Avalanche warnings across the Alps

2nd February 2013, by Abi Butcher

The Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) has this morning issued avalanche alerts 3 and 4 across the country

The Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) has this morning issued avalanche alerts 3 and 4 across the country

Rain yesterday turned to heavy snow last night across the Alps which has lead to avalanche risk 4 alerts being issued in some areas this morning. After a week of warm temperatures, it’s cooling down and snowing — which, combined with strong winds means snowdrifts are accumulating and numerous medium-sized and, in isolated cases, large avalanches expected.

The snow and colder temperatures are forecast to last into next week across Europe — and the same in North America, where it’s been snowing all week and continues to do so.

In Valais, Switzerland lifts are closed in Anzère, Saas Fee and much of Verbier this morning. Across to the east, Andermatt is now has an upper base depth of 400cm, with 13cm expected to fall today.  An overnight fall of 9cm in St Moritz has given perfect conditions, the same in Flims where 16/29 lifts are open.

There has been around 10cm of fresh snow across the Tirol, Austria, with excellent conditions in Kitzbühel — in St Anton the same has fallen overnight with more to come, powder conditions. In Ischgl, 4cm has fallen with 15cm expected over the next few days. In time for the FIS World Ski Championships which start on Tuesday (5 February), 90% of the ski area in Schladming is now open thanks to 6cm fresh snow last night with another 10cm expected today.

Conditions are also excellent in the Three Valleys, France, today — with Val Thorens reporting 30cm of new snow and all lifts open. In Serre Chevalier, at least 10cm has fallen at 1,900m, Alpe d’Huez has had 10cm overnight with the same due again today — and in Cauterets, in the Pyrenees, another 13cm has fallen to give a whopping snow depth of 330cm. Val d’Isère has 85% of its lifts open after 7cm of fresh snow (giving an upper base depth of 275cm) more snow today followed by sunny conditions on Sunday and Monday.

It’s also snowing in ItalyCourmayeur has had around 28cm of fresh snow in the past 24 hours creating variable conditions after the warm weather. In Madesimo 5cm of snow, as has Livigno, which is reporting “excellent” skiing conditions and is expecting another 9cm today.

In the US, the Colorado resorts of Breckenridge and Vail report more than a foot of snow in the past 48 hours. There’s a snowstorm currently over Aspen and Snowmass, where 13cm of snow has fallen in the past 48 hours and the resorts are reporting that it’s still “snowing heavily”. After a warm week in Killington, Vermont, it’s now snowing again with 3in of snow overnight Friday to Saturday, giving an average snow base of 24-26in. The Lake Tahoe resorts in California have had up to 7in of snow over the past week, with nearly all runs open and current temperatures of -3c to -5c keeping conditions good. In Wyoming, it’s snowing in Jackson Hole – all 12 lifts are open and the resort is reporting 7in of snow overnight.

Conditions are variable in Whistler, Canada, with daytime temperatures of between 3 and 8C, though new snow is forecast later this week. Over in Jasper, conditions are better, with snow falling now and around 7cm expected in the next two days. Packed powder conditions in Fernie are set to improve with light snow forecast for this week.

It’s also snowing in Bulgaria, where skiing conditions are reported to be good thanks to a fall of 9cm in Borovets, and more forecast later this week. In Andorra, over three feet of snow has fallen in the past few days with again, more forecast.

Finally, in Scotland, it’s snowing with more forecast for the weekend — with visibility clearing in the Cairngorms.

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