Glacier watch: 27 September

27th September 2010, by Chris Gill

Blue sky day in Tignes - September 2010

Blue sky day in Tignes - September 2010

There has been a nip in the air across the Alps this week, with some good snowfalls arriving just in time for the autumn glacier season. But wow, Austria did good: 60- 70cm reported for the Stubai glacier, which is one of the largest areas to catch pre-season turns; check out this quick snow report from the slopes. We were hoping for some good pics too – but unfortunately it was, er, cloudy on most of Austria’s glaciers on Tuesday.

Snow fell to 1700m over the weekend, and there were similar reports from France too. Spot on for Tignes, where the Grand Motte glacier has reopened (see our pic). And it’s is looking in much better shape again.

The change in weather fortune meant that several more Austrian glaciers have now reopened, including the Kitzsteinhorn which suffered a premature closure during the summer. Its meagre snow base meant insufficient cover for skiing to continue. Now they are reporting a 50cm base. Much more like it for September.

Of course, it’s early days – and predictably the cold snap will be temporary, with warmer air returning by the end of the week. But hey, it’s good news for the highest slopes and we like to report it; it feels like we’re getting closer to winter again! And October / November can be a super time to take a quick weekend away; the glacier slopes can provide excellent conditions, with gear testing and fun events leading up to the season proper.

So what’s open, where?

Austria

Seeing the best of the wintry weather, with fresh snow to start the week, there are half a dozen glacier ski areas now open again. On Tuesday, cloud and snowfall affected many areas, with temperatures nicely below zero.

Stubai: With 60cm reported cover, there are 5-6 slopes open and fresh snow reported. The webcams were fogged out though, so we doubt you could see much up there today. Still, the area received some of the best snowfall this week.

Kitzsteinhorn: It was the same over in Kaprun. Couldn’t see a thing via the webcams today. It has been snowing, we can assure you though. And a little more is forecast for Wednesday before clearing up a bit. They are now reporting an 82cm snow base on the glacier (risen over 30cm since the weekend) and around 10cm fresh snow at the Alpincentre. There were slopes open high up, but visibility was poor.

Pitztal: It has been a little brighter on the Pitztal slopes on Tuesday. They have received between 40 and 62cm snow in a week (5-10cm today) above 2800m. Two lifts have been operating.

Hintertux: Consistently good all summer and now boasting a 110cm snow base, the Tux is your man! 38km slopes open daily. Snow fell to quite low levels over the weekend, even to 1600m in Mayrhofen. There glacier slopes have fresh snow, which is holding up well in the sub-zero temperatures at present.

Sölden: There is limited skiing open at present, but three lifts and a 60cm base.

Molltal: Up to 15cm of fresh snow has settled on the glacier slopes. 9km pistes are open. Not bad for September.

France

Tignes: The Grande Motte glacier has reopened, with fresh snow to kick off the season.

Switzerland

There has been snowfall for the Swiss resorts too. The central and south-eastern regions fared best. Both Saas Fee (120cm) and Zermatt received a decent refresh at the weekend too.



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