Saalbach: a vibrant winter sport hot-spot

Saalbach is one of Austria’s premier ski resorts and probably one of the most popular and lively winter-sports holiday destinations in the Alps. It offers a wide range of runs and challenges for skiers of every level and a vibrant apres-ski.

Originally comprising two sides of the long Glemm valley the resorts Saalbach and Hinterglemm have been connected to include Leogang and Fieberbrunn both one valley across. And even a further extension to Zell am See is planned. On the basis of the resort's official figures, verified by consultant Christoph Schrahe, this is Austria’s second largest interconnected ski area (after Arlberg).

Diverse and exciting

There is a wide variety of terrain from easy beginners slopes to challenging blacks and pretty reasonable off-piste. This is a great resort for all abilities with mostly blues and reds, the odd long black run and some very pretty scenery including some lovely tree runs. Slopes are well-groomed, well-marked and most of them very wide. Many slopes are below the treeline which improves the visibility in bad weather conditions. Altogether, this makes Saalbach very suitable for beginners and skiers with medium skill.

Moreover, the ski area is well laid out with numerous access points allowing you easy access to 270 kilometres of world-class skiing. There clearly has been a lot of investment in the ski lifts in recent years, many of the older queue prone ones replaced by modern high capacity ones.

Written by skiweather on Sunday October 15, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiresorts - Tags: saalbach, ski, challenge, vibrant

Kitzbühel defies climate change

The first non-glacier resort in the Alps opened on Saturday, on what is believed to be it's earliest ever opening date. For the 4th time in a row, Kitzbühel repeats the stunt to open ahead of any other non-glacier ski area in the Alps.

However Kitzbühel has not opened with new snow or even snow making but by using snow stored from last season. It’s a technique called snowharvesting and successfully used by several Scandinavian ski resorts with Ruka in Finland and Geilo in Norway opening the same way over the past few weeks. The Resterkogel/Resterhöhe area is operating at the weekend and hopes to open on a daily basis from 21st October. The famous Austrian resort plans to use the same technique to open a second area on the Hahnenkamm in 12 days’ time.The official opening for the entire Kitzbuhel ski area is scheduled for November 28th.

Written by skiweather on Saturday October 14, 2017
Permalink - Category: snowreport - Tags: kitzbuhel, snowfarming

Prolongued summer heat in the Alps decimates European Glaciers

Summer skiing on Europe's glaciers is severly limited at the moment after the exceptionally long period of high temperatures melted away a substantial part of the snow and ice cover and left exposed granite rock surfaces.

The Molltal glacier is now the third of seven Alpine glaciers -open for summer skiing- that has been forced to cease snowsports recently. The news from the Molltal follows the announcement last month from Austria's Dachstein glacier that it will no longer operate a terrain park due to climate change

The high temperatures that have hit central Europe over the past weeks have also taken their toll on Italy's glaciers, with a summer ski resort at the Stelvio Pass having to make the historic decision to suspend its activities due to worsening conditions at the Alpine glacier. However, it has since re-opened limited terrain following an unexpected break in the heat when glaciers received up to 35cm of fresh snow in mid-August.

Written by skiweather on Friday August 25, 2017
Permalink - Tags: glacier, summerskiing, heat, climate - Category: skiresorts

Maybe the last dumpalert of the season?

Up to metre of snow fell in parts of the Austrian Alps last week. This week, there could be just as much as another cold front moves down from the north and settles over the region.

It will also become much colder mid-week, especially on the northern side of the Alps, where snow could fall well into the valleys.

However, the heaviest snowfalls over the next few days are likely to be in higher parts of the central Alps, including resorts such as Passo Tonale, Madesimo, St Moritz, Obergurgl, Stubai and Hintertux. These resorts could see between 50cm and 100cm by Friday, with even more possible in some areas.

Written by skiweather on Tuesday April 25, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiweather

Lots of fresh snow for the northern Alps

The snowfall limit descents even further on Wednesday. A lot of fresh snow comes down above 500 meters in the mountains of the alpine north side. The amount is on average 20 to 50 cm, locally even 70 centimeters of fresh snow. During the night there is an acute frost hazard. On Friday local temperatures around minus 10 degrees are possible.

In the night on Wednesday even colder air reaches the alpine area, the snowfall limit settles down into the lowlands. During daytime the snowfall is growing even further with a low over Eastern Europe. By the end of the Thursday, about 10 to 40cm is expected on the lower slopes, and even more than 50 centimeters in locations above 800 m.

Written by skiweather on Wednesday April 19, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiweather - Tags: northern, alps, snow, spring

A late blast of snow for the eastern Alps

Huge amounts of snow over the Alps and WNW Balkan peninsula through next week, locally 50-100 cm could result from the latest model runs. Yet to be confirmed what the exact precipitation amounts will be, but the significant cold outbreak after Monday is confirmed. Much of Austria is going to see considerable snowfall this week in quantities that have been rare through much of the season so far.

The jet stream will turn to the northwest Saturday and cold polar air will come in and arrive in the northern Alps in the course of Saturday afternoon. The snow line will plummet from around 2200m on Saturday morning to around 1500 meters by late Sunday afternoon. The snow line will reside around 1200 meters in the Swiss and Austrian Alps on Monday. The wintry conditions will last for the better part of next week.

Written by skiweather on Saturday April 15, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiweather - Tags: eastern, alps, snow

Skiing conditions in the Southwestern Alps improved substantially

Winter seems far from over in Europe, as the snowfall of recent days shows. Snowfall has affected the upper slopes in most of the southwestern part of the Alps. It was the French/Italian border area that saw the most fresh snow, with 20cm at resort level in Val d’Isère this morning and 50-60cm reported at altitude. In the Southern Alps, the resorts of Montgenèvre and Val d'Allos prolonged their season a bit with current snow conditions worthy of high-altitude ski resorts, offering respectively 250 and 160cm of snow at the top of their domain. Skiing conditions were superb today with intense blue skies.

Written by skiweather on Sunday March 26, 2017
Permalink - Category: snowreport - Tags: southwestern, alps, french

Colder weather and snow for the Swiss and Austria Alps

The weather in the Alps has been spring-like this week: very mild and with plenty of sunshine. It was a glorious week with deep-blue skies. The nights were quite cold due to the absence of a substantial cloud cover. With freeze-thaw conditions the snow quality is very mixed and poor on the lower slopes. The lower valleys are turning green again after the high temperatures of the past one-and-a-half week. However, the spring conditions won't last very long. A big weather change is heading to the Alps this weekend as warm spring sunshine gives way to rather turbulent conditions with significant precipitation expected.

Written by skiweather on Friday March 17, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiweather - Tags: swiss, austrian, snow

10 best destinations in Europe for spring skiing

Skiing at the end of the season has many advantages. The weather is generally milder and sunnier, the days are much longer and the crowds have gone leaving quieter slopes to enjoy. It also means that there are many great ski accommodation deals to be had as resorts look to sell their empty beds at low prices.

Spring skiing in Lech Zurs
Spring skiing in Lech am Arlberg (Ski Arlberg)

Written by skiweather on Monday March 13, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiresorts - Tags: spring, late, season, skiing, snow-sure

Disruptive weather and plenty of fresh snow marks the start of March

Winter is back with a vengeance, delivering plenty of fresh snow. And there is still lot's more to come! Over the last few days we’ve been experiencing some of the best powder skiing of the season. However, at lower altitudes -especially with the milder temperatures- the fresh snow is a bit more humidified and sticky. Unfortunately, the fresh snow is often being accompanied by howling winds.

Until Saturday afternoon the weather in the Alps is dominated by storm-strength southerly winds. In some central and northern parts of the Alps the strong Föhn winds will be particularly violent and disruptive. Many ski lifts at high altitude down-size operations this Saturday or are completely shut-down. ZAMG have issued storm warnings for Austria. Winds of 70-120kmh gusting up to 160kmh in the mountains are possible.

Written by skiweather on Saturday March 4, 2017
Permalink - Category: skiweather