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Resorts shut but skiing still to be had
Saturday April 9, 2016 - Email this article to a friend

A wave of resorts said goodbye to the season of 2015/16 last weekend. But there is still skiing: check out where. Caution though is urged off piste as a Dutchman dies in a crevasse fall in Zermatt. UPDATED

As the Easter holidays draw to a close the ski season is ending across the mountains.

Conditions are not too good on the lower slopes, as is the norm for April, but many resorts have good conditions at altitude and some have seen fresh snow a few days ago as we have reported here.

A little bit of snow is forecast for some areas later in the week with the freezing level at around 2,000m.

The melting snow though causes some dangers. 

South-facing slopes can be dangerous as the sun heats up the snow and can cause avalanches as the day progresses.

In Zermatt as 46-year-old Dutch snowboarder died at the weekend when he was riding off piste on a glacier and fell 25m into a crevasse.

His friends called the rescue services but he was pronounced died at the scene.

His body has been recovered.

Wet snow avalancheWet snow avalanche














Tignes is a sure bet for end of season skiing and closes in May.

PlanetSKI reporter, Anne Gorringe, is there at the moment.

"There is sunshine and blue sky here in Tignes. As is usual in Spring the first runs of the day proved icy but by 10am conditions were starting to improve and made skiing in the sun, with stunning views, an absolute delight," said Anne.

Tignes, FranceTignes, France
















The French AlpsThe French Alps












And it is looking good in Les Arcs where Anne was earlier.

"It was +2c at the top of the mountain and +18c at Arcs 1600, but there was still good skiing to be had," said Anne.

This was the scene in Laax in Switzerland at the weekend - Sunday was its last day and it closed with great conditions at altitude.

Laax, SwitzerlandLaax, Switzerland













Laax, SwitzerlandLaax, Switzerland













Laax, SwitzerlandLaax, Switzerland
















PlanetSKI was in the resort last week for the BRITS - to say the weather was a challenge for riders and organisers alike would be an understatement!

"On the final weekend of the season, snow conditions were the best they had been all week, both on and off piste, at least in the mornings, thanks to the 30cm plus of snow that fell overnight on Thursday.
There was even sun at high altitude above the cloud," said PlanetSKI's chief reporter, Jane Peel, who was reporting on The BRITS.

"Temperatures have warmed up a bit again, but it was still a shame that I was leaving Laax and unable to ski on Sunday, the last day of the season when the weather was fine!" added Jane.

Other resorts that closed at the weekend in the Alps include Champoluc in Italy.

It shut with fresh snow and some decent depths. 

Champoluc, ItalyChampoluc, Italy
















The Italian resort of Courmayeur also called it a day

Most of the resorts in Andorra in the Pyrenees shut at the weekend.

It is a similar picture in North America. 

Our content editor, James Cove, is in Kicking Horse in British Columbia for its end of season. It will not have skiing this week, but re-opens for a final fling next weekend as the snow conditions remain good.

This was the picture as dawn broke on Sunday morning:

Dawn in Kicking Horse, British ColumbiaDawn in Kicking Horse, British Columbia
















Kicking Horse, CanadaUp on the slopes
















"There is top to bottom cover and the slopes were in superb conditions with a great end-of-season atmosphere. There was fancy dress galore, BBQs up on the slopes and we caught first lift up and last lift down," said the PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove.

Lower slopes at Kicking HorseLower slopes at Kicking Horse















Upper slopes of Kicking HorseUpper slopes of Kicking Horse
















Upper slopes of Kicking HorseUpper slopes of Kicking Horse
















Looking into the Canadian RockiesLooking into the Canadian Rockies
















And James had an added bonus.

The resort has a grizzly bear, named Boo, that awoke from hibernation and was released into its enclosure last Friday.

"It was one of the most impressive animals I have seen and I was lucky enough to get up close with Boo's warden, Ross Prather. It is not often you get to see a grizzly bear this close without fearing for your life," said James.

Boo awakesBoo awakes















Boo the bearBoo the bear
















Out of hibernationOut of hibernation
















Here on PlanetSKI we will have a full report on our meeting with Boo later this week.

A number of resorts in North America have extended their season due to remaining good snow cover - see here for that story here on PlanetSKI.

In Marmot Basin in Alberta Canada, the conditions remain good and the resort closes on May 1st.

Marmot Basin, Alberta, CanadaMarmot Basin, Alberta, Canada
















However, like all resorts, care is needed on south facing slopes at this time of year as there is avalanche danger as the sun heats up the snow.

Marmot Basin, Alberta, CanadaMarmot Basin, Alberta, Canada
















And while we are looking away from Europe the resort of Rosa Khutor near Sochi in Russia went out with a bang.

More than 1,000 participants of the BoogelWoogel festival dressed only in swimwear & bikini suits skied on the slopes of Rosa Khutor resort on Saturday to say farewell to the skiing season in Sochi.

Within the next few days the organizers will send an application to the Guinness Book of Records to denote this as a record.


Back In Europe many resorts remain open for a while yet - some have fresh snow.

Zermatt saw up to 40cm of fresh snow at altitude with a good covering in the resort

"20cm of Spring snow fell in Zermatt village last night," said PlanetSKI reader Adrian Lamb on Saturday.

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland
















Les2 Alpes closes on 24th April and there is still plenty of fresh snow at the top of the resort.

Les2Alpes, FranceLes2Alpes, France













And it was not too shabby on Obergurgl in the Tirol at the weekend - it ends its season on April 24th.

Obergurgl, AustriaObergurgl, Austria
















So, where are the best resorts in the Alps for a spot of late season skiing and snowboarding and when do the resorts close?


Ischgl - 1st May

Mayrhofen - 19th April

Obergurgl - 24th April

Soelden - 17th April (glacier till 8th May)

St Anton - 24th April


Alpe d'Huez - 23rd April

Avoriaz - 24th April

Chamonix - 28th April (some lifts open to 1st May)

Courchevel - 24th April

Flaine - 24th April

Meribel - 24th April

Les Menuires - 24th April

Serre Chevalier - 24th April

Tignes - 1st May (glacier open till 8th May)

Val d'Isere - 1st May

Val Thorens - 9th May


Cervinia - 1st May

Livingo - 8th May


Saas-Fee - 17th April

Verbier - 24th April

Zermatt - 17th April (glacier remains open)

Resort closings are all subject to snow conditions to do check with the resorts as lift closures may change at the last minute.

As we said earlier some resorts in North America have a way to go yet. 

After Kicking Horse our content editor is heading to Sunshine Village in Alberta, that closes at the end of May.

He will also be visiting Lake Louise that shuts later this month.

After that he is back to the Alps and will be skiing in some of the resorts that remain open - our season at PlanetSKI still has several weeks to go and we look forward to continue to write about the joys of Spring skiing!

Cheers from Kicking Horse!Cheers from Kicking Horse!
















See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

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