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WINTER IS BACK! - James Cove, The Tirol, Austria
Monday April 22, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

What a way to end April as snow falls across parts of the Alps. PlanetSKI is enjoying the Spring powder in Austria. UPDATED

The weather in the Alps remains unsettled with some new snow.

PlanetSKI is at Kaunertal glacier in the Tirol as we put next year's skis through their paces at the Ellis Brigham Ski Tests.

All of next year's main skis are there, 80 or so in all, with 15 testers from Ellis Brigham + myself and my 25-year old son Alex.

Spoilt for choiceSpoilt for choice

We are honoured to be the only 'outsiders' invited along to have a preview of next season's skis and try them for size.

But what of the current snow conditions?

It was a bit bleak on Sunday - but decent conditions to test the powder skis.

PlanetSKI at the Eliis Brigham ski testsPlanetSKI at the Ellis Brigham ski tests

We will have an update on the Ellis Brigham Ski Tests on Tuesday with what's new and what's hot for next season.

In the meantime here was the snow first thing on Monday morning...

It may be the end of April but looks like there is still some skiing to be had.

Now no report on Kaunertal is complete without mention of the 40-minute road journey up from the valley floor.

If you have driven it you will know what I'm talking about.

It is one of the best journeys to a ski resort I know.

Beautiful to start with:


And then things get a bit narrower on the small single track road by the lake.

You need to breathe in if a car comes in the opposite direction:

The road clings to the rock face on the left of this picture below, high above the lake and then twists and turns onwards.

One the way up I counted 34 hair-pin bends and then gave up as I needed to concentrate hard on the driving.

The road to KauntertalThe road to Kaunertal

With a pretty small wooden safety barrier should things go wrong:

The road to KaunertalThe road to Kaunertal

It is a proper way to arrive, with the heart beating just that little but faster.

Arriving at a glacier resort high up in the Alps should be an interesting and challenging experience in my view.

And the higher we went the deeper the snow became.

Huge amounts remaining with more falling.

Who said winter is over?

Not us.

The road to KaunertalThe road to Kaunertal

And at the top... deep mid-winter at the end of April.

Winter is backWinter is back

Though with poor visibility it was sometimes just skiing from marker post to marker post:

Into the cloudsInto the clouds

And here are some further images on Monday morning in the village of the village of Feichten.

Snow back on the carsSnow back on the cars

The Tirol, AustriaThe Tirol, Austria

The Tirol, AustriaThe Tirol, Austria

And it's a similar scene in other parts of the Tirol.

Here is Hintertux that is also open for skiing at the moment.

Hintertux, the Tirol, AustriaHintertux, the Tirol, Austria

The biggest falls have been around the Swiss-Italian border with it falling from Zermatt/Cervinia up to Andermatt and back down towards St Moritz.

The rain/snow limit has dropped from around 1600-1800m to 1000-1400m.

PlanetSKI was in Soelden near Innsbruck in Austria over the weekend.

Our editor, James Cove, hit the slopes on Saturday morning.

What a treat!

And we mentioned the Audi Nines.... well, look who we bumped into at the event:

And see below for a spectator's eye view of the event:

Soelden remains open for a few more days and here is one of the best spots, the Rettenbach glacier that goes up to 3,250m.

It looked more like  a beautiful day in the middle of winter.

Soelden in SpringSoelden in Spring

As we headed up there was a rather strange structure at the base of the glacier.

Soelden in SpringSoelden in Spring

We had seen it a few weeks back.
It's always a hard choice of which skis to use at this time of year after some fresh snow.

Piste or powder?

"I went for my favourite all-mountain skis - the Atomic Vantage," said James.

"For me they are like going for a few beers (turns) with one of my best mates."

Soelden in SpringSoelden in Spring


"They did not disappoint".

And at the top - it is so hard to believe it is the end of April and all this will be closing shortly:

Soelden in SpringSoelden in Spring

"Why?" I asked myself over and over again as I made some sweet turns in the powder.

There is still fabulous skiing to be had.

And the Rettenbach glacier is connected to another sweet spot - by tunnel:

Soelden in SpringSoelden in Spring





The Tiefenbach glacier:

Soelden in SpringSoelden in Spring














We love skiing at this time of year.

Soelden in SpringSoelden in Spring

And as James mentioned in his video it's Pitztal later this week.... and tomorrow?



Check back and we'll let you know.

It is where the retailer Ellis Brigham chooses to test next year's skis - and for good reason.

And we're please to say we have been invited along to preview and try out next season's skis with them....

The trouble is I still love my Atomic Vantages that I have owned for a few years... I await to be impressed.

Many of the main resorts in the Tirol were affected ahead of the snow by the wind.

In Ischgl only about a third of the ski area was open as high winds closed all the upper lifts when we visited on Thursday.

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria

Over the next few days we are due snow at altitude and rain lower down - all eyes will therefore be on the temperatures.

It was +14c at 2,000m in Ischgl but the slopes remained in good condition and uncrowded in places.

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria















"The resort has done a great job preserving the snow and it is still possible to ski all the way down to the town, though it is slushy in places as you would expect," said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria














Next week the resort hosts Lenny Kravitz at its closing concert and preparations are well under way.

Ischgl, Tirol, AustriaIschgl, Tirol, Austria


"The weather will remain changeable over the weekend with further snow in places," said our resident alpine snow expert, Fraser Wilkin, from

"Next week, the weather will start changeable with some showers (snow to 1200m) in the eastern Alps, notably in Austria. It should be drier and brighter further south and west, settling down in all areas (at least for a time) mid-week."

Many resorts are closing with huge amounts of snow still on the slopes.

It is the same every year.

Obviously the low level resorts need to close, but at altitude there is plenty of skiing and snowboarding to be had.

After the huge snowfalls of this winter the skiing at the moment is some of the best we can remember for this time of year.

France has a huge number of high altitude resorts, but most have now closed.

In Switzerland there is still some good skiing at altitude in Verbier.

"A little bit of fresh snow up here on Mont Fort for the last course of the season. And what an incredible season it has been!" said our good friends over at the Warren Smith Ski Academy.

Posted below is a list of the ski resorts still open and their projected closing dates:


26th April
Rofflesee Pitztal

28th April
St Anton, Tirol
Stuben am Arlberg

1st May
Dachstein Glacier

5th May
Pitztaler Glacier

12th May
Molltaler Glacier

2nd June
Zell am See - Kaprun
Stubai Glacier

Year round:
Hintertux Glacier


26th April
La Rosiere

27th April
Peisey Vallandry
Les Arcs
La Plagne
Champagny en Vanoise
Les 2 Alpes
Alpe d'Huez

28th April
La Clusaz

29th April
La Grave

1st May
Val d'Isere

5th May
Val Thorens, Les3Vallees


26th April
Passo Lavaze - Oclini

28th April
Madonna di Campiglio
Campo Imperatore
Alagna Valsesia, Monterosa Ski Area

1st May
Cortina d'Ampezzo

5th May

19th May
Ghiacciaio Presena


27th April
Saas Fee
Aletsch Arena

28th April
Disentis 3000
La Tzoumaz - Savoleyres

1st May

5th May
St Moritz
Diavolezza - Pontresina

26th May

Year round:

All the above dates are dependant on snow conditions so do check directly with the resort for the latest.

Here at PlanetSKI we are still on its slopes and we've also got our touring skis out.

Earlier in the week we went for a short skin up in the now-closed resort of Glungezer near Innsbruck.

Here's the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

And here are a few images of the day that James spent with his 25-year old son Alex and his son's girlfriend, Marie.

Skining up in Glungezer, the TirolSkining up in Glungezer, the Tirol
















Skining up in Glungezer, the TirolSkining up in Glungezer, the Tirol














Skining up in Glungezer, the TirolSkining up in Glungezer, the Tirol














Skining up in Glungezer, the TirolSkining up in Glungezer, the Tirol
















Skining up in Glungezer, the TirolSkining up in Glungezer, the Tirol
















Skining up in Glungezer, the TirolSkining up in Glungezer, the Tirol














And at the top...

A picnic lunch on our skis.

















With this as our view... the PlanetSKI alpine base of Innsbruck down in the valley.

... with a view.... with a view.
















Though at the bottom at the end of the ski down it was, er, rather sketchy...

It is Spring after all. Cool

Skiing down in Glungezer, the TirolSkiing down in Glungezer, the Tirol















James mentioned in the video a few of the resorts where you can ski in the Tirol without having to walk uphill.

We will have reports from some of them over the next few weeks, before we hang up our kit until the summer glacier ski season starts.

Look out for those posts - later this week we are planning to be in Ischgl, Kuhtai and Soelden.

And then into May it's the main glacier resorts in the Tirol - Stubai, Pitztal and Hintertux.

And at the weekend we'll be reporting from the Ellis Brigham ski tests on the glacier in Kaunertal as we put next year's kit through its paces.

Look out for our exclusive preview of the best skis for next season.

The skiing ain't over for us at PlanetSKI - not by a long, long way.

If there's snow we'll be on it.

Here's to the end of April and into May!

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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