PlanetSKI Snow Report…
20th December 2021
Last modified on December 29th, 2021
Record amounts of snow are falling in parts of the USA with temperatures dropping to -30c in some Canadian ski resorts. In Europe it is the opposite with mild temperatures and rain at lower levels in some resorts. UPDATED
Wednesday 29th December
We’re continuing to report on the snow conditions in Canada and the USA as temperatures plummet and huge amounts of snow falls in places.
Parts of California are seeing record amounts of snow.
Today we broke a record. This is our biggest December storm in 50 years, and it delivered road closures and avalanche hazards. Read our Ops Blog for what to expect tomorrow. There will be delayed openings while we perform snow safety. https://t.co/DNAlNdxeuT
Photo: Ben Leech pic.twitter.com/52MZ7ACDfE
— Palisades Tahoe (@palisadestahoe) December 28, 2021
We’ve been following the conditions further north in Sunshine Village in Canada as the resort closed due to temperatures falling below -30c.
We’re delighted to say the lifts are now spinning (for the time being).
Skiers and snowboarders are being advised to wrap up warm.
Up, up and away we go! pic.twitter.com/AeAG3WMMph
— Sunshine Village (@SunshineVillage) December 28, 2021
The Alps could do with some of the snow as the temperatures are very mild with rain falling up to 2,000m in some parts.
We’re entering tricky territory conditions wise now in 4Vallees – overnight snow turning to rain, temps rising for next couple of days pic.twitter.com/yJz0SznCnV
— Valais Dude (@ValaisDude) December 29, 2021
The forecast is for a mild New Year for those lucky enough to be on the slopes.
— weathertoski (@weathertoski) December 29, 2021
We will be updating later so do check back…
Tuesday 28th December
We are pleased to say that Sunshine Village in Alberta, Canada, is set to reopen after the temperature has warmed up a bit from earlier in the week.
It is now only -21c.
Good morning SUNSHINERS!
The weather has warmed up on our little island in the sky, which is allowing us to open today. Right now we have an inversion on the mountain.
Due to the cold temperatures overnight some lifts may be slow to open as extra time is needed to warm up. pic.twitter.com/cgXaYqjmAg
— Sunshine Village (@SunshineVillage) December 27, 2021
With a forecast of -31c on Wednesday it might be a short-lived opening.
See the details from Monday 27th about why Sunshine Village had to close…
Monday 27th December
We begin in Canada where it is, er, rather cold.
This from Sunshine Village near Banff.
All 11 lifts and 139 runs are closed as the temperature drops to -30c.
“It is not unheard of for the resort to close due to the cold as it can get seriously cold in this part of the Canadian Rockies,” said PlanetSKI reporter Alex Cove who worked as an instructor at Sunshine Village for three seasons.
“When it gets to -30c or so the gondola up from the valley can not operate safely and so the resort shuts.”
The temperatures are set to remain low for the next few days, and there is no word on when the resort will re-open.
“A drier and colder northerly flow dominates the pattern for the coming week, with arctic air pushing southward through the province which will allow for sunnier conditions however also bring continued colder temperatures,” said the resort in a weather update on Boxing Day.
“We potentially see temperatures starting to warm marginally near the end of the week into next weekend, however values are still expected to be cooler than seasonal.”
It is actually colder at the base of the resort (-30c) while ‘warmer’ at altitude (-21c).
Why is this?
There is an inversion over the area.
In nearby Lake Louise it is very cold, but open.
— Ken Read (@Skier_one) December 26, 2021
Further west in Whistler the slopes are open and Father Xmas and friends are having some downtime.
And what about Europe?
It remains remains unsettled and mild with some rain or snow in places.
The driest and brightest weather is in Austria, especially in the eastern Austrian Alps.
“The weather will settle down again towards the New Year, but it will become very mild, especially at altitude, said Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.co.uk.
“Snow conditions in the Alps have deteriorated somewhat in the last few days, unsurprisingly given the mild humid conditions.
“Although there is generally still plenty of snow, snow quality is much more variable than it was a few days ago, and often quite wet lower down, especially in the west.”
Sunday 26th December
In North America there has been heavy snow across parts of the USA, including Colorado, Utah and California.
Here is a report from Colorado.
The heavy snow has also led to the first avalanche fatality of the season in Colorado.
A backcountry skier was killed near Cameron Pass.
The avalanche was 80m wide.
“The victim’s partner was able to locate him with a transceiver and probe pole and extricate him from the snow, but he did not survive,” said the rescue authorities.
In California around 60cm of snow fell at the ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area.
Resorts have been battling to open the slopes in the face of the storm.
While in Utah there has been heavy snow with the Utah Avalanche Centre issuing a Level 4 warning for some places.
It is advising people not to ski in the backcountry on slopes over 30 degrees.
In the resorts themselves skiers and snowboarders were out for a few Xmas turns.
In Europe big snowfalls earlier this month set things up nicely for those lucky enough to be hitting the slopes over Christmas.
But more is now needed and some resorts could be in luck, though the weather is set to remain mild into the New Year.
— weathertoski (@weathertoski) December 25, 2021
Friday 24th December
After days and days of spring like weather it seems winter is returning.
Here’s one of our regular readers.
12 days of beautiful, cold, anti-cyclonic weather have ended in 4Vallees and now we have steel grey skies and very few skiers – hopes for more and powder in coming few days 🤞🏻 pic.twitter.com/ORLYaR5Pli
— Valais Dude (@ValaisDude) December 24, 2021
We’ll be updating shortly so do check back…
Tuesday 21st December
We hear first of all from PlanetSKI reporter, Tord Nilson, who is in La Clusaz in France.
“The slopes are holding up but it’s about 4/5 degrees and they really need a bit more more snow – it feels like springtime, not December,” said Tord.
It’s looking good at Stubai in Austria.
And at Ischgl in the Tirol in Austria as the sun went down:
More to follow…
Monday 20th December
The sun has been shining in most parts except for some parts of Austria which are under cloud with some light snow flurries.
The alpine snow expert, Fraser Wilkin of Weather to Ski is in Alpe d’Huez in France.
It’s eight days since it last snowed there but Fraser says the pistes are firm and grippy with the odd icy patch.
Freezing levels are around 2,800 metres.
“Snow conditions are also generally good elsewhere in the Alps, though it is the northern French Alps (roughly from Alpe d’Huez/Les 2 Alpes northwards) and the northern and western Swiss Alps that currently have the greatest depths relative to altitude,” Fraser said on Monday morning.
“As for the weather, most of the Alps will see plenty of sunshine for the next three days at least.
“However, weather fronts will approach from the west late on Thursday with some rain or snow expected in many western and some southern parts of the Alps on Friday and Saturday.”
See here for our last rolling blog on the excellent early season conditions in the Alps and the Pyrenees as we followed the early season snow conditions:
Despite all the restrictions and travel bans some of our readers are continuing to enjoy the excellent early season conditions in the mountains.
“Top snow conditions from Obergurgl at the weekend,” said Elena Protopopow.
“Weather was fantastic. Fingers crossed, that the current situation will calm down with new regulations in place.”
See here for the new regulations in Austria:
Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this rolling blog with all the latest from the slopes.
Do check back….