Weekly snow round-up

Posted By: The Ski Channel on August 11, 2010 2:04 pm

Third Week In A Row of Snowfall In Both Northern and Southern Hemisphere Ski Areas

* Nearly 27.5 inches 24 Hours at New Zealand resort

* Up to 9.8 inches of new snow on Europe’s glaciers.

* More snow in Australia.

* Kitzsteinhorn glacier at Kaprun closes ‘temporarily’, leaving 10 European glaciers open.

 www.skiinfo.co.uk reports that there has been fresh snow once again in the Alps and in many areas in the southern hemisphere, however temperatures are also still warm in the Alps, and one glacier in Austria has had to close temporarily as a result, taking the number of open centers down to 10.  The biggest falls of the past week have been in New Zealand with resorts receiving up to a meter of snow in 48 hours, with one reporting 26.7 inches on Sunday alone.

Val Senales in Italy has reported the biggest snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere, at an open ski area at least, in the past seven days with a 10 inch fall last Thursday, 5thAugust, it has a one meter base.  At Cervinia it’s 27.5 inch nut a rather warm 41 °F on the Plateau Rosa glacier, Passo Stelvio is also open for snow sports.

Despite some fresh snow last week the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun in Austria which has been battling an increasingly thin snow pack, has decided to temporarily halt snow sports until conditions improve. Currently the snowpack is down in to single figures (2.8 inches) and temperatures on the glacier are 31°F.  It’s better news on the Hintertux glacier which is still maintaining one of the largest snow areas in the Alps with 12.4 miles of trails open served by nine lifts, it reported fresh snow on Saturday.  It’s warm to on the Dachstein glacier where cross country trails and the Horsefeathers Superpark are both open.  In the latter’s case a ski area spokesman says,

“The setup remains in great shape and shredding the slushy snow under a bright blue sky makes you feel like a fish in his favorite water.”

The third glacier still open in Austria is the Molltal which is continuing to report 9.5km of slopes open with up to five feet of snow depth just as it has for the past month or so.  It intends to remain open now until mid-May next year.

We’re in to the last few weeks of the summer ski season in France where the glaciers at Tignes and Val d’isere will close later this month.  However the closure will be only temporary in the case of Tignes which re-opens in late September and remains the only open French ski area for most of the autumn.

Both have glacier snow bases of 23.6-39.4 inches and both received a little snowfall late last week, greatly improving conditions over the very hot days of July.

In Switzerland Saas Fee and Zermatt are both open, receiving up to 1.5 inches of new snow at the weekend.  Saas Fee reports a nearly 4 foot base.  It has ten lifts, four runs, its terrain park and half pipe open.

The only other lift-served skiing in the northern hemisphere, besides indoor centers, is at Timberline on Mt Hood in Oregon where there’s about a 3.3 foot base with ski lifts operating between 7am and 1:30pm daily.  The Mile Canyon ‘freestyle terrain area’ is also open.

In South America there’s been little new snow in Chile, Portillo has reported 4 inches in the past week, and the base remains between a foot and three feet, still waiting for the first huge fall of the season.  Chapa Verde has a 20 inch base.  Valle Nevado’s large ski area remains almost entirely open, with a 2.3 feet with no new snow in recent days.  It has received over 12 feet of snow so far this season.

It’s a similar picture in Argentina where Las Lenas reports snow depths of 1.3-3.6 feet, but some of the continent’s deepest snow at present is on the upper slopes of Catedral to the north, which has the biggest uplift capacity in South America and 5 feet snow depth on its upper runs.

Over in Australia and New Zealand there’s been more snow through the past seven days.  Australian resorts have been cheering their ongoing falls after the big falls a week ago, but this time it’s New Zealand’s slopes that have seen huge falls, with one, Mt Hutt, receiving over a three feet in 24 hours, 2.3 feet of it on Sunday the 8th alone.  The centre is currently digging out its terrain park and other facilities as fast as it can, but is open to anyone who can get there and if self-driving chains or a four-by-four are required.    The current snowbase of 8 feet is among the deepest in the world at present.

Other ski areas in New Zealand have reported big, if not quite such meteoric accumulations in the past few days.  Coronet Peak added 18 to their base and now has over 3 feet of accumulation.  Treble Cone has over a 5 foot base with 6 inches falling in the past 48 hours.

Over on Mt Ruapehu , Whakapapa has a three foot base, Turoa 5 feet.

Conditions are largely good in Australia with most resorts now having at least a 2 foot base, temperatures hovering around freezing, and snow flurries.  More of the same is expected for most through the rest of the week and hopefully some bigger snowfalls too.

Falls Creek has almost all of its lifts and runs open, snow depth is averaging around 2 feet but in snowmaking areas it’s up on 3.3 feet.

 Mt Hotham has had 2 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours and has an average snow depth of 2.3 feet, but the depth in snow making areas is above nearly four feet.

It’s looking good in Thredbo too, with just under a 3 foot base with 1 inch of new snow while Mt Buller has 2-3 feet, 2 inches of it fresh in the past 24 hours.

In Africa conditions are little changed. Afriski in Lesotho reports lovely sunny days – too sunny by the afternoon when the snow becomes too sticky, but still dropping low enough overnight to continue snowmaking and top up any snow that’s melted during the day.  So the centre is managing to maintain a 1,969 feet long slope with a 28 inch base, as well as an additional beginners slope and its terrain park.