Well, our regular Alpine snow reports are pretty much done and dusted for 2011-12, Snowfiends. The last of the high-altitude resorts shut last week, and now just a handful of glacier-based ski are open for the summer – including those above Engelberg and Zermatt in Switzerland, the Stubai, Hintertux, Kitzsteinhorn and Dachstein glaciers in Austria, and the Presena in Italy. Next month, they’ll be joined by a few more glacier resorts which will be open for summer skiing – notably Val d’Isere (opens June 9), Les Deux Alpes (opens June 16) and Tignes (opens June 22), Val Senales (opens June 23). Saas-Fee opens for summer skiing on July 14.
Problem is – no one seems to have told the weather about the end of the season. As you can see from the shot of the Hintertux above, conditions are excellent – clear, cold and sunny. The Hintertux snow report talks of 375cm of cover on the pistes. But tomorrow it’s going to start snowing – hard. Austria and eastern Switzerland will get the lion’s share; and according to the Welove2ski snow forecast more than half a metre of the white stuff could fall in places.
It’s going to be chilly too, with snow settling below 1500m. The change in the weather going to piss off a lot of Austrians, who would very much like spring to start: but it’s great news for the glaciers – as it’ll help build a base to withstand the heat for summer skiing.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the lifts are still spinning above the Canadian resorts of Whistler (closes May 28) and Sunshine Village in Banff National Park (closes May 21). South of the border, however, both Snowbird and Arapahoe Basin have closed – two resorts which often run their seasons into deep into June. It’s a reflection of how disappointing the Rocky Mountain ski season in the USA has been.
Attention is now switching to the southern hemisphere, where resorts will start to open for summer skiing in early June, if the snow’s good. Check out our guide to the best resorts for summer skiing, if you fancy putting your edges to snow over the next few months.
|France: The French ski resorts are currently closed – but three glaciers open next month for summer skiing – Val d’Isere (opens June 9), Les Deux Alpes (opens June 16) and Tignes (opens June 22).|
|Switzerland: There’s still skiing on offer on the glaciers above Engelberg and Zermatt. Currently, above Engelberg, there’s a whopping 580cm on the Titls glacier.|
|Austria: The main focus of the glacier ski scene at the moment is in Austria (see main report). On the Hintertux glacier there’s currently 375cm of snow – and there should be plenty more once the coming storm has blown over.|
|Italy: Glacier skiing is currently available on the Presena glacier.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski areas are closed.|
|Western USA: It was so-so season in the western US, and almost all resorts are now closed. However the lifts will be spinning at Mammoth Mountain until May 28.|
|Western Canada: In western Canada, the ski season in Whistler continues until May 28, and in Sunshine Village in Banff National Park until May 21.|