Snow everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere

20th December 2012, by Abi Butcher

Snow, glorious snow in Alpbach, Austria

Snow, glorious snow in Alpbach, Austria

Snow conditions across the Alps and North America are outstanding, thanks to continuing heavy snowfalls virtually everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere — just in time for Christmas.

With recent falls on top of early December snow, the season has got off to a fantastic start. Le Ski, which operates chalets in Courchevel, La Tania and Val d’Isère, is hailing this as “the best early snow in our 30-year history”.

WTSS editor Chris Gill reports “truly exceptional conditions” this week in the Trois Vallées — read his blog here.

And Erna Low rep Tim Wilson says it has been snowing for weeks in Les Arcs.

“Last season’s early snow was epic and I didn’t think this season could come anywhere close, but it’s looking like as good a start, if not better!!” he said. “The snow is soft and light in the right places and just a bit better visibility would help.”

France and Switzerland have had more than their fair share, but in Austria this week up to 35cm of fresh snow has fallen in the Tirolean mountains — with current reported snow depths at 85cm in Kitzbühel, 75cm in Mayrhofen — with more to come at the weekend. 

An avalanche has claimed the life of a 23-year-old skier in Nendaz this week, as the Valais region of Switzerland recorded snowfalls of over two metres in five days.

Conditions are reported to be “excellent” in Canada, Whistler and Fernie are stacked for the Christmas period — with Whistler enjoying 103cm of snow in the past seven days, and it continues to fall. Fernie has had 30cm of snow in the past 24hr, 117cm in the past week. In Banff, snow is more moderate but still plentiful — with 27cm falling in the past week at Sunshine giving a snowpack of 122cm, and in Lake Louise, all lifts and 135 runs are open as the Alberta resort, which has reported 5cm of fresh snow over the past two days. 

The Colorado ski resorts in the USA have had several feet of fresh snow recently — Breckenridge and Vail respectively reporting 28in (71cm) and 27in (69cm) of fresh snow in the past week. Both resorts have yet to open properly for the season — but Vail plans to open its back bowls on Saturday.

Jackson Hole in Wyoming has excellent conditions, with an upper piste depth of 155cm thanks to 36cm of snowfall in the last week, with a similar amount on the way over Christmas. It has also been snowing hard in California. Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood have received 64cm, 46cm and 64cm in the past week, giving summit base depths of 165cm, 135cm and 150cm. 

Andorra is getting off to a slower start — with the last snow falling on 13 December in Arinsal, Soldeu and Pas de la Casa, though upper piste depths are a respectable 50cm, 80cm and 90cm respectively. It’s a similar picture in the Bulgarian resorts of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo.

Finally, Sweden is expecting up to 40cm of snow in the next week to add to its already good conditions. Åre is reporting 33cm of snow on upper and lower slopes, and Salen 43cm on upper slopes and 40cm further down.

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