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Heavy snow across the world
Thursday September 23, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

New Zealand, Canada and The Alps have seen some decent snowfalls this week. It has been a pretty amazing time for some resorts around the world. See the latest conditions in the PlanetSKI weekly overview.

New Zealand has been hit by extreme weather and though it has led to big problems for many people the ski resorts have had more snow.

However many have had to remain closed due to high winds.

One of our readers/reporters in New Zealand, Amanda Pirie, sent us this short message which sort of sums it up; "It is extreme weather here, no photos to send because it is all just fog!"

The weather has badly affected farmers and tens of thousands of people have been without electricity as power lines have been brought down.

"The spring storm of 2010 is frankly the worst in a generation. The last big dump of snow we had was 14 years ago in the winter of 1996, while the last time we had anything this severe was 38 years ago," said one farmer in New Zealand.

Animals have died, the transport system has been hit and many people are suffering.

On the other side of the world in Canada it looks like it is winter already from the pictures we have been sent.

Marmott BasinMarmott Basin












Banff-Lake LouiseBanff-Lake Louise













But we start in Europe where there has been less snow, but still some. 

More resorts are opening too with some new snow according to our friends at skiinfo who have supplied some of the information in this report.

We have also just put up this seperate story with pictures and information about light snowfalls  in Cairngorm and Verbier over the weekend.

flag_franceFRANCE:In the Alps Tignes opened for business less than a month since it ended its summer snow season.

We have reported on it in a separate story on PlanetSKI.

The resort will be open through to next May.

We have some PlanetSKI readers in the resort this week and they will sending us in some pictures and telling us what it is like, so keep an eye open for that this week.

For the next two months Tignes will be the only French resort open, with the exception of a brief opening of Les 2 Alpes in late October.

flag_austriaAUSTRIA: Six glacier ski areas are now open in Austria after the Stubai and Kaunertal glaciers joined already open Hintertux, Solden, Molltal and Pitztal glaciers at the weekend. 

The Kitzsteinhorn glacier has been closed for a while but opened again last Wednesday with a 42cm base.


Scene at KaprunScene at Kaprun













flag_swissSWITZERLAND: In Switzerland it's still either Saas Fee or Zermatt with a 1m to 1.5m lying and terrain parks open. 

 It's still a few more weeks until the glaciers of St Moritz, Gstaad and Engelberg join the party.

 Laax plans to open on November 13th.

One of our readers/reporters, Guy Ordway, has taken the picture below in Verbier. Winter is on its way by the looks of things.

Snow on highSnow on high













And we have just received some fresh information from Guy on Monday morning.

"OK, we didn't need to dig out the cars and wear down jackets, but it's been snowing in resort this morning and settling just a tad above Verbier," says Guy.  He works for the ski school, Performance.

Le Rouge run into VerbierLe Rouge run into Verbier













flag_italyITALY: In Italy Val Senales still has 1m base.

It received a dusting of 5cm of new snow last weekend to freshen up its slopes.



flag_finlandFINLAND: In Finland, Ruka, has announced it plans to open next week on October 1st, all being well. 

It then hopes to stay open through to June 2011.

It has Europe's longest ski season for a resort without a glacier, maintaining a snow slope for nearly nine months a year.

There's currently no skiing in North America, as Timberline in Oregon is closed until October for its annual maintenance period however the snow is starting to fall big time, especially at the northern end of the continent.

The annual battle to open first has begun too with the ski area of Loveland firing up its snow guns with the aim of opening in mid-October. Here's a report on the firing up of the snow cannns in Loveland.

Below is a You Tube of the snowmaking manager, Eric Johstone, getting things ready. 

It is not exactly the most exciting of videos but it does show things are happening.

flag_canadaCANADA: Marmot Basin above Jasper and Banff - Lake Louise, all in the Canadian province of Alberta, have reported big snow falls in the past week.

We reported on it here a few days ago.

Over 20cm of snow blanketed Banff-Lake Louise in one fall alone.

Jasper's Marmot Basin also received over 10 cm of snow on 20th September with considerably more accumulation at higher elevations.

Last winter Marmot opened on November 11, its earliest opening date ever, with ideal snow conditions.

So far this fall is shaping up to deliver a repeat performance of last year's early season snowfalls which helped contribute to Marmot's record setting year for attendance.

Sunshine VillageSunshine Village













In Whistler the mountains have already received a dusting of snow and the resort is currently scheduled to open on November 25

It's getting towards the end of the season in the southern hemisphere but New Zealand is seeing the biggest snowfalls of the winter to date at present.

flag_new_zealandNEW ZEALAND: "We have received heavy snow mainly from the west and north west since late last week.  Whakapapa has gone from  a depth of 1.3m's a week ago to over 2m,' said a statement from Mt Ruapehu

"Turoa has received just as much snow but it has come with higher winds meaning the snow stake measurement hasn't changed as much.  Don't be fooled though, conditions will be way better when the storm passes."

It's a similar story at other areas, most reporting up to 60cm of new snow over recent days but with strong winds.

The extreme weather means most have had to close their slopes until the storm passes over.

It's not all good news though, the heavy snow led to a collapse of a sports hall and on Ruapehu Tower 8 of the High Noon Express has been damaged in the storm.

The resort has already ordered replacement parts and hopes to have the lift fixed by late next week. 

The extreme weather has caused severe problems for farmers and thousands of people have been left without power.

We reported on it here.

flag_australiaAUSTRALIA: There's been no fresh snow in Australia but conditions are still good at most ski areas thanks to the huge falls in August and subsequent top ups. 

Temperatures have been touching double figures above zero at some areas and most are reporting "beautiful Spring-like conditions."

Thredbo for example still have 1.7m of snow lying at mid mountain. 

 At Falls Creek snow depths are a little lower, just above 1m, although deeper in the snow making areas. 

It's a similar story at Mt Hotham that says it has finished snow making for the season. 

To see what it is like take a look at the snow report video below from Perisher.

flag_chileCHILE: Over in South America, in Chile, Valle Nevado is in to the last few weeks of the season, but temperatures are still below freezing and the snow tally for the season has just passed the four metre mark. 

The hotels are scheduled to close this weekend but limited terrain will remain open to 2nd October. 

At Portillo snow depths are 25-50cm with no new snow in the past week and Spring-like conditions. 

flag_argentinaARGENTINA: In Argentina one of the top resorts, Las Lenas, closed on Monday, but Cerro Catedral is still open with a diminishing snow pack on upper slopes.

It is now down to 1.7m.


For the spirit of the mountains


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