By Sally Brookes
In France the cold temperatures have kept the snow in excellent condition for skiing. There’s been little new snow, except for a big snowfall recorded on Monday in the country’s Vosges region. Otherwise resorts have received 10 to 20cm (4-8 inches) through the week. However new big snowfalls are expected for tomorrow, Thursday.
Laurie Martin Communications Officer of Montgenèvre told Skiinfo, “Snow conditions are optimal in Montgenèvre with 220cm at the top of the slopes and 160cm at the bottom. The whole area has been open since the end of December and the connections with the “Voie Lactée” (Milky Way) are also open, which is not always the case at this time of the year. The coming February holidays will be good for skiers. It has been snowing steadily since mid-December and we have a very good season, with skiers happy. The snow cover is good and stable and we expect new snowfall on Friday.”
Chamonix will host the Nissan Freeride on Saturday and then stage the postponed opening event on the next suitable day afterwards. The Russian event was due to have been staged in the 2014 Olympic venue of Sochi last week but had to be cancelled due to strong winds and heavy snowfall there.
Chamonix currently has the deepest snowbase in France with 3.9m (13 feet) on upper slopes. Flaine has 2.65m (nine feet), La Clusaz 2.6m (8.7 feet) and La Grave 2.5m (8.3 feet).
Snow began to fall again in Austria and Germany in recent days with more new snow forecast for tomorrow and in to the weekend – especially in the western Vorarlberg, Tirol and Salzburg provinces. Temperatures have been as low as – 20 degrees and colder in some parts. The deepest snow is on the glaciers (Mölltal 330cm/11 feet, Kaunertal 209cm/7 feet on upper runs). Sölden got the most snow in the country this week with 25cm (10 inches) with Kleinwalsertal reporting the biggest single fall of 17cm (six inches). Maria Alm/ Hochkönig and Alpbach had 10cm (4 inches) each.
It’s a similar picture in Switzerland where Elm reported the most new snow of the past week, with 30cm (a foot) accumulated. Disentis, Davos and Saas Fee got 12-15cm (5-6 inches) each. Andermatt has the biggest snow depth with 210cm (7 feet). Saas Fee and St Moritz have only a few centimetres/inches less.
Italy has also had a quiet week although low temperatures have brought some snow at low altitude in the North of the country and also in the central Appennine mountains. It’s snowing there now with Limone and Prato Nevoso in the north west reporting 20-25cm (8-10 inches) so far today. The Presena and Marmolada glaciers both have the most snow with about 3.9m (13 feet) on upper slopes, Bormio has 3 metres (10 feet).
In Germany there were powder alarms on Monday and Tuesday when 15cm (six inches) of new snow fell in Oberstdorf yesterday. The Zugspitze got 8cm (three inches) of new snow too and has the country’s greatest snow depth of 185cm (just over six feet).
The cold weather has extended as far as Belgium where recent fresh snow fall (10cm/4 inches on 24 Jan), combined with the cold temperatures (-5°to -15°C) has led some nordic resorts in the East of the country to re-open their tracks. Baraque Michel, Mont Spinet and Losheimergraben are offering Nordic Skiing on 10cm of snow. Other resorts, and hopefully also the Alpine resorts will follow as more cold and snow is predicted for next week.
(Snow report courtesy of skiinfo.co.uk)
There’s been more snow in the Spanish Pyrenees has made conditions great on the groomed pistes but very dangerous off piste with an increased chance of avalanches.
In Formigal five season ski passes have been confiscated after five skiers caused an avalanche. Formigal’s spokeman has criticised people who take unnecessary risks, get into trouble and put in danger the lives of skiers and the members of the rescue services.
Formigal currently has the most terrain open in Spain with 122km (76 miles) of piste to enjoy and a base of 105-220cm (3.5 – 7.3 feet) Baqueira Beret has a similar snow depth and 110km (70 miles) of piste open. Conditions have improved again in Andorra with most areas receiving around a foot (30cm) of new snow in the past few days bringing base depths up around the metre mark at most resorts with fresh powder on top.
The French Pyrenees have received the country’s largest falls of the past 7 days. Here Cauterets received 80cm (nearly three feet) of new snow on January 15, then got more good falls two days later on the 17th. In the northern Alps with Avoriaz reported 25cm (10 inches) of new snow while la Grave in the Southern Alps reported 30cm (a foot).
Thibaut Deserces, Manager of “La Maison de Peyragudes” – the tourist office for the French Pyrenees resort of Peyragudes commented on the latest falls there.
“More than 50cm of fresh snow is lying at the bottom of the slopes, thanks to the snowfall on Thursday and Friday. Peyragudes woke up Friday morning with bright sunshine and then a large amount of snow fell through the night. The snow depth is now excellent with more than 110cm on upper slopes.
(Snow report courtesy of skiinfo.co.uk )