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Snow overview - our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Snow Overview

Our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Get the latest snow and weather conditions in all major ski areas updated on Monday and Thursday afternoons by the Ski Club's information department.

Thursday 30 July 2015

Summary

Winter is in full swing across the Southern Hemisphere. The pick of the conditions on Thursday were in Australia and New Zealand, where sunny skies combined with cold temperatures and fresh snow resulted in some great skiing on and off piste. Our featured resorts in South America are still playing catch up, but some recent fresh snow and the prospect of more in the coming days should ensure that conditions keep improving. Up in the Northern Hemisphere the glacier ski areas are suffering in the hot weather of recent weeks, so head as high as possible for the best conditions.

The weather wasn’t as fortunate in Austria on Thursday as our featured resorts saw thick clouds and occasional rain showers.

The French glaciers saw some decent sunny spells on Thursday and were recording lower temperatures than of recent weeks. Despite this the slopes are suffering and base depths are falling.

The Plateau Rosa glacier above Zermatt and Cervinia remains one of the best summer skiing options in Europe, with its high altitude offering some protection against the mild weather. The pistes are showing signs of wear and tear but most remain open along with the famous snowpark.

Timberline is the only summer ski area still in operation in North America. Yet more heatwave conditions were in place on Thursday, with the hot sunshine expected to last into the weekend.

Fresh snow has been falling in Australia throughout this week. All of our featured resorts have reported snowy conditions, followed by clouds on Thursday and the occasional flurry.

Excellent piste conditions were reported across New Zealand on Thursday, with some decent windblown stashes of fresh snow to be found off piste. The sun was shining and is expected to remain in place for much of the weekend.

Fresh snow has fallen in Argentina with all of our featured resorts picking up a few centimetres. Thursday brought a cloudy morning with the sun breaking through in the afternoon. Chile was more on the cloudy sky and didn’t pick up any fresh snow this week.

Austria

Most of our Austrian resorts have closed for the summer, leaving only the Molltal Glacier (210cm) and the Hintertux (135cm) open for snow sports. It was very cloudy on Thursday 30th July and there were reports of light rainfall in the afternoon. The Hintertux is offering more available slopes currently as there were 10 lifts running on Thursday.

Over the weekend Austria will most likely see quite a variety of weather patterns with sunshine followed by rain showers.

France

Both of the French glacier ski areas, Les Deux Alpes (155cm) and Tignes (50cm), are showing strong signs of wear following an exceptionally warm summer. There is a lot of glacier ice showing through the pistes and with no fresh snow in over a month the pistes appear brown and worn. Despite this, most lifts were running at Les Deux Alpes and the top section of the Grande Motte at Tignes was open.

Wet weather is forecast for the end of the week before warm sunshine returns on Monday, with the freezing level set to rocket once more towards 5,000m, so how much longer the slopes can remain open remains in doubt. Tignes is set to close on August 9th and Les Deux Alpes on August 29th – hopefully both will make it through to these dates.

Switzerland

The sun was shining at both Zermatt (130cm) and Saas Fee (80cm), leading to some good skiing conditions. The high altitude of both ski areas has helped in recent weeks and perhaps some of the best skiing in the Alps can be found here at present. Most lifts are running and thanks to temperatures that have been slightly cooler than of late, the snowpack has firmed up nicely overnight to create so crisp conditions first thing in the morning. If you’re skiing in Saas Fee look out for some of Team GB’s freestyle athletes who are out training in the snowpark, but expect some wet weather this weekend.

Italy

Cervinia (130cm) saw some nice sunny weather on Thursday, although sadly this is not set to last into the weekend as wet weather approaches from the west. The link to the Plateau Rosa ski area above Zermatt was open and although the slopes are getting slightly worn in places, there remains a decent selection of red and blue slopes on the glacier.

North America

The summer skiing season has come to an end at Whistler. It was a challenging summer due to abnormally low snowfall during the winter, but the resort crew managed to keep the slopes and snow park up and running right until closing day on Sunday 26th July.

Another heatwave has hit Timberline Lodge (40cm) in the USA, with temperatures on the Palmer Snowfield topping +20C during the day. The sun was shining brightly on Thursday and is forecast to remain firmly in place over the weekend.

Australia

Australia seems to be catching up with New Zealand on the fresh snow front as it has continued to snow this week in all of our featured resorts. It remained quite cloudy on Thursday 30th July and reports suggested there were a few light flurries but the majority of the snow fell earlier in the week with consistent falls of around 5cm each day. As a result all resorts have seen their slopes refreshed and powdery pockets can be found off the slopes.
Ben Lomond (10/20cm) has remained closed so far throughout the season but it has now opened. Skiing is very limited and only one lifts was turning on Thursday but the resort opened, which is excellent news for Tasmania.

All other resorts that we currently feature picked up around 10cm of fresh snow between Tuesday and Wednesday. Resorts such as Mount Baw Baw (40-62cm) and Mount Buller (56/82cm) have seen a nice rise in their base depths this week, so slope conditions have improved nicely.

Our weather forecasts are indicating that over the weekend there will be lots of clouds and a high chance of snow to all of our featured resorts, which could continue right into next week.

New Zealand

The skiing across New Zealand is excellent at present following fresh snow during the week, with Thursday providing the best day of weather. Bright sunshine was reported at all of our featured resorts, although some strong gusts of winds took an edge off the temperatures in places.

Both resorts on Mt Ruapehu on North Island, Whakapapa (137cm) and Turoa (165cm), saw 20cm of fresh snow on Tuesday 28th July which led to some great skiing conditions across the mountain. Head to the sheltered bowls and gullies for the best chance of finding some powder as gusty winds have stripped the ridgelines of the fresh snow. The wind also closed several of Whakapapa’s highest lifts and with some strong gusts expected over the weekend be sure to check the resort’s website in the morning before heading up the mountain for the latest lift information.

Down on South Island all resorts were reporting excellent on piste conditions thanks to between 5 and 10cm of new snow during the week. Cool temperatures allowed for snow machines to fire too, topping up the soft cover on piste. Some decent off piste tracks are also there to be found at resorts such as Mt Hutt (75/105cm) and Cardrona (70/250cm) where slightly more snow fell, although watch out for areas of frozen snow where the wind has stripped off the fresh snow.

A mostly sunny weekend is forecast, with temperatures remaining nicely below freezing. A change is expected early next week, bringing fresh snow to all of our featured resorts.

South America

Argentina has enjoyed a good week so far with all of our featured resorts seeing some fresh snow in the middle of the week. Each resort picked up approximately 5cm, which predominantly fell on the uppermost slopes. The temperature was a little warmer on the lower slopes so they did soften a little in the afternoon but otherwise the conditions are very good at higher altitude.

Cerro Caterdral (5/150cm) has had a good boost to its upper base depth, which meaning the pistes are a much higher quality and pockets of fresh powder are there to be found if you are seeking a change to the pistes. On Thursday 30th July it was a mixture of sunshine and cloud, with 24 lifts in operation. There are still a good portion of lifts yet to open but there is still an extensive range of slopes open, which all received fresh snow over the last two days.

Chile was quite cloudy on Thursday, with a few spots of rain seen at lower altitudes. The recent rain has brought about heavier conditions on some of the slopes. Portillo (69/91cm) seems to be reporting better slope conditions. The warmer climate recently has reduced the base depth slightly but overall the conditions are quite good. 13 lifts were open on Thursday, so despite the cloudy sky, plenty of slopes were open for the visitors.
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