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THE STORM PASSES
Tuesday January 16, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The Alps has been battered by yet another massive snowstorm. It's eased off & a huge clear up operation begins. Now there is the small matter of skiing! UPDATED

 

 

 

THE LATEST:

Resorts in France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy have been engulfed by yet another massive storm.

"Submerged in snow" is the phrase we have enjoyed using at PlanetSKI.

It's the fourth major snowstorm this month and the weather has finally eased on Tuesday as the storm passes.

Up to 2m of snow has fallen at altitude - though lower down it has been heavy rain.

In some localised areas the snow is has been up to 3m in the latest storm.

The avalanche risk has been 5 out of 5 across many areas of the Alps, though this is now being reduced to 4 on Tuesday.

The snowfalls of this season are now at historic levels and are unprecedented.

"I have never known a start to winter like it with the four massive storms in January alone and then we had very good coverage across virtually all the Alps in December," said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

And he has seen a few winters.

"It is turning into an historic winter for snow with unprecedented amounts so far. But of course it comes with the downsides too, with little skiing and snowboarding on offer at times in some resorts as the storms close the lifts and the avalanche risk is so great."

"At times it has also been torrential rain, rather than snow."

"There are record amounts for January and it is rapidly turning into one of those winters we will be talking about for years and years to come. I can't remember anything like it."

James in the thick of itJames in the thick of it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some areas of the southern Alps in Italy and Austria are escaping the full impact of the latest storm but much of the Alps is experiencing the wild weather, with heavy snow/high winds at altitude and torrential rain lower down.

TUESDAY 23RD JANUARY

SWITZERLAND

Zermatt remains cut off with road and rail links closed.

This is why.

The road and rail routes to Zermatt cut through places that are severely at danger from avalanches.

This one came down yesterday, Monday 22nd, after 2m of snow had fallen with more deposited by the wind.

The access was suspended at 10pm last Saturday and will remain shut until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.

It had been hoped to open the line on Tuesday evening but there is further risk form avalanche and a huge clearing up operation to be done with some tunnels full of snow.

"Rail traffic between Täsch and Zermatt remains closed until at least Wednesday afternoon. The railway line Visp-Täsch  will remain closed until at least Wednesday evening. The Gornergrat Bahn is closed until further notice," said a statement from the resort on Tuesday afternoon.

The closure of Zermatt a couple of weeks ago was for 48-hours.

We await to see how much longer this one will be but it looks like double the time: 4-days.

Huge avalanches are also still coming down outside the resort which is why the road and rail routes remain closed.

It is unclear if they are spontaneous or set off deliberately.

The video below was shot by Pawel Wegieski.

Here's the same avalanche from another angle.

We report the full details lower down this article from Monday and across the weekend as the storm developed and then struck.

The clearing up operation is already underway with this man clearing the roof of the church in Zermatt - with a little safety help from a helicopter.

Clearing up underway in ZermattClearing up underway in Zermatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow!

Some of the supermarket shelves are needing a swift re-stock in Zermatt - Video by Sandy Thiecke, from European Snowsport.

Elsewhere in Switzerland the rail links to Andermatt are closed due to the threat of avalanche.

The resorts of Zinal, St Luc, Saas-Fee, Leukerband and Arola in the Valais canton are cut off.

Two further large avalanches were triggered off in Switzerland on the morning of 23rd January in Anzère and Ovronnaz.

The first shows spectacular images of an avalanche this morning in Ovronnaz, where 2 tonnes of explosives were used to secure the area making the roads and ski areas safe.

And Avalanche de La Combe in Anzère in the video below:

The short video below shows some dynamite being dropped from a helicopter on the Valais slopes to clear unstable snow.

The Davos Economic Forum takes place later this week and though the road and rail links are open some buildings have been evacuated. 

The event is going ahead as planned.

Last night (Monday) a mudslide covered The Gotthard road tunnel and it remains shut in both directions.

50m of the road has been affected.

In Switzerland the avalanche risk has been lowered to 4 out of 5 in many areas and this means there is 'high' danger of avalanche.

"High avalanche danger will be encountered over a wide area," said the Swiss Avalanche Institute on Tuesday morning.

Swiss Avalanche risk, 24.01.18Swiss Avalanche risk, 24.01.18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITALY

Some of the heaviest snowfall has been in parts of Italy with up to 3m reported.  

Some of the villages around Val Senales remain cut off.  

The road to Livigno has re-opened this morning.    

Livigno, ItalyLivigno, Italy


































The authorities in Cervinia are currently assessing the situation.  

The access road remains closed for the third time this winter.

AUSTRIA

Road and rail restrictions remain imposed around St Anton.

The access road to St Chrstophe is expected to open this afternoon.

The resort is looking forward to opening following the huge amounts of snow.

"After the storms of the past few days we have been left with incredible amounts of fresh snow. The sun is soon to come so there will be some fabulous skiing available for everyone!" said a statement from the resort.

And here are the depths: Valluga 4.35m, Galzig 4.25m, St. Christoph 3.4cm, Rendl 2.7m and Gampen 2.2m.




Obergurgl is just one of many resorts that has seen huge amounts of snow.

And the digging out operation is underway.

Here is a the cafe by the bus station in the village.

Obergurgl, AustriaObergurgl, Austria


























And these guys are hard at work in the village:



FRANCE

The weather has now cleared with a huge operation to make the ski areas safe from avalanche now underway.

Here was Val Thorens at sunrise today.

Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France
























And here is the view from Val d'Isere:




Arc 1950, FranceArc 1950, France



























Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this article shortly so do check back.

And the forecast?

"The Alps can now look forward to two or three days of mostly fine and quite mild weather before the next storm arrives from the west later on Thursday and on Friday," said the alpine weahter expert, Fraser Wilkin, from weathertoski.co.uk

"This time it will be the southern and western Alps that will see the heaviest snow, at least in the first instance, possibly reaching Austria over the weekend."

Here at PlanetSKI we'll keep you posted.

MONDAY 22ND JANUARY

SWITZERLAND

Zermatt remains cut off with no-one able to get in or out of the resort by road, rail or air.

The resort is closed with not a single ski lift running.

The image below shows a huge powder avalanche coming down on the outskirts of town.

It has gone over the road and railway line.

It is unclear if it was triggered by the authorities or Mother Nature.

It was posted in the Zermatt Community page on Facebook by Moritz Mueglich.

Avalanche in ZermattAvalanche in Zermatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is a video of the avalanche filmed by Philipp Imboden.

Some homes in Zermatt are also being evacuated in the resort as the snow continues to fall.

The latest update paints a picture of conditions deteriorating further.

"There are no trips (either railway or road) to Täsch / Zermatt until further notice. The rail traffic between Täsch and Zermatt remains closed until Tuesday evening," said a statement. 

The Gornergrat Railway is also closed.

The helicopters that had been flying on Sunday were grounded for a time today due to strong winds combined with poor visibility.

Andermatt in cental Switzerland also remains cut off.

In Verbier the main gondola from La Chable in the valley into the resort has been closed due to a small landslide that has damaged a lift pylon.

It follows torrential rain in recent days.

Gondola closedGondola closed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the resort of Verbier itself only 4 of its 32 lifts are running.

This is the restaurant at Attelas.

Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRANCE

The access road to Val Thorens in France re-opened this morning after being closed overnight.

In Tignes people have been ordered not to walk between the various villages, though cars with snowchains are allowed.

The resort is on virtual lockdown with the avalanche risk at 5 out of 5 once again.

For an idea the amount of snow that has fallen in Tignes compared to last season just ponder these statistics:

December 2016 : 6cm - December 2017 : 244cm

January 2017 : 63cm - January 2018 (for now) : 308cm

The image below was sent to us by our good friends over at Mountain Heaven.

Tignes, FranceTignes, France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In neighbouring Val d'Isere the lift system is completely shut.

Schools and nurseries are closed with people are being asked to stay indoors.

"The ski area is now closed! Risk 5/5: unstable snow cover. There are many spontaneous departures from large avalanches," said the resort.

The road down the valley is closed and so Tignes and Val d'Isere are once again cut off.

The avalanche risk is 5 out of 5 in many other areas of France including Flaine where the resort has been able to open some lifts.

But many remain buried.

Flaine, FranceFlaine, France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chamonix Valley has seen some of the largest falls and buildings are being evacuated.

Carrefour Market (at Grépon) was closed at 2pm as it was threatened by avalanche. 

100 chalets have been evacuated as they are deemed to be under threat from avalanche.

"The situation is extraordinary: we've had the equivalent of five months of precipitation in just 45 days," the mayor of the Chamonix resort, Eric Fournier, told AFP.

He added that such snowfall "occurs once every fifteen years".

1,000 people have been told to stay indoors and not venture out.

AUSTRIA

It is a similar picture in Austria with ski areas closed, resorts cut off and genuine fears for some of the outlying villages.

Again the avalanche risk in large areas is 5 out ot 5.

The Emergency Committe has met in St Anton in the Tirol and issued the following statement:

"We are currently in an emergency situation. Exceptional circumstances require exceptional measures. The Emergency Committee is doing everything to make sure that all villages (in the holiday region St. Anton am Arlberg) and all people currently residing in the affected areas stay safe."

"Please keep calm and follow the official and final information."

ITALY

The northern Italian Alps are also beeing pounded.

Here's a video from the resort of Livigno.

Cervinia has shut all its lifts and the access road is closed due to fear of avalanches.

Many lifts remain closed in the Monterosa area due to high winds.

Monterosa, ItalyMonterosa, Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can expect to see more remote alpine villages being evacuated on Monday with the danger of spontaneous avalanches hitting villages and roads.

There are real concerns that avalanches could hit villages like the tragedies that happended at Galtur in Austria and Le Tour in France in February 1999 where communities were hit.

31 people died in Galtur and 12 in Le Tour.

That followed a snowstorm that brought 4m of snow - this storm had delivered 2m, but the winds will have led to larger accumulations and it has fallen on the huge amounts that have already fallen this winter.

It is turning into quite a cocktail of snow that may have lethal results.

And the forecast?

The storm will ease later today and clear by tomorrow.

Then more snow is predicted for the end of the week.

The snow has secured the winter for many resorts and there will be few concerns about late season skiing in the high resorts in the Alps.

"You couldn't make up how much snow we have here in the Alps. It is safe to say we are set for the rest of the season," said Francesca Smith from Powder N Shine.

The company operates out of Reberty and Les Menuires in Les3Vallees.

We will be updating this article with further reports shortly.

In the meantime check out further details below as we tracked the storm and its impact across the weekend.

SUNDAY 21ST JANUARY

On Sunday evening the risk of avalanche in many parts of Switzerland was raised to the highest possible level - 5 out of 5.

This will likely be introduced into other alpine countries soon.

"As a consequence of fresh snow and stormy weather a very high avalanche danger will be encountered over a wide area," said the Swiss Avalanche Institute on Sunday evening. Avalanche danger increasesAvalanche danger increases

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We start our Sunday round up in Switzerland.

SWITZERLAND

Zermatt: The authorities have closed the railway line between the resort and the village of Tasch.

The access road has also been shut.

Once again the resort is cut off with people currently unable to get in or out.

It follows further heavy snow and strong winds.

"Due to avalanche risk the street and railway between Zermatt and Täsch is closed.The duration of the closure of road and train is not yet known," said a statement from the resort on Sunday.

"Air Zermatt will arrange shuttle flights up between Zermatt and Täsch."

"There is no danger for guests and locals in Zermatt."

Rockfalls on route to ZermattRockfalls on route to Zermatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However the only way in and out is now by helicopter in dayight hours at CHF 75 a ride (£56).

Air ZermattAir Zermatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We reported the partial closure of the routes in and out of the resort in our report from yesterday lower down this article.

"As a consequence of fresh snow and stormy weather a high avalanche danger will be encountered over a wide area," said the Swiss Avalanche Institute earlier on Sunday before the level was raised to 5.

Avalanche risk in SwitzerlandAvalanche risk in Switzerland earlier on Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

The village of Mayens-de-Conthey in the Valais canton of Switzerland has been evacuated.

It is the second time this month the 40 residents have had to leave their homes due to the risk of avalanche.

PlanetSKI reader, Pete Gillespie, is leaving the Val d'Anniviers in Switzerland.

"Road to Zinal now closed! Just left Grimentz and it's snowing hard!," said Pete on Sunday afternoon.

Several hours later he made it to Geneva airport.

Here is what he left behind in Grimentz.

Grimentz, SwitzerlandGrimentz, Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere in Switzerland other roads the the upper Valais region and in the canton of Uri, are also closed as a precautionary measure due to the risk of avalanche.

FRANCE

In France resorts have been affected too.

The Chamonix Valley is bearing the brunt of the latest storm with people being evacuated from homes and others being instructed to stay indoors.

The situation is getting critical in places.

Here is the latest from the authorities on Sunday:

:::IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ::::

The Chamonix valley is currently in high avalanche awareness, not just the mountains.

If your property is located in a RED avalanche zone you are asked to evacuate by 6pm and not return until Tuesday AM.

The sectors of Les Houches around Taconnaz, le Pont are particularly sensible.

Road crossing les Gaillands will close today at 10pm.

The road to access Le Tour, tunnel des Montets at 9pm and there will be no more bus service for the train as from 7pm.

Some roads & sectors are closed or will be closing soon.

Respect all closed sectors and do not cross either by foot, car, raquette, etc. Authorities are asking to stay at home unless you absolutely need to go out."

In short it is extremely dangerous.

In Tignes people are being asked not to walk between the various villages.

The roads are open with snow chains compulsory for cars.

"Ski area is closed until further notice. Only TS Paquis, TS Rosset, TS Bollin and TK Lavachet are open," said a statement from the resort on Sunday.

The avalanche risk was 4 out of 5.

The highest resort in the Alps, Val Thorens in Les3Vallees, was cut off for a time as the road was closed and it re-opened on Sunday during the day after a huge clearing operation by the authorities.

Clearing the access road to Val ThorensClearing the access road to Val Thorens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But it has now closed again on Sunday night.

AUSTRIA

Many areas of Austria, except in the far south, are also being hit.

The roads in and out of Obergurgl in the Tirol were closed on Sunday.

Ischgl has seen wind gusts of up to 150 km/h and the resort has been closed in recent days.

It is open today, Sunday, with 10 of its 83 runs open and 11 of its 45 lifts.

St Anton is also facing huge problems.

"The situation throughout the region remains extremely tense and the previous reported barriers remain. Between 15.00 and 17.00 it is possible for private cars with snow chains (no buses, no trucks) to be able to leave St Anton. It is only possible to leave - no entry! " said a statement from the resort on Sunday.

Across the Alps the temperature is also warming up so torrential rain is falling at lower altitudes.

The storm should die out by the end of Monday.

Above 2,500 in many parts of the Alps, especially France and Switzerland, there is almost 6m of snow in places - unprecedented for January.

Our editor, James  Cove, was in Zermatt last week and it seems he was lucky.

Getting in after the last big storm that closed the resort and just ahead of this one.

James Cove in ZermattJames Cove in Zermatt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However many people across the Alps are now asking if you can have too much snow.

Including us at PlanetSKI:

But of course there are not these conditions across the whole of the Alps with skiing and snowboarding continuing.

Some sporting events have been called off but the racing went ahead at Kitzbuhel this weekend.

GB's Dave Ryding got another Top Ten in the slalom, and he even put in the fastest run of anyone.

And at the other end of the sporting spectrum the 75th Inferno race took place in Murren despite the heavy snow.

That's PlanetSKI's Vanessa Fisher second from the left: Go girl!

Inferno, MurrenInferno, Murren




















Vanessa will shortly be posting a piece on her exploits in the Inferno so do check back for that.

Here at PlanetSKI we will bring you further details of the situation across the Alps later so do check back.

SATURDAY 20TH JANUARY

SEVERE WEATHER CAUSES TRAVEL PROBLEMS AND AFFECTS SPORTING EVENTS

Another busy transfer day in the Alps is being hit by the weather.

Zermatt in Switzerland is once again having access problems.

The rail line between Visp and Tasch is closed due to rockfalls and buses have been laid on to help take people in and out of the resort.

There are shuttles going from Tasch to Zermatt but these will cease at 10pm tonight due to danger of avalanche.

Zermatt will once again be cut off.

There were problems last week with access into Zermatt restricted.

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No trains could operate for 2-days though helicopters were able to fly.

Zermatt railway stationZermatt railway station

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today planes flying with SWISS into Sion airport in Switzerland were diverted to Zurich adding many hours to people's journey times to ski resorts in the Valais canton.

Most resort access roads remain open as the snow falls, but chains are required into many resorts.

People are being warned to leave plenty of time for their journey and to take extra food, drinks and warm clothing.

"Another snowy weekend is on the way. Snow chains are compulsory on Saturday. Make sure to allow sufficient time for your departure or arrival at the resort on Saturday morning," said a statement from Tignes ahead of the weekend.

Tignes has seen some of the heaviest snowfall in the Alps.

It is the same in Val Thorens in Les3Vallees.

It is compulsory to have chains and at the moment the road remains open, but snow is still falling.


Sporting events have also been affected.

The slopestyle events at the Snowboard World Cup event in Laax, Switzerland, and the FIS snowboard cross competition in Erzurum, Turkey, have had to be cancelled due to bad weather.

After several inspections the organisers had to cancel the men's and women's slopestyle events in Laax.

The snowboard cross qualifying event in the Turkish ski resort of Erzurum was also called off.  

And in Verbier the Audi quattro Ski Cup has been postponed.

"Due to the adverse weather conditions announced for this weekend the the Audi quattro Ski Cup Verbier is postponed to 02-03-04 March" said a statement from the organisers.

Postponed to MarchPostponed to March










But it's not all wild weather across the Alps.

PlanetSKI's roving reporter, James Rampton, has just arrived in St Mortiz.

There is plenty of snow and the wind had dropped.

See below for his report:  

Serene in St Moritz  

AVALANCHE DEATH IN SWITZERLAND

A 31-year old woman from Holland has died in an avalanche in the Ovronnaz region of the Valais canton.

Two Dutch skiers were skiing off-piste in the Saille region at around 1,700m when they were caught in an avalanche.

It measured 200m long and 20m wide.

The other person, who is 27, escaped with minor injuries.

They were skiing in the trees which is often thought to be safer.

Avalanche scene - photo c/o Cantonal PoliceAvalanche scene - photo c/o Cantonal Police

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avalanche scene - photo c/o Cantonal PoliceAvalanche scene - photo c/o Cantonal Police

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the statement, the police warned of avalanches across the canton.

The the danger level was 4 out of a maximum of 5 at the time, but it has now been reduced to 3.

The police statement advised skiers not to leave marked pistes.

"All slopes above 2000m above sea level represent an avalanche danger. Depending on region and slope, spontaneous, or even avalanches at distance can be sexpereincedby skiers," said a statement form the cantonal police.

"The avalanche danger can increase further due to the expected weather forecasts. It is recommended not to leave the marked slopes in the ski areas. It is known that the first days after fresh snow are particularly dangerous for avalanche decline."

8 people have died in avalanches in Switzerland this winter.

The danger level on Saturday 20th January remains as 3 on a scale of 5 across much f the Swiss Alps "Considerable avalanche danger will be encountered over a wide area," said a statement from the Swiss Avalanche Institute.

Avalanche danger in SwitzerlandAvalanche danger in Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In many areas of France the danger level remains at 4.

FRIDAY 19TH JANUARY

Our weekly snow report is out with all the details of the storm in the Alps, plus the conditions elsewhere in Europe and North America.

See the full details by following the link below:

Meanwhile we continue up dating this rolling blog with videos, pictures and reports from the resorts hit by the latest huge storm.

Fancy being in this gondola in Verbier?

No, thought not!

And our editor, James Cove, is in Zermatt as the clear up continues in the town.

See more about his time in the Swiss resort further down this blog.

THURSDAY 18TH JANUARY

Up to 2m of snow is falling in another huge winter storm.

The wind is little short of ferocious with gusts over over 200km/h.

Once again it is the resorts of the northern Alps that are being hit the hardest, in France, Austria and Switzerland.

PlanetSKI is in Zermatt where high winds are battering the slopes and much of the resort remains closed.

We have just seen the latest video below, filmed by Pinto Alfredo Morias and posted on Facebook, as trees have been blown over the Gornergrat railway line in Zermatt causing damage.

We have no further details of the incident at the moment but the railway company has issued the following statement:

"The Gornergrat Bahn has ceased operations due to strong storm and will stay closed until at least 8am tomorrow morning. Next update: 19.01.2018 8am."

Our editor is taking shelter in the town as some of the strongest winds recorded hit the area.

Last week the resort made headlines around the world as it was cut off and the only way in and out was by helicopter.

Part of the railway line between Tasch and Visp down in the valley has been closed again during the current storm, but it re-opened at lunchtime today.

Partial closure of Zermatt railway linePartial closure of Zermatt railway line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have more from Zermatt from our editor, James Cove, lower down this article.

He reports from the top of the Gornergrat earlier in the week at the height of the storm and yesterday he attempted to go skiing.

The wind is also causing probelms in Austria with many resorts closing their hugh-altitude lifts.

"Due to very strong winds not all lifts are operating at the moment. The following lifts are open right now:  Wiesenlift, Mahdstuhllift, Hochgurgl gondola," said a statement from Obergugl in the Tirol.

Meanwhile check out these 'before and after' pictures from Val Thorens in France as the local playground gets buried.

Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Tignes the whole resort is closed again and people are being urged to take precautions in town.

"The road between Tignes Le Lac and Tignes 1800 is open and only equipped cars will be able to go through," said statement from the resort.

"The road conditions are very difficult and special equipment - ie snow tires or snow socks or snow chains - is compulsory. Visibility is very poor."

It is a similar situation in neighbouring Val d'Isere.

"An avalanche activation plan is under way on the entire ski area, as soon as possible this will open," said a statement from the pisteurs this morning.

"Good day to all and stay alert the risk of avalanches and 4 OUT OF 5."

This man in Val d'Isere is using a snow blower to try to get the snow off his roof.

Much of the snow is also wind-blown as the speeds are ferocious at times and in places.

There have been gusts as high as 200km/h recorded on the glacier at Saas-Fee, in Switzerland.

As reported earlier the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, is in Zermatt and has been braving the elements.

Once again the lift system remains at a virtual standstill across the resort.

James headed out to try to have a ski on Wednesday.

See below for how he got on.

All in all winter is biting with a vengeance.

"With so much wind, snow and rain in the mix, not to mention fluctuating temperatures, conditions in the Alps are highly variable right now," said the alpine weahter expert, Fraser Wilkin, from weathertoski.co.uk.

" While snow depths may be exceptional at altitude, especially in the west, for your average skier the conditions are not ideal, at least in the northern Alps where it may be the middle of next week before the weather settles down again."

The risk of avalanche across Switzerland and elsewhere is high.

Swiss avalanche situation, Thursday 18th JanuarySwiss avalanche situation, Thursday 18th January

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last weekend, before the latest storm, three people died in the Swiss Alps.

On Saturday two snowshoe hikers, a 38-year-old Swiss man and a 28-year-old German fell 400m on the Hinterrugg peak in the canton of St Gallon.

A 57-year old a ski tourer also fell 200m to his death on the Mutteristock in the canton of Glarus.    

Here at PlanetSKI we'll keep you posted on all the latest so do check back. 

WEDNESDAY 17TH JANUARY

The alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin of Weather To Ski, said this morning that the rain/snow limit was initially around 1200-1400m in the western Alps last night but has come down to well below 1000m in all regions today.

The latest snowfall has increased the avalanche risk to critical once again.

"The heaviest snow showers will continue to be across the northern half of the Alps - i.e. the French Alps roughly north of Grenoble, the Swiss Alps (except for the far south), much of Austria away from the far south, and the far north-west of Italy," Fraser said.

"The most likely spot to catch some sun will again be the Dolomites."

The forecast is for more bad weather tomorrow and into Friday when the temperatures will drop.

This video from Les2Alpes in France was shot this morning by our reporter in the resort Rod Frazer from the British Alpine Ski School, BASS.

And this has come from staff at La Peau de Vache restaurant near the bottom of the Face de Bellevarde piste in Val d'Isere, France.

Not for the first time, they've had to fight their way out through the kitchen window....

As if Val d'Isere and Tignes next door haven't already been battered enough this winter!

This was posted by Tignes this morning.

We wouldn't fancy trying to get the car in or out of there today!

The whole ski area has been closed for the time being.

And here's the Italian resort of Courmayeur, which is on the border with France.

Courmayeur, ItalyCourmayeur, Italy, Wednesday morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In France's La Plagne at 10am the lifts were held closed and the snow was heavy, early doors, and still falling. 

There's been near to half a metre up high on the Bellecote glacier, which has been closed since Tuesday morning.

Descending to the valley and Moutiers, there was extreme sleet and rain, and heavy hail in Geneva, as PlanetSKI's Katie Bamber made her way to the airport.

We love compare-and-contrast images so here's a photo taken at 1,450 metres in the centre of the French resort Meribel in the Three Valleys by our chief reporter Jane Peel on Monday, followed by one taken from the same viewpoint today and posted by the resort.

Meribel CentreMeribel, Monday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meribel CentreMeribel, Wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Les3Vallees lift links will be closed all day.

Over in the neighbouring valley, Courchevel, 150kph winds are reported at the top this morning with high winds also at resort level.

Snow equipment is required for vehicles venturing out onto the roads.

Here is an image from Zermatt on Wednesday morning as the snow started to fall once again.

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overnight clearing up was still going on from last week's storm.

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heavy snowfall has forced officials at the International Ski Federation Snowboard World Cup in Laax in Switzerland to call off slopestyle qualification rounds.

They had already been brought forward due to the weather forecast.

Organisers are trying to re-schedule but say the finals will go ahead on Friday.

In Veysonnaz, also in Switzerland, competition at the fourth World Para Alpine Skiing World Cup was cancelled for a second successive day as a result of high winds, poor visibility and 20cm of fresh snow on the course.

Slalom races were due to start today.

It's not just the Alps that's taking a pounding.

Scotland is also seeing heavy, disruptive snowfall.

Cairngorm Mountain reported at 9.30am that 34cm of snow had fallen in the past 24hrs in the Aviemore area.

The hill road is open but there is poor visibility at times in heavy snow showers and drifting snow.

The upper lifts were closed with winds gusting at 40-50mph (up to 80kph).

Cairngorm MountainCairngorm, Scotland, Wednesday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY 16TH JANUARY

PlanetSKI's social media editor, Kisia Cove, is in Wengen where the trains have halted due to the high winds.

The weather was bright and sunny on Monday, but overnight conditions changed and it has become very windy.

On Tuesday there was not much skiing to be had.

The clouds were coming in and the storm is expected to bring in around 20cm of snow.

Strong winds kept the Männlichen cable closed all day, and trains to Kleine Scheidegg were random if at all.

"We were intending to go up to Kleine Scheidegg, but only managed to reach one of the lower stops at Wengeralp where the train terminated. We were told heavy winds may derail the train so as a precaution it wasn't going any higher," she said.

"There was no option but to ski on the lower areas. There were very few people skiing apart for the Swiss Army who were meticulously dismantling the stands and infrastructure from the Lauberhorn race at the weekend."

The stormy weather will have implications on the 75th Inferno race that is taking place in neighbouring Murren at the weekend (17-20 January).

There was sleet in town but higher up it was snowing.

Drizzle in town - Wengen: 16th JanuaryDrizzle in town - Wengen: 16th January

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And our senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, is in La Plagne in France.

"There's been consistent snow, heavy and light, since last night in La Plagne.At the summit above 3000m more than 0.5m fell over night and through the morning," she said on Tuesday evening.

"Down at 2,000m there's been around 20cm overnight. The glacier was closed due to winds but below 2,000m skiing was great between the trees."

A whiteout meant visibility was low, and it was snowing down to 1,200m at the Piste Olympique Bobsleigh.

Already this season more snow has fallen than during the entire of 2016/17 winter in the Paradiski area.

Plagne MontalbertPlagne Montalbert


























La PlagneLa Plagne Centre AM


























The storm was predicted and see our earlier report as the storm started and the excellent skiing before the snow came in again.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this report with news from across the Alps.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

Related Articles

POWDER SKIING AS CLEAR UP CONTINUES (Friday January 18, 2019)
OUR WEEKLY SNOW REPORT IS OUT! (Thursday January 17, 2019)
ST ANTON SKI AREAS: SUBMERGED IN SNOW (Thursday January 17, 2019)
LIVING WITH THE SNOW (Thursday January 17, 2019)
THE SNOW HITS FRANCE (Wednesday January 16, 2019)
LEVEL 4 AVALANCHE RISK IN PARTS OF THE ALPS (Tuesday January 15, 2019)


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