With Easter just around the corner and with lot’s of resort heading in the Easter holidays with excellent snow conditions and more snow forecast this week there is still a lot of skiing left in the season.
During the week a lot of Alpine ski resorts experienced huge snowstorms. Mid week had blizzard conditions in a lot of the high altitude resorts and even the X Games in Tignes were temporarily delayed due to the wild weather.
No one is complaining though as the fresh to up means conditions are super across most of the alpine resort. In the Pyrenees the record snow levels continue as this years turns into one of the best even for skiing in the Pyrenees.
Right across Europe and North America lots of snow has been dumping
- bitterly cold weather and snow across the UK has hamper transport links. At the Scottish ski resorts access has been blocked temporarily while huge snow drifts are cleared.
- big snow falls across the Alps – with resorts in Austria, Italy and France seeing almost a meter of snow in 24hrs.
- Western Canada see heavy snow of up to 80cm
- Continued record snow levels in the Pyreenes
- even Europe’s most southerly ski resort, the Sierra Nevada in Spain has snow levels over 4m.
The French ski resorts have experienced huge snowfalls over the last seven days.
Alpe d’Huez had a record level of snowfall this week with 1.35m over just seven days. A huge dump of 80cm fell on Sunday night alone. Alpe d’Huez had almost double the snowfall of other French resorts this week but the other resorts didn’t escape the snow and several had quite big top ups to their existing snow base. 1.25m at Serre Chevalier, 90cm at La Plagne, 85cm at Les Arcs and 80cm at Val Thorens.
The deepest snow bases are at Tignes – 3.9m and Alpe d’Huez - 4.2m
The other main ski resorts in France had 30-40cm of new snow to top up the already excellent conditions and make sure that anyone heading on an Easter ski holiday in France will have more than enough fresh pistes to keep them happy.
What can we say !!! The season in the Pyrenees just continues to break all records. This week was a ittle
quieter in terms of new snowfall with just 30-50cm reported but the level of snow right across the Pyrenees ski resorts is more than enough to ensure quality skiing well into April. Both Andorra and the French Pyrenees resorts have had the most snowfall in Europe this year. Cauterets and Tourmalet both say 30cm of the fresh stuff this week.
More big snowfalls in Austria are keeping the pistes in perfect condition for the holiday weekend. Up to 75cm of fresh powder fell in the last week with the biggest falls happening on Sunday and Monday.
The is still plenty of spring skiing in Austria with impressive snow depths in many of the resorts. Snow bases are 240cm in Hintertux, 175cm in Filzmoos, 280cm in Kaprun, 255cm in Lech, 250cm in Obertauern, 365cm on the Pitztal Glacier, 277cm in Solden and 250cm at St Anton.
If you are planning a ski holiday in Austria this week you are set for excellent skiing conditions with more light snowfall expected throughout the week.
Lots of snow has fallen over Sunday/Monday in the Swiss ski resorts. Gstaad now has the deepest snow in Switzerland with 510cm of cover.
While not receiving the epic 1m plus falls experienced this week in the southern French Alps many of the Swiss resort have reported at least 30cm of new snow with big falls in Zermatt (60cm), Les Diablerets (45cm), St Moritz and Villars.
Verbier too has enjoyed fresh snow and this week saw lots of powder days for skiers and boarders in Verbier. This week also saw the Freeride World Tour it Verbier with some impressive offpiste extreme action. Read more here.
La Thuile in the western Alps and Arabba in the Dolomites both say in excess of 1m of new snow this week. Like the rest of the Alps most of the snow fell in Italy on Sunday and Monday. Cortina and Cervinia reporting over 50cm and currently have perfect spring conditions with excellent on piste conditions combined with beautiful sunny weather.
Both Borovets and Bansko received new snowfall of about 30cm this week. Saturday was white out in Borovets with powder falling all day. Blue skies appeared on Sunday to make for an epic powder day all over the Markujik off piste bowl. A freak storm closed the Bansko ski lifts for one day last week due to extremely high winds day but on the plus side the storm brought in new snow to freshen up the pistes. Bulgaria’s most southern ski resort, Pamporovo is still enjoying good conditions although on sunny days the pistes can get soft in the afternoons. If you are planning an Easter ski holiday in Bulgaria there is still perfect conditions on the high pistes with the lower pistes good in the mornings and getting a little slushy in the afternoon.
The snow in America has been a little quieter this week. Certainly nothing to match the levels in the Alps.
The biggest falls have been in Vermont and Colorado with Aspen, Deer Valley, Vail and Breckenridge seeing some 30-40cm. There are still some pretty impressive snow deeps and no shortage of snow in the America resorts
Western Canada joined with Europe this week to experience almost a meter of snow in the last seven days.
Fernie has over 70cm of new powder and a snow base of 2.8m. Banff and Lake Louise also enjoyed 30-40cm of powder and conditions are excellent in both resorts at the moment. This week looks a little quieter in terms of fresh snowfall but there is already more than enough snow in the Canadian ski resorts to keep skiers and boarders perfectly happy.
If you are heading away for the Easter weekend we hope you enjoy the great ski conditions at the moment and have a super ski holiday wherever you choose.
With the 2013 free ride tour season now wrapped up check out these extreme videos. Review the best free riding action of the 2013 season and the top free riding movies of the year.
And just incase you've forgotten here are this season final rankings.
SKI MEN - 1. Drew Tabke (USA), 2. Reine Barkered (SWE), 3. Julien Lopez (FRA)
SNOWBOARD MEN - 1. Ralph Backstrom (USA), 2. Aurélien Routens (FRA), 3. Sammy Luebke (USA)
SKI WOMEN - 1. Nadine Wallner (AUT), 2. Pia Nic Gundersen (NOR), 3. Jackie Paaso (USA)
SNOWBOARD WOMEN - 1. Elodie Mouthon (FRA), 2. Margot Rozies (FRA), 3. Shannan Yates (USA)
For lots more videos, action and all the latest updates check out the Freeride Tour site here
The first official season of the new Swatch Freeride World Tour finished today with a spectacular performance on the epic Bec des Rosses face in Verbier, Switzerland. The four Freeride World Tour champions were crowned today at the end of six jaw dropping events around the world. Only the top free-riders qualified for todays competition in Verbier.
Conditions were perfect, with good snow in Verbier all season and a top up of fresh powder earlier this week the Bec des Rosses descent was the perfect challenge for these crasy adrenlin junkies.
In the men’s ski free ride the competition was close between French rider Kevin Guri and American Drew Tabke. In the end Tabke finished 6th in Verbier but that was enough to be crowned 2013 Freeride World Champion.
In the snowboard competition it was another US athlete that stole the show. Ralph Backstrom not only won the Swatch Xtreme Verbier 2013 event but this was enough for him to win the world champion title following a fast run down the “Bec” course. French rider Aurélien Routens came second and the defending world champion Jonathan Charlet wrapped up third place.
In the women’s ski event the wild card entry Matilda Rapaport took the Verbier 2013 title with and amazing cliff drop following by some radical riding and several big jumps. Another wildcard Lorraine Huber from Austria took second place. The overall season title went to Austrian Nadine Wallner who had already secured the world champion title at the last event in Fieberbrunn-PillerseeTal. She didn’t rest on her larels however and out in an imporessive performance to finish third in Verbier.
The last event of the day saw French expert Elodie Mouthon win the womans snowboard event with a score of 86.33 points. With 4 earlier season wins Mouthon managed to grab the Freeride title in the very first year on the tour.
Overall the 2013 season has been exciting for the World FreeRider Tour with European and North American riders combining for the first time and events happening across the globe. Check back next year to experience the best in free-riding, vertical drops, back flips, cliff dives and generally insane off piste ski and snowboard action.
Of course if you fancy a little more leisurely skiing or snowboarding. Maybe some ON-piste action is more your style. If so then check out some chalets in Verbier or rent a Verbier apartment and enjoy a ski holiday in one of the top resorts in Switzerland
This week saw the Winter X Games back in Europe in the top French resort of Tignes. Running from 20th to 22nd March over 150 of the worlds top skiers and snowboarders descended on the high altitude resort for 3 days of adrenaline packed action. Since its founding in 1997 the X Games has become synonymous with extreme winter sports and freestyle skiing.
Tignes has always been at the forefront of freestyle and free riding and riders in the resort have always been testing the limits of their ability and the mountain. In fact the first freestyle skiing world championship was held in Tignes in 1986 as recognition of its strong role in developing the sport. The X Games started life in America and first came to Europe in 2010 when the games were held in Tignes. Ever since then the X Games Europe have headed back to Tignes each year for all the thrills and spills of extreme riding.
This year as usual the most eagerly awaited event was the Superpipe event. The 176m long XXL pipe was built on the Double M piste in Val Claret using over 40,000m3 of snow. The pipe looked pretty fearsome at over 7m high and 20m wide. The event ran for 3 days from Wednesday with the action climaxing with the snowboard finals on Thursday and the skiing finals on Friday.
The Slopeside event attracted as big crowds as the Superpipe with lots of different obstacles including tables, rails, hips and big air jumps. Riders were judged on the difficulty , height and execution of their routines. This year the Slopeside circuit used over 110,000m2 of artificial snow and combined 6 different zone to give a total length of 800m.
Some of the top names in Freeriding were in Tignes this week. Bobby Brown (the Ski Slopestyle gold medalist) , Jamie Anderson (the women's Snowboard Slopestyle gold medalist) , Louie Vito (the men’s Snowboard Superpipe silver medal holder) and Roz Groenewoud (the women’s Ski Superpipe gold winner) were all in town to defend their titles.
UK athletes James “Woodsy” Woods and Jamie Nicholls were also in action in Tignes and expected to be in contention for the medal spots. Since winning his first bronze medal in the X Games 2 years ago Woodsy has taken the Slopestyle world by storm winning another bronze in the Aspen X Games this year. Despite going into the competition as a hot favourite unfortunately Woodsy was unable to make the finals and went home without a medal.
Jamie Nicholls also failed to make the final finishing just 13th in the semis but he put a brave face on it and is instead looking forward to World Cup in Sierra Nevada next week The British women were a little more successful with Katie Summerhayes finishing in 4th and snowboarder Aimee Fuller made history by being the first woman to land a double back flip in the SlopeStyle competition. Overall Aimee finished 6th.
Conditions were tricky throughout the week with blizzards on Wednesday delaying some of the heats. The bad weather didn’t seem to bother the current snowboard world champion, Kaya Turski. The 24 year old Canadian romped home to win her fourth consecutive title.
Bizarrely all three winning medalists at the 2013 X Games in Aspen, Colorado failed to make it into Thursday's final round in Tignes. Aspen gold medalist Nick Goepper (USA), silver medalist Henrik Harlaut (Sweden) and James Woods, who took bronze all missed out on a place in the final.
In the men’s Superpipe American star Shaun White was unfortunately absent and victory went to fellow US rider Louie Vito. The Frenchman Arthur Longo took silver and Taki Hiraoko (Japan) took the bronze.
All week large crowds turned out to see the action with many holiday skiers and boarders taking some time out to watch the jumps and tricks. Conditions on the regular slopes in Tignes and the Espace Killy are still excellent so there is still plenty of time to get in a few weeks of spring skiing in the Alps. If you need some accommodation for your holiday in the Espace Killy why not try a Tignes apartment or some ski chalets in Val 'dIsere
Prince Harry was spotted skiing in Verbier last week. He is staying in a chalet in Verbier with his latest girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, and they were both seen on the ski slopes and in the bars and restaurants around town. They enjoyed time in The Farinet on Place Centrale and had some après ski drinks in the Pot Luck Bar before retiring upstairs to the Lounge Bar where they party late into the morning.
The couple were not alone and traveled with his uncle Prince Andrew and the Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice. Verbier has always been popular with the rich and famous and regularly attracts celebrities of all sorts. Richard Branson is often seen in the ski resort and actually owns one of the most luxurious Verbier chalets called The Lodge.
James Blunt, Bono, Lawrence Dallaglio, Sir Bob Geldof, Diana Ross, Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthall and many others have enjoyed the ski slopes and lively atmosphere of Verbier.
In fact Prince Harry was seen enjoying lunch on the slopes in the new La Vache restaurant operated by James Brunt, Lawrence Dallaglio and Heston Blumenthall. He also frequented the well known The Après which is one of the most popular bars in Verbier with lively music and regular live bands.
Introduced for the 2012-13 ski season, Eurostar’s ski train to the Swiss Alps provides a new way of reaching your favourite ski resorts in the Valais region. Eurostar has teamed up with the French TGV network to bring skiers and snowboarders on the high speed connection from St Pancreas to the heart of the Swiss Valais ski area. The Swiss Alps ski train tickets are valid for Aigle, Visp, Brig or Martigny stations which all have quick and easy connections to the nearby ski resorts. You need to change trains at Lille but other than that this is one of the easiest and most relaxing ways to get to your ski holiday in the Alps.
The Swiss Alps ski trains run every Saturday from 22 December to 13 April and not only get you to the Alps in record time but you can also enjoy the amazing alpine scenery enroute.
Aigle station gives easy access to the Swiss resorts of Villars, Gstaad and Les Diablerets as well as the French resort in the Portes du Soleil area. Martigny station is your stop for Verbier and Chamonix Mont Blanc area. Visp station gives access to Zermatt and Sass Fee.
With return fares available from 189 this is a great way to access a ski holiday in the Alps. Trains depart from St. Pancreas International and Ashford International stations.
With mid term school holidays in full swing across Europe the weather seems to be playing along just perfectly. Last week saw some big dumps of snow across the alpine resorts making for a great start to the school holiday period. This week is always one of the busiest times of the year in the Alps and certainly this year is proving to be one of the best for snow conditions all around the world. The Pyrenees and Andorra have enjoyed their best snowfall in many years and are currently enjoying the deepest snow levels in Europe. Even Scotland is having a good winter season with all resorts open for the holidays and good conditions for skiing and snowboarding.
Now for our roundup of snow condition in the top ski resorts.
As we mentioned the Pyrenees is enjoying some of the deepest snow in Europe this year. The ski resort of Cauterets has a base of over 5m and perfect conditions. The rest of France is not short of snow and several alpine reported over 60cm this week. La Clusaz enjoyed more than 65cm of new powder in the last few days and Flaine in the Grand Massif ski domain had an impressive meter of new snow in the last week.
Other notable snow falls were reported in Chamonix (55cm), Courchevel (70cm), Sainte Foy (45cm), La Rosiere (70cm), Val d’Isere (60cm) and Meribel (65cm).
If you are heading off on a mid term ski holiday in France then you needn't worry about the snow as all resorts are reporting good coverage and 100% of pistes and lifts are open.
There have been several big snowfalls across the Austrian Alps over the past week and with continuing low temperatures there is excellent powder conditions. Most resorts received over 30cm of fresh snowfall with Kitzbuhel reporting over 60cm and Skiwelt resort of Ellmau having an amazing 90cm in just a couple of days.
All the main Austrian ski resorts now have bases of over 3m including Ischgl with 175-310cm and Lech with 150-305cm. Overall the Arlberg region is enjoying perfect conditions for this time of year. St Anton and Mayrhofen both had 50cm of new snow and with sunny but cold conditions predicted for the coming week it is the ideal spot of a family ski break this half-term.
The Swiss ski resorts have seen the heaviest snowfall across the Alps this week. In Gstaad they reported over 120cm of fresh snow in just 7 days. With such heavy fresh snowfall, you won’t be short of powder if you are heading to the Swiss Alps in the next couple of weeks.
Verbier enjoyed 90cm of fresh this week, Klosters 70cm, Zermatt 85cm, Nendaz 75cm and Crans Montana 80cm. Most of the other Swiss resorts enjoyed at least 50-60cm of the fresh white stuff. Infact Switzerland is having an excellent season for snow cover and is second only to the Pyrenees in terms of snow fall.
The Dolomites have enjoyed the best of the Italian snow over the last week with Arabba reporting 20cm and Val Gardena some 50cm of new snow. Alta Badia is reporting a snow base of 2.3m and more snow if forecast for this week.
The alpine resorts had a drier week last week with just 15-30cm over snow reported the main ski resort of Courmayeur, Livigno and Cervinia. Nevertheless skiing conditions are very good in the Italian Alps at the moment.
If you are heading ski in the Pyrenees this season then you are set for a feast of snow. This season has been breaking all records for the amount of snowfall across the Pyrenees. Bareges, Cauterets and Tourmalet are all reporting around 5m of snow base at the moment. In Andorra too they are enjoying report snow levels with 60-80cm of new snow in Arinsal and Soldeu.
All 3 of the main Bulgarian ski resorts received fresh snow this week which increased the snow base to 2m in some resorts. Bansko and Borovets reported 15-20cm of new snow while Pamporovo although further south received some 30cm this week. Conditions of the half term break in Bulgaria are good in all resorts with all lifts and runs operating. Avalanche risk in Borovets mean that the Markujik 3 run is off limits but this is purely for safety reasons.
Overall it has been a quiet snow week across North America but last weeks major storm that descended on the east coast of the States has brought with it large dumps of snow for the smaller resorts in the New England and Boston area. In Vermont 50cm of fresh powder was reported.
To the west in the Rockies the ski resorts in Colorado listed some of the best snowfall with 30-40cm of fresh snow in Vail, Aspen and Breckenridge. Meanwhile in California it was a dry week with no snow in most resorts but with a snow base of over 4m in Tahoe and Mammoth you will not be short of somewhere to go skiing in California is week.
In Utah, Park City mountain resort is reporting perfect piste conditions and more snow is forecast in the next few days. The linked resorts of Deer Valley and The Canyons are also fully open and skiing very well with more snow forecast for Wednesday night.
Canada has enjoyed much better snow than the US ski resorts over the last week. In Banff and Lake Louise there was an impressive 1.5m of fresh snow to keep the powder hounds happy. Fernie and Big White saw a similar level of the fresh stuff and are reporting excellent powder conditions at the moment.
Whistler and Mont Tremblant were a little drier with just 20-30cm reported for the week but both resorts have plenty of cover from earlier dumps so skiing conditions are good but a little firm.
That’s it for this week. Catch up with us next week when we report all the goings on from the half term holiday break.
Six people have suffered minor injuries after a chairlift derailed in Lecht ski resort, Scotland. 36 more skiers were stranded on the ski lift for over an hour while rescue service dealt with the situation. The accident happened just after 3pm on Tuesday 13th February.
It appears that the ski lift cable came loose causing several of the chair to drop onto the ground. It is half term school holidays in Scotland at the moment some the resort was full of families and children enjoying the excellent snow conditions. Five of those involved were children and the injuries were largely broken bones. The children were treated on the scene by the Scottish ambulance service and several were airlifted by Royal Navy to the nearby Aberdeen hospital as a precaution.
Ski resort staff evacuated the 36 skiers stranded on the inoperable lift and all were safely on the ground in just over an hour. The lift operators have started an investigation to determine the cause of the accident. Lecht is one of the smaller ski resorts in Scotland but is very popular with locals at weekends and during school holidays. The resort is also very popular as a mountain biking destination. The resort has continued to operate following the recent accident and resort staff have assured skiers that all safety precautions are being fully implemented.
A knee injury incurred while competing in Schladming, Austria is likely to prevent Lindsey Vonn from competing in the rest of this years racing season. The US ski star had to be helicoptered off the piste during the first day of the World Championships in the Austrian ski resort of Schladming. She fell while competing in the Super G race and has injured her right knee.
She has reportedly damaged her ACL and MCL which means she will miss the rest of the season but should be fine to compete in the Sochi Olympics. The race start was delayed for 3 hours due to heavy fog and several competitors later described the conditions as very difficult.
Vonn, who has won the World Cup title four ties in total and is the defending Olympic champion in the downhill has had a poor season so far but will no doubt be very disappointed to miss the remaining races. The US ski team medical director, Kyle Wilkens, confirmed that Vonn would miss the rest of this season but should recover in time of the 2013-14 World Cup season and of course the 2014 Olympics.
The Super G race in Schladming was won by the Slovenian skier Tina Maze with Lara Gut (Switzerland), in second and Julia Mancuso (USA) in third.
The UK’s Chemmy Alcott came 24th on her return from injury and is hoping to improve on her performance over the remaining races this season.
Vonn was not the only competitor to crash out of the race with top skiers Anna Fenninger of Austria and Maria Hofl-Riesch (Germany) also failing to complete the course. Similarly Vonn, was not the only person to be air lifted off the course as a race attendant fell shortly before the race start and had to be helicoptered off the mountain.
With February being one of the busiest months for ski holidays, I’m sure that many of you will shortly be heading off to your favourite ski resort. Here is a quick update on the snow conditions that you can expect.
Last week saw plenty of fresh snow across Europe with both the Alps and Pyrenees getting fresh dumps. Across the water in the USA they are finally getting some good snow with over 40cm falling in the Colorado resorts.
In the western Alps the fresh snow falling onto moderately warm base layers means that an avalanche alert is in place for the Espace Killy area. Access the Tignes and Val d’Isere was briefly closed while the avalanche control teams worked to make sure that the main road access from safe for traffic.
Switzerland also had a fresh fall with about 20 cm in Verbier and perfect skiing conditions. Across in Courchevel and Meribel snow conditions are good but this week saw a lot of overcast and misty days which makes the skiing tricky. Temperature across the Alp have been a bit erratic with bitterly cold temperatures 2 weeks ago warming up to an unseasonal 3C in parts of Switzerland over the weekend.
The slight rise in temperature has allowed a warm front to bring snow to Zermatt which benefitted from 50cm of snow over Sunday and Monday morning. Wengen and Saas Fee also saw some 30 cm of fresh powder.
The Pyrenees is having one of its best seasons in years with heavy snowfall continuing for over 3 weeks. Conditions in the Pyrenees ski resort are perfect on-piste with lots of fresh powder off piste. The French resort of Cauterets is boasting over 4m of base, a record for this stage of the season. In Andorra conditions are also superb and overall more snow (40-60c) is forecast across the Pyrenees for the coming week.
The North America resort had better snow in the last week. It has been slow start to the North America ski season but last week Vail had almost 70cm of snowfall which has left the pistes in very good condition and Breckenridge had 40cm and opened the Imperial chairlift for the first time this season.
Mammoth received a 50 cm top up that brings the snow base in the California resort to almost 5m.
Canada has not missed out on this weeks snow action and Fernie in particular had a major dump with almost 90cm falling in the last 7 days. Across in Banff and Sunshine it has been snowing lightly all week and conditions overall are excellent.
For Austria the last week was a little disappointing with very little new snow. On piste conditions are still very good but the off piste is pretty skied out at this stage and also getting crunchy due to the recent thaw. Kitzbuhel and Obergurgl had the most fresh snowfall with 10cm and 11cm respectively. Don’t worry though as all the main Austrian ski resort have snow bases of at least 40cm to 1.5m depending on the resort level with places like Lech, Solden, Ischgl and Hintertux having over 2m cover.
Further east in Bulgaria another 20cm fell in the last few days to top up the slopes. In Bansko and Borovets the top runs and showing over a meter of cover while in Pamporovo the base is almost 2m at the moment.
The France alpine resorts continue to have excellent snow conditions. Chamonix’s 3.5 meter of snow has finally been surpassed by the Pyrenees, something which doesn’t happen too often. The Alps has not missed out on the recent snow and Val d’Isere, Tignes, Flaine, Avoriaz and Val Thorens have all reported 20-30cm of fresh snowfall.
On the Italian side of the Alps it has been a bit of a barren week snow wise but the cold temperatures has maintained the slopes in condition. The Dolomites has the best cover at this stage of the season but both Cervinia and La Thuile can still claim more than 2m of snow cover.
That’s it for this update. Overall if you are heading off on you ski holidays this week then conditions are looking good in most resorts.