Résumé de Neige Mondial

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SNOW NEWS UPDATED 22 MAY 2019

INTRODUCTION We're in to the latter half of May now with the start of the southern hemisphere's ski season and the start of meteorological summertime only 10 days away but in many ski areas in the northern hemisphere mother nature doesn't seem to have got the memo and a number of still open ski areas in both Europe and North America have reported more than 30cm snow accumulations and resulting powder days in the past seven days. In fact, three centres, divided between Austria and the US, have reported 60cm (two feet) of fresh snow in the past 7 days which would be pretty good even in mid-winter.

AUSTRIA Austrian ski areas have reported the biggest snowfalls in the Alps for the start of this week with the Hintertux glacier (100/505cm) reporting 30cm accumulation since the weekend, the Stubai (5/660cm) 10cm. the Kitzsteinhorn is also still open and all three will continue on into June. The Hintertux and Stubai glaciers have both actually reported 60cm (two feet) of snowfall in the past week. The surprise news at the weekend though was the decision by there lower altitude Austrian ski areas that had ended their 18-19 seasons more than a month before to re-open their slopes for the two days. All three saw huge snowfalls in January and say the snow is still lying deep. Hochkar, which made headlines as the resort was completely evacuated in January due to extreme avalanche danger reported the snow was still 70-130cm deep. Its move proved so popular it had to stop access by 10 am on Saturday with car parks full. Turracher Hohe and Zweisseralm were the other two areas open. All three had around 5km of slopes open each and ran their lifts free of charge.

April Magic, Méribel

FRANCE There are currently no ski areas open in France. Val d'Isere opens for summer skiing in just over three weeks' time on 8th June followed by Les 2 Alpes and Tignes a fortnight later on June 22nd. It hasn't stopped snowing though. Heavy snow was reported in the French Pyrenees on Thursday-Friday at the end of last week.

Lenzerheide sunrise

SWITZERLAND Currently the Swiss choices are year-round Zermatt (0/230cm) or Engelberg (0/655cm), where the season is due to end next weekend. Engelberg has just lost it's ‘deepest snow in the Alps' title to the Stubai in Austria. It had held for the past few months, having taken the crown from Andermatt, which was the most recent Swiss area to end its season, on Sunday. Engelberg continues to see snowy weather which has stopped its big base from diminishing much in May. It has reported 25cm of fresh snow. Zermatt hasn't reported much fresh snow but temperatures are in the -5 to -10C range on the glacier, which has Europe's highest lift-served slopes touching 3,900m with higher lifts open in summer than in winter so its base hasn't been dropping either. A third Swiss area does plan to re-open some terrain, mostly around its terrain park, this weekend. Crans Montana has a special summer opening, including skiing and boarding, as it officially starts its bilking and golfing season too on Saturday/Sunday.

La baraka, Pila

ITALY Italy has joined France in having no ski area open at present, with the only area that had been still operating lifts, the Presena Glacier, ending its season on Sunday. However, the situation is only expected to last for 12 days! The country's famous summer ski resort at Passo Stelvio will open for its season on June 1st. It reports above average winter snowfall and below average spring temperatures mean conditions are looking good for summer skiing this year.

Sol y nieve, Grandvalira-Pas de la Casa

ANDORRA There are currently no ski areas open in Andorra or the wider Pyrenees, winter sports will resume here next autumn. Heavy snowfall was reported in the region at the end of last week, however.

NORWAY/SWEDEN Three ski areas are currently open in Norway and Sweden but ‘spring skiing capital' Riksgransen (215/215cm) in Sweden will close this Sunday, ending the brief window where it is possible to ski there under the midnight sun on a few nights each week for a fortnight in mid-May. The centre will re-open for snowsports over the midsummer holiday weekend in late June if there's enough snow (about half the original 4m base it opened with at the start of March has melted over the past 12 weeks). The two Norwegian glacier ski areas of Folgefonn (650/750cm) and Galdhopiggen (no snow depth data) are both fully open and report excellent conditions although it has been getting up well above zero. The third Norwegian glacier, Stryn is due to open and joining them with the start of its 2019 season next week.

Cable car on top of Zugspitze, Garmisch-Partenkirchen-Zugspitze

GERMANY There are currently no ski areas open in Germany, other than the country's half-dozen indoor snow centres. Outdoor winter sports will resume here next autumn.

Mosta (The Bridge) Lift, Bansko

BULGARIA There are currently believed to be no ski areas open in Bulgaria or anywhere in Eastern Europe following the end of the season at the last areas still open for the 18-19 season earlier this month. Winter sports will resume in the region in the autumn. It has been snowing though, after heavy snow in Romania a fortnight ago it was Slovakia's turn to get a late-spring white coat with Jasna's ski slopes amongst those covered down to base level at the end of last week.

SCOTLAND Scottish ski slopes got another dusting of snow as temperatures dropped again over the weekend but all centres are officially closed for the season.

View over The Sea of Japan, Chisenupurri

JAPAN Gassan (0/700cm) is the only ski area open in Japan. It's warm here with no fresh snow but with the deepest base in the world at over 7 metres/23 feet, it should be able to stay open until July as planned.

USA The US continues to be home of more than half of the centres that are currently open in the northern hemisphere, and most of those that are still open have had fresh snow once again this past week too. Three ski areas did close last weekend, Alpine Meadows and Dodge Ridge in California and the Arizona Snowbowl, the latter after its longest ever season (160 days) with its latest ever opening in to May but two more resorts are planning to open this coming weekend - which is a long holiday weekend in the US with Monday 27th the Memorial Day public holiday. So altogether a dozen areas are due to be open this weekend as last weekend. The numbers will drop though for the start of June with Mt Bachelor, Breckenridge and Heavenly planning to close after the long weekend. The biggest snowfalls of the past week have been in Colorado with Mammoth (229/334cm) posting over 60cm (two feet) of fresh snow and Squaw Valley (46/452cm) got 43cm since this time last week. The two areas are open to July and continue to have North America's deepest bases. Heavenly (117/117cm) reported 25cm of fresh snow too Mammoth reports a dozen lifts will be turning for the holiday weekend with normal spring opening hours of 8 am to 2 pm and top-to-bottom skiing and boarding daily out of their Main Lodge. It has been snowy too in Colorado where Arapahoe Basin (13cm fresh) and Breckenridge (50cm fresh) are still open and Aspen is due to re-join them this weekend when the area re-opens for the Memorial Day weekend from Saturday to Monday. Also still open are Mt Bachelor (135/234cm) and Timberline (229/229cm) in Oregon and Snowbird (300/300cm) in Utah. Almost all of the ski areas in New England are officially closed, but one, Killington (46/61cm) in Vermont, has kept its Superstar trail open. The resort passed the 200-day season mark last weekend and aims to make it through to the start of June if it can. Wintery conditions and fresh snow again last week helped. A new also opening is coming up this weekend in the US too. The country's only summer ski only ski area, Beartooth Basin (formerly the Red Lodge International Summer camp), located on the Montana/Wyoming border and only accessible when The Beartooth Highway, a section of U. S. Route 212, is cleared of snow, is due to open for the Memorial day weekend this Sunday May 26th and then hopes to stay open to Independence Day, July 7th (snow and weather permitting). It will be open from 9 am - 3 pm Daily.

CANADA Banff's Sunshine Village ended their long 2018-19 season yesterday with the 91st staging of the world's longest running pond-skimming competition, the Slush Cup. The resort also reported 10cm of fresh snowfall in its final week. Whistler Blackcomb (136/136cm) is now the only Canadian ski area still operating - one week to go (then glacier skiing/boarding begins less than a fortnight later). Whistler Blackcomb's last day is the Victoria Day long weekend. The resort says lifts running will be the Whistler Village Gondola access, as well as the Harmony 6 Express from 10 am to 4 pm. Temperatures have been hovering around zero at the top of the mountain (Double figures Celcius in resort), with no fresh snowfall reported. One ski area has also been quietly keeping open, until the weekend, in Quebec. Sommet Saint-Sauveur offered night skiing until 10 pm on Saturday, May 18th and invited skiers and boarders to hit the slopes in swimwear on the final day of the season there.

EUROPEAN WEATHER OUTLOOK For the majority of the rest of this week, in most areas, it looks like the colder, snowy period on high slopes in the Alps is over. However, some snow is likely and in the longer term there's the possibility of bigger falls around next weekend and early next week. Although this period is a little too far ahead for certainty. It's looking like a warmer and less snowy week ahead for Alpine glaciers, although temperatures will still be hovering around the freezing mark. Some snow is possible at the end of the week (and less uncertain and further ahead), early next week too.

NORTH AMERICAN WEATHER OUTLOOK It's currently snowy in the Rockies with Snowbird, yet to open for the season Beartooth basin and ski areas in Colorado likely to see up to 20cm more snowfall over the next 48 hours.

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE In Australia, the snowy spell is now over a week ago but resorts are getting excited about forecasting models that are predicting temperatures (Currently in the 5-10C bracket) to dip below zero from the weekend with snow moving in at the start of next week. Forecasts for Charlotte Pass, one of the country's highest areas, are for more than 20cm of snowfall at the start of next week - a fortnight before the ski season is due to begin in the country. It has been snowier in New Zealand with Mt Hutt among the resorts starting snowmaking and Queenstown awaking to white-tipped mountains last week. The Remarkables reported a dusting of about 5cm of May snow whilst Coronet Peak got about 2cm, however, it's not now looking like there's much more in the forecast until early next week when light snow is forecast. It has warmed up a little in Southern Africa with temperatures here, like Australia, ion the 5-10cm, bracket most days. There's no real sign of a dip with the official season start a fortnight away. Afriski in Lesotho did unveil a lot of new state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment this week, however. In the Andes of South America, it's perhaps looking the snowiest over the next few days. Some resorts have already reported light to moderate snow accumulations and that's likely to continue all week with 5-15cm of snowfall likely by the weekend in total, although some areas may get more. Most South American resorts won't open for their 2019 ski season for another 3-4 weeks. After the snowfall in Australia at the end of last week, where the 2019 ski season is due to begin in three and a half weeks, it has warmed up again and the sun is shining. Therefore, most of the snow that fell has already melted. It is, however, getting down to freezing at night although reaching high single figures during the day. The week ahead looks like more of the same.