Excellent skiing ahead for half term

9th February 2015, by Abi Butcher

Sölden currently has perfect conditions for more filming for the James Bond film, Spectre

Sölden currently has perfect conditions for more filming for the James Bond film, Spectre

Snow is still falling today in the north-eastern Alps, but elsewhere the sun is shining after a week of massive snowfalls. Andermatt and Engelberg in Switzerland each report upper depths of 380cm this morning — on a par with Niseko in Japan which has been having a phenomenal season.

The Italian resort of Passo Tonale takes the prize for snowiest resort in Europe today, reporting 400cm on its upper slopes. WTSS web editor Abi Butcher was skiing last week in Cervinia which now has an upper depth of 250cm and perfect conditions for the week, going in to half term.

Snorkles have been needed in the Pyrenees, where Cauterets takes the badge for second snowiest resort in France, with an upper depth of 290cm and lower 250cm.

In Austria, snow continues to fall today — including in Sölden which has 303cm and perfect conditions for more filming for the James Bond film, Spectre.

Cauterets in the Pyrenees is the second snowiest resort in France

But the authorities are still urging extreme caution with an unstable snowpack continuing to produce fatal avalanches.

Over the weekend, a father of three from Wimbledon, London died from injuries sustained in an avalanche in Italy and a French ski instructor died in an avalanche in La Plagne. Graeme Porteous, 48, was skiing off piste in Argentera in Piedmont with his wife and friends on Saturday when they were hit by an avalanche. Though he survived the initial slide, he was then trapped against a tree and died from multiple injures.

In La Plagne, Adrien Sergent, 28, from the ski school Oxygène, was skiing with two other instructor colleagues on their day off on Saturday.

“They chose to take the Canadian couloir [on the North Face of the Bellecote glacier] which, with the big amount of snowfall during the previous week, looked like an off-piste dream for many,” reads a statement on the Oxygène website.

“Unfortunately at around 1pm the snow cracked and two of the three instructors were taken in one of the biggest avalanches so far this season. All three instructors, highly experienced in off-piste, were equipped with the correct avalanche safety gear including Adrien with his ABS airbag.”

Earlier last week, the second stage of the Swatch Freeride World Tour in Fieberbrunn was cancelled after the run of the French skier, Julian Lopez, triggered an avalanche. Lopez pulled his ABS Airbag system, and suffered only minor bruises to his right leg and ribs. The remainder of the second stage will take place in Arcalis, Andorra, this weekend —which is fairing pretty well with 210cm on its upper slopes.

If you fancy taking advantage of the excellent snow conditions — and the piste skiing is fantastic right now — there are still some half-term bargains to be had. Check out our deals page now.

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