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The PlanetSKI Snow Report

There has been some fresh snow in parts of the Alps with changeable weather. PlanetSKI is back in the Aosta Valley in Italy where there has been a bit of fresh snow as the half-term week continues. UPDATED

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Updated:

Wednesday 16th February

There has finally been a bit of fresh snow in the Aosta Valley in Italy where PlanetSKI is currently based.

Not a lot, but enough to make a few turns in the powder.

The pistes were freshened up, but then the wind came in.

Our plan today had been to ski into La Rosiere in France from La Thuile in Italy.

Things didn’t look too inviting first thing.

Heading to La Rosiere. Image © PlanetSKI

Heading to La Rosiere. Image © PlanetSKI

Or indeed later.

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

So we stuck to the lower slopes in La Thuile and in the trees runs.

And took shelter in one of our special places in that part of the mountains – the Offshore.

And after our hot chocolate break?

A yellow thing made a (very) brief appearance from behind the clouds.

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

We will be updating shortly from La Thuile and looking at the weather situation around the Alps.

Do check back…

Tuesday 15th February

Our editor, James Cove, is back in the Aosta Valley in Italy.

And did James mention few crowds, empty slopes and tables available on the terrace at lunchtime?

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Elsewhere in the Alps half-term activities are underway.

With some snow in places.

More to follow…

Saturday 12th February

Our editor, James Cove, has been on his alpine travels this past week.

Pila, La Thuile and Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley in Italy.

He is currently living in Aosta and using it as a base to access the fabulous resorts within easy reach of the city.

They are not just in Italy.

There was a quick trip this week through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Morzine and Les Gets in France in the Portes du Soleil.

Today, Saturday, it was a journey through the St Bernard Tunnel to one his favourite resorts in the Alps, and one that holds so, so many memories – Verbier in Switzerland:

James will be posting a full report from Verbier shortly, but in the meantime check out a few images from a rather special day as he toured the whole of the 4 Valleys ski area:

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Verbier, 4 Valleys, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Friday 11th February

‘Perfect’ Skiing Conditions in Pila

PlanetSKI meets one of the few people in the Italian resort in the Aosta Valley who thinks the snow is at its very best.

Step forward Phil Brown (with our editor, James Cove).

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

It hasn’t snowed for over a month (January 9th to be precise, though there was a ‘dusting’ last week), there is no off piste to talk about and some think fresh snow is urgently needed.

So, why is Phil so pleased about the conditions?

Phil is a ski race coach and is currently running the British Schools Alpine Open Championship in the resort of Pila above Aosta.

The event is organised by The National Schools Snowsports Association (NSSA)

Race conditions and the snow are ideal.

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

The event sees 70 children, aged 7-18, from dozens of UK schools battling it out through the gates.

“The conditions are quite simply perfect for racing here in Pila,” enthuses Phil.

“There is a good snow depth to set the course and the snow itself is grippy and hard-packed.

“Today we have had three lots of 70 racers attack the course and it was hardly marked at the end of proceedings.”

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

“The temperature is perhaps warmer than ideal, but the race course is on a north facing slope so the sun hits it at an oblique angle, leaving the course in truly excellent shape.”

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

This is the 4th edition of the Championships – last season was cancelled due to Covid-19.

In 2020 it happened in February, just ahead of the pandemic taking hold.

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

The event is supported by the Ski Club of Great Britain and is going from strength to strength.

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Phil is a regular PlanetSKI reader, and good skiing friend of the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

The question is do we put this update in Skiing Snippets or our latest Rolling Snow Report?

We couldn’t decide, so we put it in both.

“Above all else it was just so good to see youngsters really into their ski racing,” said James as he spent some time at the event this week.

“I agree with Phil, the snow for race conditions here in Pila is perfect. There is even a bit of soft stuff at the end to brake on.”

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila. Image © PlanetSKI

Thursday 10th February

The forecast for the rest of this week and a glimpse ahead to the UK half-term holidays next week:

“Thursday will again be sunny but cooler,” said Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.co.uk

“On Friday a cold front will then bring a few centimetres of snow to the northern Alps, but the southern Alps will again miss out.

“After a fine start to the weekend, further weather fronts will reach the Alps later on Sunday heralding an unsettled start to the week with further snow for some, this time probably heaviest in the west and maybe even the south-west at last.”

More to follow…

Wednesday 9th February

Today PlanetSKI has left its winter base in Aosta, Italy, to head over to the Portes du Soleil in France.

Morzine to be precise:

And check out a few images of the ski area we took today:

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

One of our reporters has been in the Morzine ski areas this past week.

She’ll be filing a full report shortly.

Do check back for that if you want to know more of what Morzine and the Portes du Soleil has to offer.

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Morzine, France. Image © PlanetSKI

Elsewhere round the Alps it is a similar situation:

Tuesday 8th February

The Alps is seeing much calmer and generally sunny weather.

This will be the situation for the next couple of days, right across the Alps as the weather stabilises after the recent storms and high winds.

Here is the scene in the Aosta Valley in Italy in the southern Alps as dawn broke on Tuesday.

Clear skies and little wind.

Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Later in the day it was as predicted – blue sky and low winds.

There were few around as PlanetSKI hit La Thuile in Italy and neighbouring La Rosiere in France.

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Heading to La Rosiere.Image © PlanetSKI

Heading to La Rosiere.Image © PlanetSKI

La Rosiere, France. Image © PlanetSKI

La Rosiere, France. Image © PlanetSKI

And in La Thuile there was a bit of powder in the trees after some recent fresh snow and high winds.

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

And we are told the wind has dropped elsewhere.

On Monday it was 120km/h in the nearby resort of Valtournenche.

It was a bit calmer on Tuesday.

Valtournenche, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Valtournenche, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Monday 7th February

PlanetSKI’s editor, James Cove, has moved round from Zermatt in Switzerland (see Sunday’s blog below) and he is now back in the current PlanetSKI winter base in the Aosta Valley in Italy.

He went to La Thuile where it was, er, rather windy today.

The Italian flag behind James could barely stay on its pole.

And in case you didn’t quite make out all of his pearls of wisdom, or any of it at all (some may say that is no bad thing), then:

And here are the conditions, out of the wind, in the tree runs in La Thuile that he was talking about.

Fabulous skiing with no-one around.

With his son Max enjoying some ‘wind blown’ powder snow while on his Atomic Redster race skis.

Tomorrow James and Max will be out on their Atomic Vantages – 100 underfoot.

As James said, all the lifts at the top of the resort were closed – with no connections open to La Rosiere in France.

It was bleak, but attractive.

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

La Thuile, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Italian weather stations reported gusts of 212 km/h in the nearby Gran Paradiso area on Monday and 120km/h in the ski resort of Valtournenche, which is next to Cervinia.

Here is a full weather report from the alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin, from weathertoski.co.uk.

It was posted on Monday morning and is one of the best websites to look at to keep across the overall alpine snow conditions.

“It’s mostly cloudy this morning across the northern and eastern Alps, with heavy snow still falling in the eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Klosters), and Austrian Alps (e.g. Lech, Saalbach) away from the far south.

“There are some residual snow flurries in the north-western Alps (e.g. Verbier, Avoriaz, Val d’Isère) today, but the main thrust of the storm has now passed and skies will gradually brighten.

“The best of any sunshine will be in the south-western Alps (e.g. Milky Way)…

“Heavy overnight snow in Lech with more to come this morning.

“Overnight, 15-40cm of snow fell across a wide swathe of the northern Alps with Val d’Isère reporting 25cm of new snow and St Anton 30cm, for example.

“With further heavy snow across many eastern parts of the Alps this morning, some parts of eastern Switzerland and Austria (e.g. the Arlberg region) will see storm totals of well over 50cm by the end of today.

“As has been the case with several recent storms, bits and pieces of snow have got through to the southern Alps, but many places have stayed dry, particularly in the far south-west where the likes of Sauze d’Oulx and Isola 2000 have seen little if any new snow since early December.

“It is currently very windy across the Alps as a whole right now, which combined with all the recent snow in the northern Alps is sending the risk of avalanche (off-piste) here sky high.”

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

On Monday morning PlanetSKI’s, Tashie Cove, who is currently in Les Gets in the Portes du Soleil in France woke up to fresh snow.

This was the view as she opened the curtains this morning:

Les Gets, France. Image c/o PlanetSKI

Les Gets, France. Image c/o PlanetSKI

“It is always fantastic to throw open the curtains and see a bit of fresh snow,” said Tashie.

“I have been in Italy for the past few weeks and we have barely seen a flake so this is especially welcome.”

The forecast from Sunday from Weathertoski.co.uk predicted, “20-40cm of snow expected across many northern parts of the Alps tonight.”

It appeared.

There was also a bit of overnight snow in Crans-Montana in Switzerland.

PlanetSKI reporter, Justine Gosling, was in the resort on Sunday evening as the snow started.

More to follow…

Sunday 5th February

Our editor, James Cove, is in Switzerland today.

No prizes for guessing which resort.

James and family. Image © PlanetSKI

James and family. Image © PlanetSKI

He travelled over for the day from Cervinia in Italy with his son Max and girlfriend Sally.

It is a €35 supplement to the Cervinia lift pass to ski in Zermatt and well worth it.

Not least for lunch.

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Especially when the Irish waiter sang one song in between serving the guests.

All Zermatt regulars will know Dave.

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

But what about the snow conditions we hear you ask?

“Here in Zermatt the on piste conditions in the Kleine Matterhorn area are superb. There is full covering and the cold temperatures have preserved the snow well,” said James.

‘There is good grippy snow, and it is excellent for some high-speed carving on the glacier and below.

“The White Pearl run was superb.

“Sadly there is no off piste to talk about and some of the steeper areas like Areloid in the Schwarzee sector that are skied by the experts need a decent amount before they can be skiable.”

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

“Over in the Gornegrat area it is a similar story with great coverage on the main runs.”

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

There is snow on all the runs down to the village.

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

And on the roofs of the mountain restaurants.

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Zermatt, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

“In the middle of the afternoon strong winds came in and many of the higher lifts in the Kleine Matterhorn sector closed,” said James.

“We sped round to the area fearing the connection to Italy might close, but the new 3s Gondola was running in the high winds, albeit slowly.”

“We made it home this time.”

Why did he say this time?

Two years ago ahead of the pandemic it was a different story and he had to hike out to get back to Cervinia as the lift closed.

See here for his full report on the visit back in 2020 and the unplanned exit:

Zermatt to Cervinia. Image © PlanetSKI.

Zermatt to Cervinia. Image © PlanetSKI.

Zermatt to Cervinia. Image © PlanetSKI.

Zermatt to Cervinia. Image © PlanetSKI.

More to follow….

Saturday 5th February

James was in Pila, in the Aosta Valley in Italy, with his wife, Kisia, on Saturday.

PlanetSKI in Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

PlanetSKI in Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

“The temperature has shot up here on the slopes and down in the town of Aosta it is a staggering 20c. It really is hard to believe it is early February,” said James.

Pila looking across the Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila looking across the Aosta Valley, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

“We haven’t seen any snow since the second week in January and we missed out on the last snow to hit the Alps.,” said Kisia.

“However the pistes are in surprisingly good condition and there is plenty of good grippy on-piste skiing to be had,” she added.

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Off piste is not an option.

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

On Sunday James is heading to Zermatt, so we will be updating later from Switzerland.

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Pila, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Across the Alps the fine weather continues with the temperatures warming up.

One of our regular readers, Holger Gasler, has been out on the slopes of Kappl in the Tirol in Austria.

“2m of fresh snow here in the resort with few people around – what an amazing skiing day,” he said.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

Kappl, Tirol, Austria. Image c/o Holger Gassler.

“However there is high avalanche risk and staying on the marked slopes is highly recommended,” Holger added.

The have been some avalanches after the fresh snow, with one that took the lives of 4 Swedish skiers and a mountain guide.

See here for that story on PlanetSKI:

PlanetSKI reporter, Justine Gosling, is in Crans-Montana, in Switzerland.

“The snow conditions are great, despite the lack of recent snowfall and high temperatures. 20-30cm of fresh snow fell on Wednesday which has freshened things up nicely.”

“Crans-Montana is south facing, so we have been bathed in sunshine under pure blue skies since the snow eased off.”

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

“The pistes are very well maintained, the snow is soft and coverage good. Only a couple of runs down into town are closed due to lack of snow.”

“It’s very warm and the avalanche risk was 3 yesterday. Even at the highest lift at 2,927 the temperature was 2 degrees yesterday, and 13 at the bottom of the slope in town.”

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

“Even by 4pm, the mogals were only just starting to form on a couple of slopes – probably because the slopes are very quiet so it’s not being churned up.”

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Image © PlanetSKI

“The quiet slopes are wonderful, although will obviously be busier at the weekend.”

Justine is in the resort for a snow-camp event, the AJ Bell Crans-Montana Marathon.

Snow-camp is charity which supports disadvantaged youth to participate in snow sports which also offers mental health support and leadership training.

See more about it here in an earlier preview article on PlanetSKI:

Snow-camp last ran the event in Courmayeur in 2020.

Snow-Camp AJ Bell Courmayeur Classic 2020 – photo © Pierre Lucianaz

Snow-Camp AJ Bell Courmayeur Classic 2020 – photo © Pierre Lucianaz

Snow-Camp AJ Bell Courmayeur Classic 2020 – photo © Pierre Lucianaz

A parallel event is the City Ski Championships which is a weekend event whereby teams can enjoy the resort and race slalom & parallel slalom ski races for prizes.

Justine Gosling

Justine Gosling

Do check back for Justine’s reports later…

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