Near-perfect snow conditions continue

3rd January 2013, by Abi Butcher

Fresh powder in Aspen on New Year's Eve. Photo: Jeremy Swanson

Fresh powder in Aspen on New Year's Eve. Photo: Jeremy Swanson

Snow conditions continue to be near-perfect in Europe and North America, with sun, sun and more sun on the cards for the French Alps next week.

After weeks of snowstorms at the end of last year, French ski resorts are expected to enjoy a period of calm, with sunshine during the day and freezing temperatures at night. Resorts are reporting near record levels of snow for this time of year, including Tignes (lower slopes 120cm; upper slopes 240cm), St Gervais (60cm/150cm) and Courchevel (107cm/173cm).

Further east in Austria, visibility has been low today, with more snow is due tomorrow and over the weekend before the sun comes out. Fantastic skiing was reported today in Lech (95cm/195cm), Kitzbühel (40cm/110cm) and St Anton (65cm/160cm).

Conditions in the Dolomites in Italy are also excellent, with consistently good powder off-piste in Selva/ Val Gardena, Livigno, Chiesa, Madesimo and Arabba.  A dusting of a new snow fell yesterday in the more Western resort such as Sauze d’Oulx (80cm/140cm). 

In Switzerland, the powder is quite tracked out in places now after the busy new year period, but after weeks of snow conditions on piste remain great — though with no snow forecast for the next week, with relatively warm temperatures, skiers will be hoping for fresh falls by the end of the week. We’ve had some reports of it feeling icy already.

In the USA, it’s still snowing. In Colorado, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone have had a fluttering of snow this week — up to 38cm in Vail giving a mid-mountain base of 56cm, and opening 96% of the resort’s terrain. Aspen awoke to a fresh foot of powder (30cm) and blue skies on 30 December, allowing new terrain on Snowmass, Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands to open. Aspen has received nearly two feet of snow in the past seven days.

In Lake Tahoe, Heavenly announced on 28 December that 100% of its pistes were open, following a whopping dump of six feet (180cm) of snow. And it keeps on snowing in California — Kirkwood has had 110cm of snow in the past week, so all 81 of the resort’s pistes are open. Heavenly and Northstar have had about half that amount, and are both 99% open now.

In Canada, conditions are reported to be perfect in most resorts, and a dry spell over the new year is due to end next week, with 60cm of snow forecast for Whistler and 20-30cm forecast for resorts further inland, such as Fernie.

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