Any snow around?
19th May 2009
There’s still some at altitude in Europe and it’s dumping down under. Here’s the overview on May 21st.
The long and plentiful supply of snow last winter means the ski touring season has been good and the handful of resorts still open have good conditions. A team from PlanetSKI went walking uphill in Verbier recently and found plenty of fresh powder. Check out the video of it.
Otherwise the pre-season snowfalls in New Zealand and Australia are promising.
The last week in May is approaching and the Northern Hemisphere is still fighting for the action with Utah extending its season and Mammoth opening a new Spring Superpipe. But the Southern Hemisphere is where the ski season is about to explode with fun and snow.
The round up of snow conditions in both hemispheres on 21st May comes from our friends at www.skiinfo.com.
France finally closed last week along with Sella Nevada in Spain. In other European destinations, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia have some ski areas open otherwise its skiing in the 30+ european snow centres. North America still offers skiing in 5 resorts but the new action is about to happen in the Southern Hemisphere. Mt Hutt in New Zealand is planning to open 2 weeks ahead of schedule on Saturday 30th May, already boasting 2m (7 feet) of fresh snow this month.
Austria continues to have the most ski areas open in Europe. There’s hardly been any fresh snow this week, but the glaciers still have huge snow bases so skiing may comfortably continue. Conditions are typical for spring skiing with overnight freezing followed by thawing from lunchtime, so morning conditions are generally best.
The Kaunertal glacier had nearly 10m (33 feet) of snow this winter and still has 155cm (5 feet) on its upper slopes with five lifts accessing the slopes. Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun has 353cm (12 feet) of snow to enjoy. Both the Stubai and Tux glaciers are still open each with 3m or 4m.
Switzerland still offers skiing in Engelberg on the Titlis glacier and in Zermatt Europe’s highest ski slopes. There are 8km (5miles) of runs available in Engelberg, with a snow base of 4m (13 feet) with 5 lifts running. Zermatt has a similar amount of terrain open featuring 4m (13 feet) snow depth and remains open all year round.
The Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale is the only ski area remaining open in Italy. It reports over 5m (17 feet) of snow. This is open terrain only suited to intermediate and advanced level skiers and riders, with two red and one black run open, the longest being the 1.7km Paradiso trail, the steepest the 1km long Sinistra. Next week the Passo Stelvio Glacier re-opens on May 30th.
Some ski areas remain open in Finland, Norway and Sweden. In Finland, Ruka’s seven month ski season continues with the 550m long Saarua number 12 slope open until June 13th. Across the border in Sweden, Riksgransen in the Arctic Circle is getting into full swing with skiing under the midnight sun thanks to 24 hour daylight. Norway’s three summer glacier ski areas are all open. Folgefonn has the biggest snow base with 450cm (15 feet), the Galdhøpiggen and Stryn Glaciers are now open.
Sunshine’s long season ended last weekend only leaving Whistler Blackcomb open in Alberta, with skiing on the Blackcomb Glacier. No fresh snow has been reported in the last seven days but a 169cm (6 feet) base remains. Skiing is recommended on Upper and Lower Zig Zag.
South of the border in the US, only 4 ski areas remain open following last week’s closure of Mt Bachelor in Oregon. But on the upside, Snowbird in Utah has extended its ski season. In Colorado Arapahoe Basin has about a dozen runs open with a mid mountain snow base of 115cm (46 inches). Timberline in Oregon, remains open almost all year round, closing only for a few weeks in September, has a 480cm (16 feet) base.
Mammoth Mountain in California’s famed Spring Super Duper Pipe opened on Monday, May 18th. It is located above McCoy Station at an elevation of 10,000 feet and the new halfpipe boasts walls 22 feet high and 400+ feet in length. Mammoth currently has terrain parks open on Forest Trail and Unbound Main. A further selection of jumps and rails will soon be added to the new spring park to complement the massive halfpipe ensuring that Mammoth will have a terrain park open until the last day of the season.
With a snow base depth of 120-240cm (4-8 feet) near Main Lodge (8,900ft) and 4.5 m – 4.5m (14-18feet) of snow at the summit (11,053ft), Mammoth’s spring skiing conditions are fantastic. Thanks to nearly 13m (40 feet) of snowfall throughout the 2008/09 winter season, Mammoth Mountain has extended its winter operations until June 14, and possibly later.