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The conditions are 'best' of the winter
Tuesday February 2, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

There's fresh snow, cold temperatures and with half term almost upon us it's pretty good out here in the Alps. Check out the weekly PlanetSKI roundup.We have reports from Poland and Belgium, areas perhaps not normally associated with good skiing.

It's been very cold and snowing heavily across Europe this month

The Pyrenees has had up to 1m of fresh powder in 48 hours, and many resorts in Norway have had up to 1m too.  The snow in Belgium led to heavenly skiing in its 'secret resorts' and unleashed hellish chaos on its roads, whilst Germany is virtually 'drowning' in powder.

Fact or Hyperbole? Sometimes snow reporting is difficult as we report in this separate PlanetSKI feature.

Skiers and snowboarders are also being urged to be exremely cautious as the fresh snow has bough a number of fatal avalanches as we have reported here.

One man had a miraculous escape after surviving 17 hours under an avalanche thanks to being caught in an air pocket.

Here's the latest round up of conditions across the world with some help from

flag_franceFrance: The Pyrenees has seen some of the heaviest snowfalls with one resort reporting over 1m in 48 hours recently. Espaces Cauterts in the Pyrenees has had superb snow. 

Vincent Doutres from the ski area commented, "This week it snowed 1m in 48 hours. The ski area was entirely safe this weekend but we closed 15% of the terrain for security reasons."

There have also been large snowfalls in the Northern Alps, Avoriaz reporting 60cm of new snow. 

Avoriaz has done wellAvoriaz has done well













Chamonix Mont-Blanc boasts that its base remains the world's deepest at 4.2m. There's also still 20cm down in town with cold temperatures preserving the snow.  First thing on Monday morning it was -11c accordind to a PlanetSKI reader who is int he resort.

Alpe d'Huez now has 3.2m, Flaine 2.82m and La Clusaz 2.7m.

flag_swissSwitzerland: To the east, Swiss resorts have reported huge snowfalls over the past few days especially Filzback - Kerenzerberg which received 2m of powder in one week.

Andermatt has the second deepest snow in Switzerland with 2.4m on the mountain and 1.5m in the valley, and on Friday 30th they reported a further 45cm of snow in 7 days. 

"At the moment," says Peter Heinzer of Andermatt-Gotthard Sportbahnen, "There is more than enough snow to enjoy all kinds of winter sports here in Andermatt. Freeriders will also get what they want. On the slope with its beautiful new snow it's a real pleasure to enjoy the great skiing and boarding."

Most of the leading resorts have reported between 30cm and 60cm of new snow over the weekend, including Crans Montana, the Four Valleys and Saas Fee. 

PlanetSKI reader and ex-British Olympic skier, Sean Langmuir, was Crans Montana last week.  "The conditions were amazing with deep powder across the resort; we were doing face shots after face shot after face shots!"

Langmuir is now the technical Director for the ski and snowboard school, European Snowsport, that is based in Verbier and Zermatt.

Crans Montana this weekCrans Montana this week













Verbier in the Valais region has had a great snowfall over the last few days and more is expected.

Verbier this weekVerbier this week

















flag_austriaAustria: In the Central and Eastern Alps, Austria has also seen some big snowfalls across the country.

St Anton reported another 15cm of snow on 3rd February, which follows reports of a 20cm dump on 2nd February in the SkiWelt, including Kitzbühel, St Johann and other Austrian resorts.

During the week Austrian resorts have accumulated up to 80cm of powder, the Kleinwalsertal region reporting 75cm, and St Johann 60cm.

flag_italyItaly: The country has seen plenty of snow in the past week too, if perhaps a little less than the northern Alps. 

Falls of 30cm-50cm have been reported by resorts like Andalo and Piancavallo during the week.

The Marmolada glacier has a 3.8m base, Bormio 3m and Courmayeur up to 2.45m.

It has also been very cold in the Italian Alps, helping to preserve the snow.

Wrap up warmWrap up warm













Germany: To the north, Germany is simply drowning in powder at the moment with generous snowfalls of at least 20cm in less than 24hours in many places.

In the Allgäu the resorts of Alpsee Bergwelt and Grasgehren reported ½m of snow on Sunday. The latter now boasts 1.80m of snow on its upper slopes. Oberstdorf's ski resort now has 20cm-30cm.
The biggest snowfalls in Germany were reported from the Sauerland (Central Uplands), and Giller-Hilchenbach topped the list with 70cm in 24 hours. Medebach also reports similar snow levels.  And its still snowing.

In Eastern Europe its still a mixed picture. 

Resorts in the Czech and Slovak Republics have had fresh snow. Poland on the other hand hasn't had a great start to the winter, but has had some good snowfalls in recent days.

Teresa Kęsek from Polskie Koleje Linowe commented,  "After a long wait, skiers can finally ski in Kasprowy Wierch, part of Poland's leading Zakopane ski area. At the moment one slope in open in Kocioł Gąsienicowy. We're now waiting for the snow depth to build to 50cm when we will be able to run the Kocioł Goryczkowy chairlift." 

She blames the late resort opening on the lack of snowmaking machines in the Tatra National Park. "The very late opening of the slopes is because of adverse snow conditions and there being no possibility of using snowing system in area of Tatra National Park in Poland".
Dwie Doliny Muszyna - Wierchomla has the deepest snow in Poland with a 1.20m base.

Bulgaria to the south has had fresh snow this week - snowbases at its main resorts range from 30cm to 1.20m. 

And then there's Belgium - one of Europe's lesser known ski destinations.  Situated in country's southern Ardennes region, Belgium's ski slopes are currently reporting exceptional conditions with snowfalls of up to 35cm in one dump alone. 

Belgian resorts include Mont Spinett, Signal de Botrange, Mont Rigi, Baraque Michel, Rocherath Eifel Ski Zentrum and Ovifat Alpine Resort and all received up to 50cm of snow in the last week.

The Pyrenees, including Spain and Andorra has seen goood snowfall.

flag_-_spainSpain:  Top Spanish ski resorts have reported fantastic powder conditions with snow depths of up to 2.25m - Baqueira with 1.20m-1.85m and Formigal with 1.05m-2.20m snow levels have approximately 110km-124km of open piste. 

And in Sierra Nevada there's up to 3m of snow.


flag_-_scotlandScotland:  Scotland's ski areas have continued to receive more fresh snow although Cairngorm, which has the best conditions, has revised its accumulated total down to 1.50m at the top. 

All five areas are open and ready for the school half term holiday period over the next fortnight.

In a separate story we have reported that Glencoe is now loooking to expand its summer activities.


Sweden:  All Swedish ski resorts are now open, with the majority offering at least 80% of open lifts and pistes.  More snow is forecast over the next four days.

Last week saw fresh snow in large parts of the country, Nalovardo getting the most with 23cm, Hassela 20cm, Bjursås and Åre with 16cm.
Temperatures have dipped to -20ºC  in the north of Sweden whilst also remaining below freezing in the south. More snow is expected on Wednesday and Thursday, especially in the south, with a 20cm guestimated snowfall. So ski slopes in Sweden are in great  condition.

flag_norwayNorway:  Ski conditions in Norway are great right now with constant low temperatures and big falls of snow at most resorts.

This week 50 ski resorts have had some fresh snow, including Strandafjellet and Stordal in west Norway.



flag_usaUSA:  In North America the news is generally good. The weather is predominantly cold on both West and East coasts at present, and many resorts reporting 15.3cm - 46cm of new snow in the past week on both sides of the continent.

The east has recieved huge snowfalls with many cities paralysed by the snow, including Washinton DC - see this story for more information


flag_canadaCanada: With the Olympics about to kick off, conditions in Whistler are generally reported to be excellent. 

The snowboard and freestyle venue at Cypress Mountain, however, is still battling with a terrible thaw, and snow is being trucked up the mountain to top up, and generally improve snow cover.

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