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January 2021

Up To 3 Metres/10 Feet of Snowfall in Europe and North America

The past few days have seen some huge snowfall totals in both the Alps and Western North America. Some ski areas in California have reported receiving more than three metres (10 feet) of snowfall since Tuesday. Donner Ski Ranch is pictured above. In the Alps ski centres have posted up to two metres (nearly 7 feet) of snowfall in the same period. Mammoth, below, has had one of the biggest snow totals. The snow in the Alps has been accompanied by warm periods bringing rain to high altitudes creating a highly unstable snowpack and sending the avalanche danger to its highest level. Some ski areas, including Zermatt pictured below) were temporarily cut off as access roads were closed due to…

High Avalanche Danger in the Alps With Heavy Snowfall, Rain and Warmth

The Alps are currently seeing big snowfalls, which is generally good news of course both for those few people lucky enough to be able to access the mountains during the pandemic, and perhaps for base building for the more optimistic who still hope to be able to travel to the mountains this season, perhaps at Easter or later. Up to a metre (40”) of snowfall is forecast to arrive over the next 48 hours. But ski areas and snow forecasters are warning that the current avalanche danger is extremely high. Along with the heavy snowfall there is expected to be a period of rain to as high as 2,000 metres altitude during a short warm spell, and that combination means…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #176

Issued: 27 January 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION It has been one of those weeks when Europe’s ski areas have seen a bit of everything or perhaps that should be, different parts of Europe have seen different bits of weather covering almost every type of winter conditions possible. The Alps saw warm weather at the start of the weekend in the north of the region although it remained cold in the south, in some cases 10 or 20 degrees colder than further north. There was plenty of fresh snowfall, which has continued this week, but also amongst those warmer temperatures periods of rain or sleet at time. Thrown into the mix were some gale force winds…

Finnish City Introduces Urban Ski Sharing Public Mobility Programme

The Finnish city of Lahti is rolling out the world’s first urban ski-sharing program. Lahti, the reigning European Green Capital, wants to encourage people to reduce their transport-related carbon emissions. Finns are no strangers to snow, but when the roads get icy and the snow is knee-deep, skiing might just be the fastest way to get around. That’s why the city of Lahti in Southern Finland has decided to roll-out a public ski-sharing scheme, the first city in the world to do so.  “City Skis work the same as city bikes: the skis can be borrowed from a ski point, where they should be returned to after use,” says Saara Vauramo, the programme director of Lahti European Green Capital. There…

Most Alpine Music Festivals Cancelled for Second Successive Year

A number of music festivals which were forced to cancel at short notice in March 2020 as the first wave of the pandemic began are beginning to abandon hope that their return this spring can happen. Although no national governments have a yet announced ski areas will stay closed into March, when the festivals are due to take place, any hope of being able to organise events is fast diminishing. Tomorrowland Winter 2020 (above and top) which had been due to be staged in Alpe d’Huez last March was one of the biggest casualties of the fast-moving end to the 2019-20 season. Attracting around 20,000 festival-goers it was already to go with a vast stage built when lockdown was announced.…

Snowy Start to 2021 at Ski Centres Either Side of the Pacific

Although much of the skiing world has been seeing some fairly dry, often cold weather over the past few weeks, ski areas in Japan and in Washington State, USA, on either side of the Pacific have been seeing a succession of huge storms to start 2021. In Japan storms coming in off the sea of Japan have been dumping metres of snow on Japanese ski areas, causing some logistical problems but also widely welcomed after threw poor snowfall stats last season. Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington State In Washington State Mt Baker, which holds a two-decades old record for the most ever snowfall at a ski resort in a season and is often one of the snowiest resorts on the planet,…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #175

Issued: 20 January 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION A huge snowstorm, by far the biggest of the season so far for many areas in Austria, Germany and Switzerland, deposited up to 2.1 metres (7 feet) of snow on ski slopes across the Alps between Wednesday and Saturday last week. The heaviest snowfall was reported in Austria’s Vorarlberg, where several resorts posted more than 1.5 metres (five feet) of snowfall in 72 hours, and eastern Switzerland, where there was up to 1.8 metres (six feet) in the same period. For the majority of ski areas across the wider area storm totals were more like 30-90cm (1-3 feet) but many got considerably more. The stormy weather also brought…

First Turns of 2021 in Southern Hemisphere

It’s midsummer and nearly six months until the start of the 2021 ski season in the southern hemisphere, but there have been some unseasonal snowfalls reported on ski slopes in the Andes and Australia in recent days. The ‘cover’ in Australia is only a centimetre or two but that was enough for what ski resort Mt Buller described as a “local maniac and all-round legend” to take to the slopes in the small hours of the morning. Lydia Syme @lymecity hit the slopes for the first ski of 2021 in jeans. “It is Summer after all,” Mt Buller explained.…

WORLD SNOW ROUNDUP #174

Issued: 13 January 2021 By Patrick "Snowhunter" Thorne European RoundupNorth American RoundupAsia Roundup EUROPE INTRODUCTION What will hopefully be the biggest snowfall of the year so far (ok, it is early days) is underway in the Alps, following a big storm down in the Pyrenees, of which more is mentioned below. Otherwise, a mixture of sunshine and light-to-moderate snowfall for much of Europe over the past week with some of the heaviest snowfalls in recent days reported in western Norway. The main attention remains on the virus though with the start of the season set back in France, Germany and Italy to later this month or possibly February now, whilst resorts in Andorra, Austria and Spain remain open to locals only.  The slopes…

Up To 55cm Of Snowfall So Far As Big Storm Hits the Alps

Ski areas in the Swiss Bernese Oberland have reported the biggest accumulations so far, but many areas in France, Italy and Austria too have reported 30cm (a foot) or more of fresh snow in the past 24 hours, and for many it is still dumping down. Up to 55cm (22”) of snowfall has been reported falling so far in the Alps, where the first major storm of 2021 is underway. St Anton this morning. The Swiss Jungfrau region has posted 50cm (20 inches) of snowfall so far. This ski region is currently open but unfortunately the Lauberhorn races due to have taken place there this weekend have been moved to Kitzbuhel due to a COVID-19 outbreak which has infected more…

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