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Europe Weekly Roundup #244

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(Updated 5 June 2024)
A comprehensive review of snow conditions, weather, and updates for Europe’s winter sports destinations.

Molltal, Austria: 5th June 2024.

Powder Alert: Chile’s Resorts Blanketed in Over a Meter of Early Snow

  • In the Southern Hemisphere, ski areas in the Andes are experiencing significant early snowfall, with more centres opening ahead of schedule, particularly in Chile.
  • Australia’s ski regions have been mostly dry and sunny, prompting reliance on snowmaking systems as the season approaches, although a temperature drop and precipitation are expected soon.
  • New Zealand is gearing up for its upcoming ski season, with pre-season conditions showing promise for snowmaking, but hopes remain high for a substantial snowfall in the coming weeks.

EUROPE INTRO

There’s not much change on a week ago, just one more glacier closed in the Alps, taking the total currently available for snow sports there down to four, and three in Scandinavia that were open last week remain so for now, with fresh snowfall reported to start this week. A replacement fifth Alpine glacier that had been expected to open last weekend has been postponed to this coming Thursday, so we should be up to nine by this time next week. The biggest news of the last seven days was a rare late spring powder alarm from the Austrian Tirol, where year-round Hintertux posted 20cm of powder up on its glacier in 24 hours.

THE ALPS REPORT

Italy’s Stelvio Pass had planned to start its season last weekend, but as advanced signs seemed to make the most likely scenario, a postponement has been announced, to Thursday 6th June, so far. Those signs included reports of high avalanche danger, continuing heavy snowfall and the access road over the Stelvio Pass still being partly blocked by snow. This led to hotels at the base having already delayed opening and a few days before it has said it would open, Stelvio finally said it couldn’t safely do so. The Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun in Austria ended its eight-month ski season on Sunday though, so we’re down to four still open until Stelvio opens. They’ve mostly seen fresh snowfall thanks to low temperatures and changeable conditions above 2000m. Hintertux (0/500cm / 0/200”) posted the biggest accumulations, along with whiteout conditions, at the weekend, with over 20cm (8”) falling in 24 hours. Some Italian ski villages up at around 1800m or higher including Livigno and Sulden posted images of midwinterlike conditions on their resort streets on May 31st. Hintertux is one of two Austrian glaciers currently open now that the Kitzsteinhorn has closed, although it’s only for a week or so more at the Molltal (0/240cm / 0/96”) is also ending its season next week. Norway now has the most areas open in Europe but also in the Alps, The Matterhorn Paradise (0/150cm / 0/60″) ski area with Europe’s highest slopes, also remains open above Cervinia and Zermatt and there’s limited terrain available at Les 2 Alpes (0/390cm / 0/156″) in France, with most of the glacier used and reserved by race teams for their summer training. There are between 10 and 25km (6-16 miles) of slopes open at each, the most at Hintertux and Zermatt/Cervinia). The freezing point has been generally between 2000-3000m and the snow kept falling through the weekend in most areas, a little clearer over the past few days.

Hintertux, Austria: 3rd June 2024.

THE ALPS FORECAST

It’s expected to be a little warmer and a little more settled with rain showers to higher elevations. Temperatures will be in the +2 to +6C range on glaciers, so staying up above freezing around the clock.

SCANDINAVIA REPORT

All three of Norway’s small glacier areas are open as we start June, more than any other country. The past week has seen a good deal of dry, sunny weather, although the past 48 hours have seen rain, sleet and snowfall on ski slopes. Most recently it has been snowfall, with fresh snow reported on Monday morning. Stryn (500/600cm / 200/240”) has the deepest snowpack in the world, Fonna (400/500cm / 160/200”) the joint second most with Austria’s Hintertux. The two Norwegian areas have about 5km (3 miles) of slopes open each along with terrain park features. The region’s highest slopes at Galdhopiggen (80/200cm / 32/80”) are also open with about half as much terrain.

Galdhopiggen, Norway: 5th June 2024.

SCANDINAVIA FORECAST

A continuing mix of rain, sleet and snowfall through the remainder of this week, interspersed with sunny spells. Overnight lows on glaciers down to -7C, daytime highs around +5C although maybe reaching +10C at Stryn. 

Scandinavia snow forecast for the next 3-6 days.

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