Glacier watch: 10 September

11th September 2010, by Chris Gill

Austria's first September snows [Pitztal]

Austria's first September snows [Pitztal]

The season continues to cause a stir in the southern hemisphere: what an interesting week or so. First there was an earthquake in New Zealand, which caused changeable weather patterns in the mountains; then there has been a veritable taste of spring sunshine in Australia, quickly marred by a series of heavy rainstorms, thunder and ‘you-name-it, they’ve-had-it’ conditions. Still, there can be few complaints over their winter season: it has been a jolly good one for the Aussies! Several resorts have reported close on a metre snow cover remaining.

Less remarkable, has been Chile. The snowfall continues, but nothing to shout about in a fairly average season this year. In fact, a couple of resorts are now closing for the season down there. Those that generally are of interest to UK visitors: Valle Nevado and Portillo continue with spring-like conditions.

Europe’s glaciers

Well, it’s not quite reached the autumn glacier ski stage yet, but it’s worth noting that Austrian areas ended August on a rather snowy note – which means first snows have been enjoyed at open glaciers there. Sölden announced that it now has two lifts running – a month or so ahead of the official 8 October opening day (when the usual ski testing and fun parties get going).

We’ve embedded a fun video shot in Hintertux recently, which received a good dump of snowfall to boost autumn conditions. The ski area has 95cm snow cover, nine lifts and 20km piste still open; there are plans for the terrain park to open on the weekend of 1-3 October.

Next to open will be Pitztal (35cm), due to offer skiing from 15 September. The pic here shows the area a week or so ago: 50cm snowfall on the glacier, 25cm in the valley – not exactly very August-like!

Elsewhere, Zermatt and Saas Fee are still open for glacier business – and boasting some of the best snow depths at present. Tignes is taking a short break before resuming glacier operations at the end of the month – hopefully with a bit better cover than they had during the summer.

This was a lovely August day in Pitztal, Austria – honest! 25cm and counting.

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