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TOO MUCH SNOW? - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Wednesday January 9, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

The multiple storms in Austria are the biggest in recent memory. Fabulous to see all the snow, but it comes with its problems.

It started snowing at the beginning of the month in Austria and has barely stopped as multiple storms have battered the whole country.

It is exceptional in parts of Austria, especially in the lower resorts of the northern Austrian Alps.

These include Saalbach, Kitzbuhel, Ski Welt and Zell am See, where there is talk of it being the most snow they have seen since the winter of 1978-79.

Digging out in Maria Alm, AustriaDigging out in Maria Alm, Austria
















Digging out in Maria Alm, AustriaDigging out in Maria Alm, Austria
















"It is certainly the most snow I can remember in these lower Austrian resorts and I have been following weather and snowfall patterns avidly for about 30 years," said the alpine snow expert, Fraser Wilkin, from

Check out his daily updated reports on - they are the best in the business in our opinion.

And see here for our updated report on all the snow:

It certainly looks pretty as an armchair viewer from elsewhere in Europe.

Picture postcard in AustriaPicture postcard in Austria

But currently in terms of skiing this means resorts are cut off, lifts closed, runs shut, huge avalanche danger and there is very little skiing and snowboarding.

The avalanche risk is Level 4, the second highest, at many of the ski resorts in Austria.

In the latest incident an Australian teenager died in St Anton:

See here for an earlier PlanetSKI report of a series of avalanche deaths in the recent storms:

The unprecedented levels of snow have had an interesting impact on British people heading out to ski.

"The reaction to the Austrian snow has been very polarised, much like the type of skier, or holiday they seek," said Richard Sinclair from the leading UK ski agent, SNO.

"Clients who are focussed on having a great 'holiday' in the mountains have been among those being nervous of booking Austria and some have said they want to look elsewhere this year."

"Clients who are more 'ski' or 'sport' ocussed are exactly the reverse, phoning us desperate to get out there asap, while the fresh snow is so huge."

"The two mindsets seem balanced among our customers, so bookings are pretty much where we expect Austria to be, in the mix."

"I think the big effect will be seen if it sticks, and Austria has an amazing late-season, to complement the unusually late Easter dates."

Resorts are seeing a similar situation with some cancelling as they fear being able to get in and out of resorts while others are desperate to get on the slopes.

Here is the director of the St Anton tourist office:

Not surprisingly PlaneSKI is in the category of wanting to get into the powder as soon as possible.

Our senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, arrived in Ski Amade in Austria on Saturday, while I'm heading to St Anton on Monday.

Meanwhile here is a social media post from one of our readers, Martin Creasey, as he contemplates the skiing conditions and hits the nail on the head.

"Finally admits that it is possible to have too much snow. Austria's season so far," he said.

Which would you prefer to have?Which would you prefer to have?

And some views from the PlanetSKI Facebook page:

Facebook viewsFacebook views

People are snowed in.

Lindsey Cairns lives in the tiny village of St Ulrich am Pillersee in the Tirol at 850m.

She tells us of the day to day living as metre after metre of snow falls causing disruption to daily life, though they solider on.

Clearing up continuesClearing up continues

Clearing up continuesClearing up continues

The village of Hohentauern in central Austria has been cut off since last Saturday.

270 people, including 60 children, are in the village.

"The village is safe and we're keeping the streets clear," said the owner of a hotel to local media.

"The children are enjoying outdoor walks, tobogganing and building snowmen."

The transport problems have been huge with many accidents and a number of fatalities on the roads.

Roadside trees are simply collapsing under the weight of the snow.

And now large amounts of snow are forecast for France as a huge storm hits. 

Well over half a metre in places with much more at altitude where it will be wind affected.

The snow will continue over the weekend in places with expected problems at some airports in the Alps and the busy transfer day will be affected.

Contingency plans are already in place and preparations being made.

Innsbruck airportInnsbruck airport

We reported on the severe travel problems last weekend in this PlanetSKI story:
But despite all this would we have it any other way here at PlanetSKI?

Certainly not.

It is winter after all and once it is cleared then the season is set for the rest of the winter in Austria.

And guess where we are moving our head office to in February for 3-months?
Is it possible to have too much snow?

Yes and no.
For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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