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06 January 2012

Violent storm brings European resorts to a standstill

With another 80cm of snowfall overnight, resorts across Europe are on lockdown

Credit for all images: Radio-TV Val d'Isere www.radiovaldisere.com

We’ve all been experiencing the high winds that have caused mayhem across the UK. Now imagine that weather front, coupled with high altitude and the addition of lots and lots of snow.

Over the last 24 hours, storm ‘Andrea’ has unleashed up to a metre of snow on resorts across Europe. Access roads into resorts have been closed, and some areas are on lockdown due to the heavy snowfall increasing the risk of avalanche.

There is an avalanche warning of 5 out of 5 for all of Savoie, Massif Mt Blanc in Haute Savoie & Belledone in Isère in the French Alps. Those in resort have been told to stay inside until further notice and many bars/restaurants were told to close by 9pm last night.

Throughout the evening, 70cm of snow fell at Argentiere in France and although lifts were due to open at 10am this morning (Friday 6 January), this is looking increasingly unlikely.

In other resorts, only the lower lifts will be in operation. Currently the only lifts open in the Courchevel valley are the lower beginner drag lifts and the La Tania Gondola.

After an avalanche yesterday in the Swiss resort of Zermatt, both roads and the railway leading to the area were cut off and therefore closed.

If you’re in any doubt about the current weather and piste conditions, do check with the resort tourist office or take a look at our Snow & weather pages showing you where the snow has fallen.

Further updates to come throughout the day, for all the latest news keep an eye on these pages.

Comments

  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • Came home early from a ski trip to the Aravis on Thursday and left my husband and son out there; They rang last night and told me about the extreme conditions - and they were also suffering power cuts, which was a worry. Hope they are OK today although I doubt they are skiing.

Penny Watson
Penny Watson
  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • Thanks for your post Penny, we hope your husband and your son have managed to avoid the worst of weather and you're right, it's highly unlikely that they are skiing today. Turns out there is such a thing as too much snow!!

Ski Club Of Great Britain
Ski Club Of Great Britain
  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • All this reminds me of my season in the alps 1989/90, except things are running about 6 weeks earlier than that season.

    Second week of February, there was up to 400cm of snow in Northern France, with only rain at the end stopping the elimination of entire resorts. The railway from Grindelwald to Scheidegg was taken out by a landslide.

    After a week of sun, we had another week of blizzards. Winds up to 246kph at Jungfraujoch. Trees down between Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken.

    22 year cycle

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • The N90 main road from Bourg St Maurice to Tignes, Val d'Isere and Ste Foy was closed last night because of the heavy snowstorm and about 100 people were forced to stay in Bourg. We are on avalanche risk level 5 and only the bottom chairlift opened today. The road to Ste Foy was ploughed open this morning (again) but they are running out of space to put the snow. The snowbank either side of the access road is 2-metres high with compacted snow. Enough snow to last all season, thanks Snow Gods!

Marcia Nash
Marcia Nash
  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • Wow...the storm here in Les Arcs was also horrendous, but the lift company did a fantastic job today in getting most of 1800 and 1600 open. Well done and thanks! We had a great days's skiing today..I think we have been lucky.

Vicky Anderson
Vicky Anderson
  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • Reminds me of the end of my Ski Club repping (sorry, leading) stint in Val D'Isere in early 1999 when I was on the last bus out of resort to the airport before they closed the access roads. Bars etc had been closed early then for a couple of nights, and some accommodation evacuated. Police were visiting other accommodation and warning owners that they might 'requisition' empty beds to accommodate the evacuees.

Stephen Fairbrass
Stephen Fairbrass
  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • Roads out of St Anton east and west closed today, but great deep powder between the trees off the only decent lifts running - Gampen and Nassereinbahn. Dug car out again to leave tomorrow, including the wall of ice on the pavement!

Colin Stone
Colin Stone
  • Date: 06 January 2012
  • Les carroz and grand massif coping well enough. There were power cuts and trees on the power lines thurs night but nothing too serious. Only 3 cliffs operating Friday at les carroz due to electrical woes so it was slow going, but it was worth the effort and a great afternoon of skiing.

Abby Deveney
Abby Deveney
  • Date: 08 January 2012
  • Got back from Obergurgl at 1am this morning. Snow and wind was incredible and we were all told to stay indoors on the 6th due to avalanche risk level 5.
    Lifts started running at 10.40 on the 7th, but only lower lifts below tree line - amazing snow and tree - skiing!
    :)

Oliver Brown
Oliver Brown
  • Date: 08 January 2012
  • Austrians did a good job at keeping airports and roads running, but Crystal did a VERY bad job of organizing buses in an effort to send everyone to the wrong UK airport - we ended up in GTW (not STN) and our friends who should have gone to GTW in Manchester - despite flights leaving at the same time!
    Inghams here we come!

Oliver Brown
Oliver Brown
  • Date: 08 January 2012
  • Just back from New Year in St Christoph with two families. We had a lovely time in the Inghams Sporthotel in St Christoph. Thanks to all the excellent staff there.
    We ended the week with over 2 metres of snow in the week. One sun filled day and several cloudy days; the rest were of constant heavy snow. Still managed to ski each day in some fabulous thigh deep powder!!!
    On last day they closed the roads out of St Christoph due to avalanche danger. There was a huge avalanche by St Jacob.

Simon Booker-Milburn
Simon Booker-Milburn
  • Date: 09 January 2012
  • St Christophe am Arlberg is now reporting the almost unbelievable snow depths of:

    Valley: 445cm
    Mountain: 595cm.

    Has anyone ever seen anything quite like that before?!

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
Show all 12 comments

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