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Heavy snow across the world
Wednesday February 10, 2010 - Email this article to a friend

From the Eastern USA, to Scotland, Scandinavia and the Alps there are some great skiing and snowboarding conditions. The only place it seems to be lacking is at some Winter Olympics venues. Here's our review of the conditions across the world.

In Europe the snow has eased off a little after the heavy falls at the end of last week which means conditions are generally pretty good.

It has remained very cold in places too, thus keeping the snow in good shape.

It has been snowing heavily in our base resort of Verbier and cold temperatures have preserved the snow well across the mountains.

The photo below was taken in the Savolyeres area of the resort on Wednesday by an instructor from European Snowsport.













The clouds though have now lifted and we have yet another blue ski powder day out here in the Swiss Alps.

The photo below was snatched on Thursday morning, in between a few powder turns, in Lacs des Veux.













There have been an alarming number of avalanches that we have reported elsewhere on the site, including a few narrow escapes; a man buried under the snow for 17 hours and a 60 year old mountain guide caught in Switzerland.

In North America the media has dubbed it 'Snowmaggeddon' as Washington ground to a standstill.

The photo below was sent in by PlanetSKI reader, Susanne Adams, who lives in Washington. Her children have been out n the garden enjoying the unexpected snowfall.













Now it is the turn of New York.

We have already reported on last weekend's snowstorm and the current wintry weather in this updated story.

Not every part of North America is experiencing great snow cover; unfortunately one of the few losers is the 2010 Winter Olympic snowboarding and freestyle skiing venue, Cypress Mountain.

It is close to Vancouver and battling with warm weather and a resulting lack of snow.  However Whistler, further north, has declared itself 'Games ready'.

We start this week's PlanetSKI snow report, that is brought to you with the help of, in Canada where the 2010 Winter Olympics gets underway at the weekend.

But first it has also been snowing again in Southern England. On Thursday one PlanetSKI reader awoke to about 5cm of snow in Hythe.  "It may not sound much but it has caused chaos in town," she tells us.  For some pictures of it all see this video report on the BBC.


CANADA:  The news headlines are being made by the lack of snow at Cypress Mountain;  the venue for the snowboarding events, the freestyle skiing and the moguls. 

See this separate story about the conditions of the slopes and the use of giant helicopters to bring in snow from higher up the mountain. Lorries are also bringing it in from even further afield.

Cypress Mountain is close to Vancouver, which has been unseasonably warm lately, and most of the snow at resort level has melted.

The main skiing events though are taking place to the north at Whistler where conditions are good and athletes are now training.

The first alpine competition is the Men's Downhill on Saturday February 13th, the first day of competition.

"International Olympic Committee delegates recently skied the course and were very pleased with the results," says Tim Gayda, Vice President of Sport for the Olympic organisers, VANOC.

"From the beginning of the season, VANOC and Whistler Blackcomb crews have worked hard together to prepare the courses to create a very dense base of snow that involved a massive snowmaking effort.

Add to that the incredible amount of natural snow that has fallen in Whistler this season, and we're now ready to deliver an Olympic-class alpine skiing venue."

Now, here at PlanetSKI we have skied a World Cup Downhill prepared course.

Our content editor, James Cove, skied The Olympic Downhill course at Snowbasin during the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.  "It was effectivley sheet ice so it woud have been fun to see the Olympic Committee delegates skiing it," he says with a grin.Smile

Deep snow at Whistler/Blackcomb is not unusual, but reaching the average annual snowfall of 10.13m this early has never happened before.

Do keep an eye out for our Olympic coverage on PlanetSKI, that we trust will be slightly different from all the rest. Hopefully avoiding all the spin, hype and exaggeration but also reflecting the wonderful event that the Winter Olympics is.

A special section on PlanetSKI will go live once The Games get underway.


FRANCE: Up to 60cm has fallen over the last week with resorts like Meribel, La Plagne and le Grand Bornand all reporting big falls.

The Vosges region, one of the lower mountain area for ski resorts in the country has received a particularly notable covering of up to 50cm at 1,200m.

Across France as a whole Chamonix Mont-Blanc has the top snow depth of 4m with little Vaujany, below Alpe d'Huez, at 3.2m 

Flaine and La Clusaz have 2.9m.

Les Houches in the Chamonix ValleyLes Houches in the Chamonix Valley














SWITZERLAND: The country had great snow last weekend. Arosa and Klosters did well, and Champoussin in the Valais region had 60 cm in only 48 hours.

Its neighbour in the Portes du Soleil ski region, Morgins, had 30cm.

As we mentioned at the begiinning of this Snow report conditions are good out in Verbier. 

PlanetSKI reader, Lynsey Devon, says it's a pretty good time to be out.

"After a night of it chucking it down there are now perfect on piste conditions, sunny but cold. It snowed heavily in the village with inverse snow conditions up top. Tortin was delicious! Currently warming our cockles at cafe le chaux and more snow is forecast."

Le Chaux, Thursday morningLe Chaux, Thursday morning













The deepest snow depths in Switzerland are at Lötschental and Engelberg, with 262cm/245cm respectively. Andermatt, Saas Fee, Laax and St. Moritz each have two metres or more.

All of them had some new snow in the last week.

Looking good in the Portes du SoleilLooking good in the Portes du Soleil












AUSTRIA: There has been a lot of fresh snow in the past week.

The Mölltal glacier had 40cm of new snow last weekend so there were "very good conditions" on the slopes according to the resort. There is 3.5m on the glacier.

Willi Krüger of Pitztaler Gletscherbahnen says, "On the Pitztal Glacier the snow cover, which was already great, was topped by 30cm of fresh snow in 48 hours at the weekend. You can only call this ideal conditions".

Sölden got 27 cm of new snow last week. They have a snow cover of 192cm on the glacier today.

flag_italyITALY: It has had a good deal of heavy snow across the country, leading to great powder conditions, but high avalanche risk.

Monterosa has had some of the biggest falls of the past seven days with 72cm.

At least 7 people have been killed by avalanches in recent days.

To the north, the heavy snow falls of last week lessened a bit in Germany.

flags_germanyGERMANY: There has been 53cm of new snow in a week in Upper Bavaria.

Ofterschwang in the Allgäu region had 33cm.

More snow is set to fall over the next few days.


flag_-_andorraThe Pyrenees: are still looking very nice with more than 1.5m of snow on the top of the slopes in Andorra. 

More cold weather and snowfall are expected through the week there and in Spain, it's looking good.



flag_-_spainSPAIN:  Formigal has some of the deepest snow in the area with 2.2m and 136km of slopes open. 

It will celebrate the Pirineos Sur Winter Formigal this weekend, a fusion musical Festival with performances from the School of Samba da PraÇa, Dj Wagner Pa and Jazz Rap Band US3.

Sierra Nevada in the south of the country has the deepest snow in Spain however and is reporting 3m on upper slopes and 99 km of runs open.

The Spanih resort of Baqueira earlier this monthThe Spanish resort of Baqueira earlier this month













In Eastern Europe there's been a few inches of fresh snow at most resorts and conditions are now good at most areas across the region with up to 1.5m of snow on upper slopes at Bulgaria's Bansko.

In Northwest Europe there's still snow in Belgium and the Netherlands, not places we often include in our snow report but we did last week as well.

The recent snowfall led to huge traffic jams in Belgium of up to 900km, in part because trucks blocked  tunnels in Antwerp and Brussels due to snow on the road and in the Netherlands the was a 380km traffic jam which is longer than the distance from the very south to the northern border of the country.

It has though led to some skiing.

In the East and Southern part of Belgium where Nordic and Alpine resorts have built up to a 40cm  snow layer. Alpine resorts Spa and Baraque Fraiture are leading, together with the Nordic resort Losheimergraben.

flag_-_scotlandSCOTLAND: Across the North Sea all five Scottish ski areas remain open, with most receiving some new snow in the past week and Cairngorm continuing to have the deepest snow, although all resorts have good cover. 

Cairngorm staff were rewarded this week with a special commemorative bottle of whisky from a local distillery in recognition of their efforts to 'dig out' the ski centre from the heavy snow in January. 

And as the half term week approaches business is looking up with 55 instructors working.

Cairngorm, February 2010Cairngorm, February 2010












Next week the resort will be organising torchlit descents to celebrate the Olympics.


SWEDEN: 11 resorts reported between 15cm and 25cm during the past 7 days.

The most was at Kappruet with 25cm with the region's largest ski resort, Åre only just behind on 24cm.

The biggest snow depth in the country at the moment is in Ramundberget with 117cm followed by Vemdalen with 115cm. The weather forecast looks promising with more snow in the south and far up north.

flag_usaUSA: Back in North America there have been snowfalls at most resorts, particularly on the US West Coast in California and further north in Alaska, where Alyeska has had the biggest snowfall in the world over the past 7 days - 107cm.

Other resorts across the West have had big falls, although the snow hasn't been quite as abundant in Colorado and other ski areas in the Rockies, although most have had good falls there too.

More unusually large falls have been reported in South eastern US states like Virginia where ski areas have reported 50cm accumulations an there have been similar large falls in other southern US states to the west like Arizona and New Mexico.

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