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Portugal’s Snowiest Ever Ski Season?

Many people don’t realise that Portugal – a land most famous for its sunny weather and coastal villages – has a ski area vat its highest point at Serra da Estrela, nearly 2,000m up and east of capital Lisbon towards the Spanish border. So it comes as a double surprise to discover not only that this ski centre exists, but also that it is currently enjoying what may be its snowiest ski season ever – meaning it is still open in late April when many of the wold’s biggest and highest ski areas have already ended their seasons. The latest in a series of huge snowstorms to hit the slopes of Portugal this winter brought drifts of up to six

‘Snow Play’ at New Zealand Ski Area 10 Weeks Before Season Starts

Ski areas in New Zealand have reported heavy snowfalls this past week with up to 50cm of fresh snowfall in total. The ski season in New Zealand and much of the southern hemisphere does not normally start until June and whilst no ski area is officially opening yet, several have seen people hiking up to ski the fresh snow. Mt Ruapehu (pictured top) reported up to 20cm of fresh snow and drifts of up to a metre.   The early snow was reported to be due to an Autumnal southerly blast of cold air from Antarctica. Mt Hutt, which is due to open for its 2018 ski season on June 8th, was one of the resorts to report 50cm

Exceptional Snow Depths on Alpine Glaciers

Snow depths in the Alps are at historic highs after more heavy snowfall over the past 10 days on top of already deep accumulations built up through one of the snowiest winters this century.  Probably THE snowiest this century in many areas. Engelberg (below) in Switzerland’s Titlis glacier is reporting a 7.4m (nearly 25 feet) base after almost 1.5m (five feet) of snowfall there in the last week of March.  It’s the deepest base in the world at present and believed to be the first time  ski area in the Alps has posted a 7m+ snow depth for many years.  It’s open for snowsports until mid-May. In Austria the Dachstein Glacier (below) has gone past the 6m (20 feet) base

‘Warm Snow’ Falling in Colorado

A new study claims that it snows in Colorado at temperatures so warm the precipitation would fall as rain elsewhere. The research published by a team from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado actually finds that Colorado gets snowfall at some of the warmest temperature on the planet, with snow falling even when temperatures are approaching 4 degrees Celcius. Keith Jennings, a graduate researcher and lead author of the study, said his team was surprised to find that freezing point at zero degrees Celsius or 32 Fahrenheit was not the key factor in whether precipitation fell as rain or snow, but more where the precipitation was falling. For snow to form naturally in

Ski Slopes Turn Orange in Eastern Europe

We’re used to green, blue, red and black slopes in skiing, but orange? This time it’s not a grading of a ski run either, but the colour the snow has turned across a large swathe of mountainous regions in Eastern Europe. Orange-tinted snow has been falling across Georgia, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries with ski areas in eastern Europe. The orange snow has become a tourist attraction in its own right at the 2014 Winter Olympic venue of Sochi in Russia Weather experts report that the unusual phenomenon is the result of sand and dust stirred up and carried into the atmosphere from the Middle East and/or North Africa hitting colder air in Eastern Europe after travelling east and

Biggest Snowfalls This Century in Western Spain

There have been some huge snowfalls in Spain this week and unusually it is not the mountain range where the country’s biggest ski areas are that have been really dumped on. Spain has more than 30 ski areas with about half of them, including most of the larger centres, in the Pyrenees along the country’s northeastern border. But the others are located all over the country in other mountain ranges including the Sistema Central and the Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range that stretch for over 300 km across northern Spain, from the western limit of the Pyrenees to the Galician Massif in Galicia, along the coast of the Cantabrian Sea. It’s small ski areas in these mountains that are reporting

Will March 2018 Be The Snowiest Ever Month in Californian Ski History?

There have been more huge snow storms at Californian ski areas this week with some ski areas now questioning whether this month may end up their snowiest ever. Squaw Valley reports having had 4.7 metres (185 inches or more than 15 feet) of snow so far this month and says that’s more than they got in January last year when they set an all time snowfall record for any month of operation since the area opened. Nearly another 2.5m (100 inches) of snow will be needed to break the 717cm (282 inch) record set in January 2017 though, but with the are reporting 107cm (35 inches) in the past 24 hours alone, that may be possible.   Last season

Heavy Spring Snowfall in New England

A second wave of heavy snowfall in New England has transformed conditions for the better in Eastern North America since the start of March. The East Coast’s ski areas had been suffering under warm temperatures, leading some in more southerly states to close for the season earlier than they hoped, but a return of snowy conditions for the start of meteorological spring have transformed slopes for the better. In Vermont Jay Peak (pictures above and top) has reported almost two feet (58cm) of snow in the past 72 hours and most other ski areas in the state have reported 30-50cm in the same period. Killington, which tries to stay open in to June each year, had seen the number of

Snow Depths Reach 6m On Two Continents, 5m on Third

Snow depths have been building across the northern hemisphere in the run up to meteorological spring. Typically northern hemisphere snow bases grow and grow from September to March before peaking at the start of spring when the annual thaw begins to slowly reduce the snow pack through spring and summer. In recent years the deepest depths have struggled to reach 4m or 5m at times – last season saw a very deep snowbase in North America but not to much in Asia and Europe for example. 2017-18 is seeing more uniformity across the three northern hemisphere continents.  Depths in Europe passed the 6m (20 feet) mark at several Swiss ski areas in January – very unusually deep bases. Japan in

Big Snowfalls for the Start of Spring in the USA

After a largely quiet February for snowfall in most of North America, March and the start of  meteorological spring, has seen some big snowfalls on both the West and East coasts of the US. The snow is welcome on both coasts – in Califiornia because they’re still battling from low snowfall totals and warm weather through much of the season to date, in the east because temperatures had been unseasonably warm and some more southerly areas had been forced to close for the season early.  Here precipitation was expected to fall as rain at most areas but has fallen as snow at many resorts in Vermont and New York State, where swain ski centre reported 20 inches/51cm of snow overnight.