PERFECT POWDER & PISTE SKIING IN THE ALPS
15th January 2019 | The PlanetSKI Team
The storm has left superb conditions in parts of the Alps: on piste & off piste. There remains ‘considerable’ risk of avalanche. PlanetSKI reports. UPDATED
The figures are staggering in parts of the Alps hardest hit by the recent snowstorms.
Up to 4m of snow since the beginning of January.
The most snow in more than 30 years.
See here for our latest, and updated snow report.
However, we start our report from one where there has been liitle fresh snow.
Just to show that there’s some decent skiing in the Alps to be had almost wherever you are.
Piste, not powder.
Our chief reporter, Jane Peel, is in Madonna di Campiglio in Italy and has been out pounding the pistes.
And here’s a view of Madonna di Campiglio on Friday…
“If anything conditions on Saturday are even better,” Jane said.
“There was perfect corduroy on the pistes first thing and there seemed to be fewer people around – perhaps because the forecast of clouds kept the weekenders away.”
“We had the last laugh as what clouds there were made for even more spectacular scenery. Plus it got progressively brighter as the day went on.”
In her video report, Jane mentioned Val Gardena in The Dolomites and our editor, James Cove, has now arrived.
“The snow and on piste skiing in the Dolomites, contrary to what you may have heard, is little short of superb. There was 5 to 10 cm of fresh snow which has freshened things up nicely and under a perfect blue sky when I arrived,” he said.
James sent us his latest report from Sella Ronda, the ski route loops around the massif of the Sella mountain range.
We will be updating the story later with full details on the snow conditions in the Dolomites, but in the meantime watch below as James seems to be enjoying the snow on the piste.
See here for his full report on the day:
And this is what it currently looks like.
“I was actually a bit sad to be leaving the powder of St Anton in the Tirol in Austria earlier in the week but Val Gardena and the Dolomites offers something altogether different and what I absolutely adore – fast, hard, piste skiing,” said James.
Anyone else love on piste skiing?
And here is a comment on the current snow conditions in Italy from PlanetSKI reader, Lorna Hunt, who is in Pila.
Here at PlanetSKI we will be bringing you a series of special PlanetSKI reports from Italy over the next few days so do check back.
See here for the last report from James in St Anton:
Access to St Anton was closed for several days earlier this week.
Here’s the clear up now as visitors and locals ski under the blue skies:
And what it’s like out in the Arlberg now:
This is what was waiting under the white out and blind (beautiful) turns our senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, made this week in Ski Amade.
The avalanche risk has now gone down to Level 3, after being at 4 and 5 in places this week and last.
However Level 3 is where most fatalities occur as people head into the powder believing it to be safe.
On Saturday two people died in Italy in two separate incidents.
In the first near Mount Spicco in Valle Aurina six skiers were caught.
Five were dug out but the sixth, a 22-year old man, died at the scene.
In Val Gardena in Italy, where PlanetSKI has been skiing, an ice climber died after being hit by an avalanche.
His climbing partner survived.
The risk was Level 3 out of 5 in both incidents.
“Considerable avalanche danger will be encountered in some regions,” said the Swiss Avalanche Institute.
There have been six avalanche deaths in Switzerland this month.
People are urged to obey all the rules.
PlanetSKI was in St Anton in Austria earlier this week where the clear up and avalanche protection measures are continuing.
Our editor, James Cove, had been waiting to get in for a couple of days and arrived late Tuesday night.
Then saw the huge amounts of snow on Wednesday:
There was some superb skiing to be had – safely and just to the side of the pistes as the avalanche risk remains at Level 4
The resort was busy clearing up the slopes – grooming and making them safe from avalanches.
Elsewhere in Austria roads are opening, avalanche blasting is taking place and ski resorts are opening runs.
The next few days should extraordinary.
“The last of the snow from this now infamous storm cycle is dying away from the eastern Alps and the MASSIVE clear up operation is underway in earnest,” said our resident alpine snow expert, Fraser Wilkin, from weathertoski.co.uk.
Check out his daily reports here.
“The next few days will be much quieter across the Alps than we have seen in recent weeks.”
“We will not see anything like the intensity of the storms that have battered the northern Alps in recent days, at least for the time being.”
Elsewhere across the Alps the clear up is already underway and there has been some fabulous powder skiing.
But the heavy snowfall has brought a heavy toll.
In the last few days several more avalanches have been reported in Austria, Switzerland and France.
At least three people have died.
In Switzerland on Tuesday a 20-year-old Swedish woman died while skiing off-piste on Mont Gond in Nendaz near Verbier.
The police say others she was skiing with found her quickly thanks to her transceiver but were unable to save her life.
On Monday, 24-year-old ski patroller died after he and a colleague were caught in a slide while trying to secure the pistes in the Portes du Soleil ski area on the Swiss-French border.
The other patroller was able to free himself.
The two men had been laying explosive charges to artificially trigger avalanches to make the marked ski runs safe between Champoussin and Les Crosets.
Also on Monday, a Dutch man died after apparently being struck by two avalanches in the French resort of Valmorel.
The 45-year-old was with his 22-year-old son and a friend in the Madeleine area.
Reports suggest that the son was able to free his father from the first avalanche then went for help.
The man was then buried in a second avalanche.
The ski patrol eventually found him with the help of an avalanche dog.
Overnight on Monday/Tuesday a hotel and an apartment block in the Austrian resort of Ramsau am Dachstein near Schladming were hit by an avalanche.
It was strong enough to throw vehicles out of its path and break through windows.
No one was hurt, though about 60 people had to be moved out of their accommodation.
The town had been cut by the snowfall and high avalanche risk.
Hotels in Germany and Switzerland have also been struck by avalanches in the last week, as we have reported in our earlier articles.
PlanetSKI’s senior news reporter Katie Bamber has been in Ski Amade in Austria, which has been using helicopters to try to dislodge snow from the laden trees:
See Katie’s report from Ski Amade here
And see here for our report on the conditions in France.
In Murren in Switzerland on Tuesday it was clear they were going to have a big task digging out the chairlifts in the Schilthorn area before they could start running on Wednesday.
And how about some more photos to show what conditions are now like after the snow?
Tignes in France on Wednesday…
Superbes conditions à Tignes ðŸŽ¿ pic.twitter.com/T5LNP7jt71
— Tignes (@TignesOfficiel) January 16, 2019
This image was taken on Tuesday morning by the veteran Verbier ski instructor, Neil Wardman, as he set off for work.
And another of our good friends in the resort, the legendary Verbier DJ Nico, had already been out.
Putting in first tracks down Marlene.
And one of our regular readers, Heather Jeffreries, sent us this view across the resort from slightly later in the day.
And these beautiful photos of Gargellen in Austria on Tuesday are from Sally Trenchard:
Thanks to everyone for sharing what it’s like where you are.
You can do so over on our Facebook page.
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