Here’s a sight to gladden the heart of anyone who loves the Alps in summer.
The photo was taken in Les Deux Alpes on Friday, the day before the French resort opened to the public. Ski racers were already training up on the glacier, while a group of 300 mountain bikers were warming up the new MTB trails.
As you can see, the sun was out, and the snowline was remarkably low. That’s because roughly 40cm of new snow had fallen overnight above the the resort.
This was freestyle superstar Kevin Rolland taking full advantage of the snow, on the same day.
For the next couple of days the weather is going to be changeable, with some showers – but then high pressure will be settling over the region, and temperatures will jump. The daytime freezing point will be well over 4000m. It’s been a wet spring in the Alps. So when the sun comes out, everyone’s going to notice how lush the grass is, and how vivid the greens.
For more on the summer scene in the Alps, check out our features about summer skiing, mountain biking, cycling, summer resorts and adventure parks. When the sun’s out, there’s no season more beautiful…
Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere…
Weatherwise, it’s been a rather quiet week in the main ski regions of the south. The best conditions, are still at altitude in the Andes. Here’s how Valle Nevado, near Santiago in Chile, was looking on Sunday.
And this was Portillo, which opened for the season on Saturday.
In Australia, they’re still waiting for the first proper snowfall of the season in the Snowy Mountains of the south-east – and it looks as though they might get one, with 5-15cm of snow forecast for Tuesday, and a proper wintry blast on Friday, which could bring 30cm of wind-driven snow.
In New Zealand it’s been rather mild of late – and will stay that way for much of the week. Heavy rain is forecast for the Southern Alps: let’s hope it falls as snow up in the resorts. The best chance of a proper dump of snow is on Thursday night/Friday morning when a cold front from the south is expected.
Here’s how The Remarkables near Queenstown looked yesterday, on the second day of its winter season.
Clear skies meant that it was possible to run the snow cannons overnight. Here’s one of them in Coronet Peak, which is The Remarkables’ nearest neighbour.
However, looking at the webcam shots of the lower pistes in Coronet Peak, it’s clear that more snow is needed – and quickly.
|France: see our main report. Summer skiing is now on offer on the Pisaillas glacier above Val d’Isere (until July 15), and at Les Deux Alpes (until August 27). Tignes will be offering summer skiing from June 25 to August 7. Bear in mind that the skiing surface will be affected by the sharp rise in temperatures due in the second half of the week.|
|Switzerland: there’s plenty of snow up on Zermatt’s glacier at the moment, thanks to the cold spring and showery start to summer. Currently the resort reports up to 220cm of cover, on-piste. The second half of the week promising brilliant sunshine, and rising temperatures.|
|Austria: summer skiing is currently on offer on the Hintertux, Kitzsteinhorn and Molltaler glaciers. The snow’s currently in very good nick: but it will be affected by the sudden switch to summer warmth on Wednesday.|
|Italy: Cervinia will be open again for summer skiing from June 25.|
|Andorra: in Andorra, the shutters have come down on the ski season. All eyes are now on the summer…|
|Western USA: in California, Mammoth has announced it will offer skiing until July 4.|
|Western Canada: the Horstman glacier on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler is open for summer skiing until July 17.|