Heavy falls total a metre in a week reported in Austria and Utah.
* All resorts in Spain have at least a two metre base.
* More resorts report business better than last season, as well as the snow.

* Cold weather in US brings great snow conditions to southern states.

www.Skiinfo.com reports that the ski season is now more than winter 2008-9
is now two months old for most of the world’s northern hemisphere ski
resorts and is approaching its half way stage.  Across Europe many of the
leading resorts are sitting on bases of two to three metres (7-10 feet)
following spectacular snowfalls in the last six weeks of 2008 and more
sporadic but still generally healthy falls during January, with clear sunny
periods in between.  In short it has been one of the best snow seasons for
many years for most resorts and despite media gloom and doom reporting on
the economy, many ski resorts are reporting business is actually up, in good
part thanks to the great snow. The cover is such that even if no more snow
falls for the rest of the season (extremely unlikely), most now have plenty
to see them through to the end in April or May.

In North America it is a more mixed picture with west coast resorts having
little snow at the start of the season followed by huge downfalls, but then
warm temperatures and a thaw in January. The east coast has had better
conditions and good snowfalls with low temperatures for much of the winter
to date.  These conditions have extended further south than usual giving an
above average season to date for borderline ski areas in southern states
like Tennessee.

In the past week the snow has continued to fall around Europe and North
America with some of the most in Austria and Alberta, Canada.
Alps and Dolomites

Most of the world’s snow fans have their eyes on TV screens where the
cameras are pointing at France this week for the World Alpine Skiing
Championships underway at Val d’isere.  There has been limited fresh snow in
the country over the past week with a dusting in the Alps at the weekend,
the most in the south with resorts Val d’Allos, Auron and Isola 2000 each
reporting 20cm (eight inches) in the past week.  Much larger falls of up to
60cm (two feet) are expected in the next week on the main Alpine resorts,
most of which currently have upper slope depths of two-three metres (7 – 10
feet).

On Monday, February 2nd, unusually heavy snowfalls, typically 15cm (six
Inches) affected the north half of France as well as crossing the channel to
South Eastern England. The snow touched both London and Paris.
In Austria more than 20 ski areas are now reporting more than two metres of
snow on their upper slopes.

“Slope conditions in many of the big resorts are reported to be very good,
with skiers lucky enough to be in the Arlberg, Axamer Lizum, Hochzillertal,
Ischgl, Kitzbühel, Silvretta Nova, SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser, Sillian and the
Zillertal Arena amongst those benefiting. A drop of temperature and more
fresh snow is expected for the weekend.” says Pascal Bovée who reports on
much of the German-speaking parts of the Alps for www.skiinfo.com

Nassfeld received a huge fall of 60cm (two feet) yesterday taking the week’s
total to 95cm (Over three feet).  All 110km of slopes are open but skiers
should stay on marked slopes because the avalanche risk has risen
significantly.

In Germany to the north the greatest snow depth is on the Zugspitz glacier
by Garmisch Partenkirchen with two metres (Nearly seven feet) of snow.  The
country’s Sauerland (central uplands) has had some of the best conditions of
the past week with up to 20cm (eight inches) of fresh powder.

In Switzerland Zermatt continues to have probably the greatest snow depth of
any ski resort in Europe and possibly the world with 671cm (over 22 feet) on
its glacier.  They must have a very long stick to measure it.  However
several other resorts have bases above three metres now including Andermatt
and Saas Fee.  There’s been less snow in the past week although Andermatt
had 30cm (a foot) more and both Saas Fee and Engadin/St. Moritz reported
another 12cm (four inches) in total.

Italy’s Bardonecchia is hosting the first ever Snowboard FIS World Cup
Slopestyle competition today and tomorrow  (February 4th and 5th) plus
another Halfpipe contest on February 6th and 7th.  The Slopestyle course
offers six features. Starting with a rail another Butter Box offers some
time to slide before a kicker series of four jumps leads straight in the
finish and is located just a little bit above the 2006 Olympic Halfpipe in
Melezet.

Resorts in the north of the country posted the most PowderAlarms on
www.skiinfo.com in the past seven days.  San Martino Di Castrozza  saw one
of the bigger falls of 30cm (12 inches) whilst Alagna Valsesia on the west
and Arabba Marmolada  in the Dolomites both lead Italy’s greatest snow deoth
table with 480cm (16 feet) of snow each on upper slopes.

Pyrenees

In Spain all of the country’s 20 or so Pyrenean ski resorts have reached
snow depths of more than two metres, as the country’s sensational winter
2008-9 continues in to a third month of regular powder snow. The ongoing
falls are causing a lot of problems at airports and on the roads.  Baqueira
Beret reports the most snow with 275cm (nine feet) on upper slopes although
Sierra Nevada to the south of the country has the greatest snow depth in
Spain with 350cm (12 feet).

Conditions also continue to be superb in neighbouring Andorersa and on the
French side of the mountains.

Scandinavia

In Sweden www.skiinfo.com’s country manager Christer Hillörn reports that
there have been no major snowfalls but very cold temperatures as low as -
25-30C.

“The cold weather will continue this week but the heavy snowfall that hit
England is coming in today and a second front on Friday. The biggest
snowfalls are expected in the northern parts of Sweden. So we are looking
forward to a good weekend with powder skiing in the north, but also with
good conditions due to the cold weather at resorts elsewhere in Sweden too.”

It’s very similar over the border in Norway, where 64 ski resorts expect to
receive snow today after a clear, very ciold spell.  Skiinfo.com’s
Snowfinder predicts about 20cm (eight inches) as the maxiumum total snowfall
for the next four days at these resorts.

Eastern Europe

Bulgaria has had some new snow continuing itys rather average season.
Bansko has the best cover with 120cm (Four feet) of snow.

110 resorts are operating in Slovakia and 70 in the Czech Republic with a
maximum snowfall of 20cm (eight inches) n Slovakia in the past week in the
Slovak paradise and Small Fatra resorts.  Discolunts of up to 50% are
offered on some lift tickets.

Other European Countries

Elsewhere in the continent all five ski areas in Scotland remain open with
fresh snow falling currently falling and expecting to continue for the rest
of this week.

In the Netherlands January 2009 is officially the coldest month in 12 year,
according to the KNMI (Royal Dutch Meteorological Instute) with the avarage
temperature just 0.7 degrees against the avarage temperature for the month
of 2.8 degrees Celsius.  Unusually the south of the country was colder
rather than the north and received the most snow.

North America

In Utah snow storms this week deposited another 120cm (four feet) at
Snowbird lifting the resort’s January’s total to 2.6m (103 inches) giving a
mid-mountain base of nearly two metres (95 inches).
“This recent parade of storms has made for the best conditions of the season
and prime powder skiing,” said Snowbird President Bob Bonar. “As we head
into the heavy snowfall months of February and March, the mountain is sure
to only get better.”
In Canada Whistler has reported nearly 30cm (a foot) of new snow in the past
48 hours at mid-mountain (1650m) taking snowdepths there to nearly 150cm
(five feet).

On the east Mont Tremblant in Quebec received more than 20cm (eight inches)
of new snow overnight, adding to the 3.3 metres (130) inches since the
opening of the season.

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