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Finally snow falls in The Alps
Wednesday February 16, 2011 - Email this article to a friend

Last week it fell in the southern French Alps and parts of Italy too. Now it is coming down across many other parts. Some resorts haven't seen any snow since Christmas. North American continues to have great snow. Check out the PlanetSKI weekly snow report that we are updating.

It has been a long, long time coming; almost two months in some cases. 

But many of the resorts of the southern French Alps have had up to 30cm and it has come in time for half-term. Some have had even more.

Parts of Italy have done well too with Courmayeur getting 25cm of fresh, white flakes and other resorts reporting up to half a metre.

The resorts have done a fantastic job maintaining the skiing and snowboarding conditions in the snow drought, but now the real stuff is falling.

Below is a round up of pictures and statistics, but first check out the latest video snow report from our content editor, James Cove, who is now in Verbier, Switzerland.

It was filmed high up on the Mont Fort glacier on a rather windy day last Thursday, before the widespread snowfall came.

Since the video was recorded it has started snowing in Verbier.

"We woke up to see snow falling on Sunday morning and it has been coming down steadily all day.  On the busy pistes it has been pushed away by all the traffic and it is icy underneath, but in the quieter areas it is over the ski boots and we found some lovely snow in the trees in the Savoyleres area," says James Cove. "For a resort that hasn't seen any decent snow since Christmas this is very good news and has brought on some wide smiles in the resort."

It is set to continue falling in Verbier on Monday and possibly Tuesday. We will bring you a video report later on Monday here on PlanetSKI.

It is not quite like the United States - see the video below that was filmed in the US resort of Heavenly on Wednesday 16th.

Maybe, just maybe, we will be getting similar conditions in Europe.

But as we have reported elsewhere on PlanetSKI the resorts have done a pretty good job preserving the snow in recent weeks and months.

On piste in VerbierOn piste in Verbier










We are updating this story with more news and pictures, but in the meantime here is what it looks like when this snow update was posted on Friday 18th.

flag_austriaAUSTRIA: The country has been the snow succes story of the winter so far, but it has missed out on the heavy snowfall of elsewhere.

Some of the resorts have had a dusting of anywhere between 2cm and 5cm.

Fresh snow though is forecast for the weekend.


flag_swissSWITZERLAND: Some resorts in central and eastern Switzerland have had some fresh snow.

Zermatt had just under 10cm on Wednesday and there was a bit in Wengen and Engleberg.

Over in the west though it is a different story with many of the resorts in the French-speaking part of the country still in need of some new snow.

As you will have seen from the video snow overview, at the beginning of this story, Verbier was still awaiting but not any more.

Please be some snow in those cloudsPlease be some snow in those clouds













flag_italyITALY: Italy has had some of the best snowfalls with 50cm reported in some resorts.

Courmayeur on the Italian side of Mont Blanc had 25cm this week and people from Chamonix, on the other side of the mountain, were driving round to experience some much missed power snow

Madonna had almost half a metre and there was snowfall in Sestriere and Sauze d'Oulx with powder skiing on offer in the Milky Way resorts.

flag_franceFRANCE: The resorts in the south have all had some fresh snow.

Montgenevre 15cm, Alpe d'Huez 15cm and the lesser know resorts of Les Orres and Vars report more than 10cm.

One reader has emailed us from Serre Chevalier; "Don't forget Serre-Chevalier in the southern alps - it's dumped 25cm here too!"

Isola 2000 tops the snow league though. "60cm in the last week and is the best snow in Europe," says Craig Burton from Ski Solutions.

The main French resorts though have not had much and some report a dusting.

Some parts of the Portes du Soleil have had 10cm though 25% of the ski area remains closed.

90% of the links are open.

"Despite the recent weather across Europe, the vast majority of the Portes du Soleil ski area is still open, with good conditions on piste and all 12 resorts are open," says a statement from the tourist office we have been sent. "The slopes are busy with skiers enjoying both the snow and the sunshine!"

Over in the Trois Vallees it is a simlar picture.

"In general the slopes are OK and they've done a decent job keeping them conditioned. But there hasn't been fresh snow for some time now and some sections are showing some stones or gravel. It hasn't detracted for our skiing though," says a PlanetSKI reader who has been in Meribel this past week.

Mixed conditions in MeribelMixed conditions in Meribel












Over in Chamonix there has been no fresh snow but it is a similar tale with peope still enjoying the mountains.

"All our lifts are operating with the exception of the Chosalets nursery slope and the Retour Pendant and 95% of the slopes are open and the cross-country slopes are all open too," says Claire Burnett from the Chamonix tourist office.


ANDORRA: The Pyrenees has had some fresh snow with 5cm reported in Pas de La Casa and Soldeu in Andorra.

The best snow is probably to be found In Arcalis.

"The snow is good in Arcalis as you can imagine being so much in the shade at this time of the year, it's still compact powder on the slopes and bumpy hard and some times soft snow off piste," says the ski instructor and former head of the Arcalis ski school, Mark Crighton.

"The other stations have icier conditions but all slopes are open, as we've had some really cold spells the snow machines have done a good job. "

flag_-_spainSPAIN: There has been some new snow in the Spanish Pyrenees.

Formigal reports10cm.

In Bacqueira Beret conditions are said to be good.

"Natural and man-made snow perfectly acceptable," says PlanetSKI reader, Xavier Adam, from the resort.

Bacquiera Beret this weekBacquiera Beret this week

















flag_japanJAPAN: Japan is not a country we normally cover in our snow report, but we have a special feature from there with some great pictures too.

 See the story here from one of our readers/reporters, Rob Rees.

"We had more snow all day yesterday, bringing the total to 50cm in the three days I've been here. Today was clear, so great snow and wonderful views. The tree skiing is amazing. Worth making the journey for alone," say Rob. 

He runs the ski school Inside Out that is a partner of PlanetSKI.

See some more photos from Niseko below.

Niseko's backcountryNiseko's backcountry













Great snow in the treesGreat snow in the trees










flag_usaUSA: The USA continues to break records and this time the best place to ski seems to be Squaw Valley that had over 70cm earlier this week.

Earlier this month Vail and Brecknridge did especially well.

See out video snow report from Vail that was filmed last week.

It gives you an idea.


One of our reporters, Rupert Mellor, has just sent us this description from Deer Valley in Utah.

"The greatest snow on Earth", announce numberplates all over the western US state of Utah, and so confident are the locals (notably local tourism officials) that their precipitation is pretty much perfect, they even trademarked the phrase.

However, when I got my edges into it today in Deer Valley, it wasn't having the greatest of days.

The family-focused resort, recently voted America's best by the readers of SKI magazine for the fourth year running, boasts an annual average snowfall of 400".

So far this season, it has had 157", and the last dump, a fairly respectable ten-incher, came six days ago.

So it's a tribute to the quality of the snow that falls on the Wasatch Range, dried by the carrying storms' journey over the vast Nevada deserts, that a couple of feet of pillowy chowder (chopped-up powder) still lay off the sides of trails and in the trees.

And on the immaculate groomers, troubled only by the polite skiing of the très posh clientele (no boarders allowed!), the surface was creamy, grippy, flattering perfection.

The day's other notable feature was some freakishly April-like conditions, which by the end of the day had started to bake the thick stuff's top layer into heavy, soggy icing. Please, snow gods, turn the thermostat down and bung us some more of Utah's finest before I have to skip town.

After a relatively dry January Squaw Valley got around 75cm overnight on 16th February - and here's what it looked like the next morning.

flag_canadaCANADA: Whistler has had yet more snow this week with one of our readers telling us of even more powder in the resort.

Further inland it has been good. In Banff/Lake Louise records are tumbling.

"The snow is continuing to fall in Banff-Lake Louise, with almost half a metre of snow in the past week. This follows the best January in five years for snowfall. Last month, 167cm of dry, light snow blanketed the area - well above the 30 year average," says a statement we have been sent by the resort.

It is also pretty good over on the east coast. Very good in fact with 34cm having fallen in Le Massif de Charlevoix, Québec, this week.

Rather oddly this ski resort is upside down as much of the accommodation is at the top of the resort. 

It makes that first morning ski even more enjoyable particularly as the view is of Saint Lawrence river.

CanadaLe Massif de Charlevoix, Canada













Fernie has done well too. once again.

22cm of snow fell in one 48hr period and snow was reported to be falling at a rate of 5cm/hour.

"We are currently experiencing a Fernie Factor extreme. It is freaking crazy here!" commented a resort spokesperson.

We are updating this report with news, information, videos and pictures as we get them so don't forget to check back.

P.S And, this is what it looked like in Scotland on 17th February - roll on half term!

For the spirit of the mountains

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