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

March 23rd, 2009

www.Skiinfo.com 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 skiinfo.com 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 Skiinfo.com, “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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Ski & snow news

There’s So Much Snow Everywhere Even Indoor Skiers Move Back Outdoors

February 12th, 2009

*  Unusual snowfall in Europe’s city suburbs lead indoor skiers to ski
outdoors.
*  Huge snow falls means resorts save on snowmaking costs but face big bills
for snow clearing.
*  Avalanche risk remains very high off-piste in many areas due to the high
snow volumes.
*  Zermatt tops seven metre snow depth at the top.
*  Scottish snow conditions reported best for 20 years.

www.Skiinfo.com reports that recent snow in urban areas has led to ski
instructors who work indoors year round  in the growing number of indoor
snow centres in Europe have been coming outdoors in their lunch hours to
check out the natural snowfall in the car park! The enclosed pictured is of
a staff member from SNO!zone indoor ski centre at Castleford in North
Yorkshire, England, enjoying his lunch breaks doing what he does best -
riding!

Back o n Europe’s conventional ski slopes, snowfalls have been continuing in
France throughout the past week with accumulations of up to 110cm (44
inches) over the past seven days and both the Northern Alps and the Pyrenees
doing well.  Sunday February 8th was a particularly snowy day across the
country with www.Skiinfo.fr issuing  30 powder alarms. , in particular in
Pyrénées and North Alps.

Fresh snowfall yesterday (Tuesday February 10) included 15cm (six inches) at
Montgenèvre and  10cm (Four inches) at Val Thorens.

Val d’Allos 1800 la Foux  currently claims the greatest snow depth in France
with 360cm (12 feet) of snow lying on upper slopes.

Gilles Gravier manager of the local tourist office there told
www.skiinfo.com,

“We have not seen a 360cm snow depth since the winter of 1975. On the night
of Friday, February 6th alone we received another metre of snow. These very
big snowfalls require a lot of work clearing the snow and through January we
have spent 120,000 Euros just on snow clearing in the resort.  This quantity
of snow means the avalanche risk off-piste is very high at level 4 on a
scale up to a maximum of 5. ”

The German speaking parts of the Alps have experienced great snowfalls in
recent days with heavy falls in many areas at the weekend and more than 40
powder alarms issued today (Wednesday, February 11th) in Austria and Germany
alone.

In Switzerland more than a metre of fresh snow fell in St.Moritz (120cm/four
feet) and also in Zermatt (116 cm) and Saas Fee (90cm) in the past week.
Zermatt is by far the snowiest place in Europe, the mountain top lies buried
under more than seven metres (23 feet) of snow.  Andermatt has reached the
four metre (13 feet) mark.

As a result the risk of avalanches is high and The WSL Institute for Snow
and Avalanche Research in Davos says the danger for the whole Swiss Alps
area is considerable (3) and that avalanches can be unleashed by just one
person. They expect more snow in the north and west of the country tomorrow
(Thursday 12 February).
In Austria many leading resorts got fresh snow over the past seven days and
11 resorts now have snow bases of two and a half metres (eight feet) or more
on top now.  Sölden has received 39cm (16 inches) in the past seven days
with Seefeld adding 22cm (nine inches) and Kaprun – Kitzsteinhorn 20 cm
(eight inches).

In Germany there are a dozen resorts that have had 30cm (12 inches) or more
of fresh snow in the past week and many more with 10-20cm (4-8 inches) more.
Nebelhorn got 30cm (112 inches) and Kleinwalsertal – Fellhorn 20 cm (eight
inches).  The Zuspitzplatt ayt Garmisch has the most snow in the country
with 230cm (nearly eight feet).

In Italy it has been the north of the country that has received the most
snow this week with San Martino Di Castrozza reporting another  60cm (two
feet of snow) and Courmayeur  20cm (eight inches).  Several resorts have now
moved above a total maximum snow depth of five metres (Nearly 17 feet) with
Colere  the first to claim six metres (20 feet) of snow on upper slopes.
The Presena glacier above Passo Tonale is close with 550cm (over 18 feet).

All the snow means the avalanche danger remains high in many parts of the
country with the avalanche danger typically at level 3 on a scale of five.
Two climbers died this week in an avalanche at Cogne in the Aosta Valley
where five and a half metres of snow has fallen this season so far.

Scotland currently has some of the best conditions for years thanks to snow
falls of up to 24 inches (60cm) of snow. Almost all lifts and runs are
operational at the country’s five ski areas and at the weekend two of the
ski areas had to turn-away skiers arriving at mid-morning as they reached
operational capacity. There were about 12,000 people skiing each day.

After the snow temperatures dropped very low, down to a low point of -18
Celcius on Monday at Aviemore which has meant the snow has been maintained
And in a light, powdery condition that is very rare on the Scottish
mountains, more used to a heavier, wetter snow. Thus the resorts are
describing the snow as ‘Alpine.’

Elsewhere in Europe Sierra Nevada continues to have the greatest snow depth
in Spain and is now reporting more than four metres (over 13 feet) on their
upper slopes.  But also all Pyrenean ski resorts in France, Spain and
Andorra have reached snow depths of more than two metres.

Formigal has depths of up to 2.5 metres (over eight feet) and a minimum of a
metre in the valley. The snow has been falling heavily since the weekend,
with a whole metre falling in just 24 hours.

Reports claim that it is the heaviest snowfall the area has received in 15
years. Yolanda Julian, commercial manager at Formigal told www.skiinfo.com,

“The quality of the snow is exceptional both on and off-piste. It’s just
fantastic! All the lifts are open to allow clients to enjoy Formigal’s 137km
of slopes.”

In Scandinavia the skiing remains good in Norway and Sweden.  “This past
weekend have been truly amazing with snow, snow and more snow.” said
Christer, Skiinfo.com’s Sweden manager.  “The remarkable thing is that it
has been really cold too, between – 12 and -20C, and still snowing. Now we
are talking light powder – I got 40cm on my car that I had to wipe off
before I went skiing on Saturday, and then got some really nice turns.”
12 Swedish resorts have reported 20cm (eight inches) or more snow in the
last seven days with Vemdalen in the lead with 44cm (18 inches).

The upcoming week there is a ”winter vacation” in Norway, and the ski
resorts are doing their best to keep as many slopes as possible open, and to
give the best possible ski conditions. The forecast is mostly sunny with not
much new snow, but there is lot of snow right now, and it is steadily cold
in most of the ski resorts. Some snow is expected in the western part of
Norway, but not more than approximately 10-20cm (4-8 inches) in the next
four days.

There’s been little new snow in Eastern Europe where skies have been clear
and sunny.  Some resorts such as Pamporovo in Bulgaria, badly need some
fresh and snow is expected in the next few days. Bansko still has the most
with a little over a metre of coverage.

In North America cover remains good on the east Coast with fresh powder on
the west coast providing a much needed top up of increasingly scant
cocverage at some areas there. In The Rockies its a mixed picture with
Colorado resorts receiving a few inches of new snow, again very welcome
after limited fresh snow in recent weeks.  Similarly in Alberta to the north
there’s been new snow at Banff.

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