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Best Powder in Europe? - Page 2

post #31 of 41

"What I meant was where is there consistently larger amounts of snow in Europe. As in, where can we book a weeks holiday and expect to have a good chance of there being snow."

 

Ok then, maybe Andermatt?

post #32 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post

Yeah, whiteouts are very, very, common in the Alps. Maybe I should put another "very" there. The point is -- and stay with me on this one -- they happen a lot. Pretty much whenever it snows. So heed Mr. CV's words about being careful what you wish for, or wish for a lot, eg, snowy nights and sunny, stable days. Tough to plan for, though. And no, that photo of me was not taken in the Alps.

Haha I hear ya! Had a whiteout day in Val Thorens, -30 and a wind that tried to blow you uphill again. Loads of powder, but we couldn't see 10 feet in front of us! Being silly, we decided that this would be excellent to ski in, and spent the day getting frozen, lost and falling over unseen humps and bumps.
post #33 of 41
If it starts snowing heavily in Val d'Isere, you can head over to the Laisanant Express lift. Follow the Germain Mattis red until you are under the rocks and see the trees, then you can dip down into the trees. That will take you all the way down to Piste L, which will lead you back to the chair again.There are several different lines that you can take through the trees there.

Once you're bored with that, you can ride the Fornet cable car a few times. Sometimes, the Foret black is ungroomed, so you can get some fresh lines there if it's dumping. You can also get some good tree skiing under the Mangard blue.

If you get bored with that and the skies haven't cleared, then you can head to La Daille and ski in and around the trees there. If you get bored with that, the skies still haven't cleared, and you don't mind a fairly long commute on piste in low visibility, then you can head over to Tignes les Boisses and Tignes les Brevieres. Both have some terrain below tree line, so you might find some powder and visibility over there.
post #34 of 41

I've had some luck with Austria. And I've heard that the Dolomites are reliable. I'd steer clear of the Alps - Swiss, French, or Italian; my own very limited experience is that they're totally unpredictable. They can get weirdly warm weather in the middle of the winter for a week or so. Picture the NE, but with more snow to thaw. 

post #35 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellracing View Post


Haha I hear ya! Had a whiteout day in Val Thorens, -30 and a wind that tried to blow you uphill again. Loads of powder, but we couldn't see 10 feet in front of us! Being silly, we decided that this would be excellent to ski in, and spent the day getting frozen, lost and falling over unseen humps and bumps.

 

Been there done that too.  Probably one of the scariest thing we've done, skiing in a total white out on the glacier up there, with crevasses on the sides of the yellow cones....and not really knowing which side of the cone/flag we were supposed to be on.....

post #36 of 41

Although repetitive but for pow watch the flow patters and go from there:

 

North to northwest: Arlberg, Engelberg, Andermatt (latter with the least tree skiing)

 

Westerly: French resorts like Cham, Val d'Isere, Trois Vallees (all high alpine),  La Clusaz, Portes du Solei (lower elevated with some tree skiing)

Southerly: The Italian resorts like the Dolomites, Passo Tonale, Madesimo, Livigno,  Aosta valley resorts, Engadin resorts on the Swiss side. Also the Carinthian resorts in Austria.

 

South Easterly: the resorts in eastern Austria like Hochkar, Tauplitz, Krippenstein, Amade, Dachstein and Carinthian  resorts

 

Again check on wepowder page for detailed updates.

 

North easterly flow patterns usually bring in the Russian cold - but a dry spell with sunny weather.

post #37 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by PowHog View Post
 

Although repetitive but for pow watch the flow patters and go from there:

 

North to northwest: Arlberg, Engelberg, Andermatt (latter with the least tree skiing)

 

Westerly: French resorts like Cham, Val d'Isere, Trois Vallees (all high alpine),  La Clusaz, Portes du Solei (lower elevated with some tree skiing)

Southerly: The Italian resorts like the Dolomites, Passo Tonale, Madesimo, Livigno,  Aosta valley resorts, Engadin resorts on the Swiss side. Also the Carinthian resorts in Austria.

 

South Easterly: the resorts in eastern Austria like Hochkar, Tauplitz, Krippenstein, Amade, Dachstein and Carinthian  resorts

 

Again check on wepowder page for detailed updates.

 

North easterly flow patterns usually bring in the Russian cold - but a dry spell with sunny weather.

This doesn't really make sense. A lot of the resorts you've grouped together are nowhere near each other. The Dolomites are, broadly, near Austria; Aosta is near France/western Switzerland. Tonale, Livigno and Madesimo are in the middle. I know from experience that the Val d'Aosta has a totally different weather system than we do and (luckily, as they get d**k for snow) so does the Dolomites.
 

post #38 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by prickly View Post
 

This doesn't really make sense. A lot of the resorts you've grouped together are nowhere near each other. The Dolomites are, broadly, near Austria; Aosta is near France/western Switzerland. Tonale, Livigno and Madesimo are in the middle. I know from experience that the Val d'Aosta has a totally different weather system than we do and (luckily, as they get d**k for snow) so does the Dolomites.
 

 

The local weather patterns may certainly vary to some extend and at a given time but the overall scheme is still valid. If you monitor snowfall perdictions and general flow patterns you very likely find exactly that. That's why you have years with higher precipitation either on the northern or southers side of the Alps depending on prevailing overall flow patterns and it's really nothing new. When southerly flow is dominating a season then you can count on a low snow year in the northern Alps and vice versa. Same with others, upon a westerly flow the French resorts usually get nuked on.

 

That said where variation is somewhat higher is along the high alpine main rigde (Cham-Courmayeur, Cervinia-Zermatt ect.) which are tougher to predict.

post #39 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by goranmilos View Post

This is interesting and informative read:

http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/top-10s/

Thanks for the link. 

post #40 of 41
Quote:
What I meant was where is there consistently larger amounts of snow in Europe. As in, where can we book a weeks holiday and expect to have a good chance of there being snow. 

If you mean new snow, fresh powder, there is NEVER a high expectation of that for an advance booked trip to a resort other than Hokkaido in January/early February.  http://50.87.144.177/~bestsnow/pwdrpct.htm .   The ONLY way to raise those odds substantially is by short notice storm chasing, as posters above have noted.

Quote:
Sadly there's no Antonio Crochiere on this side of the pond to give us a hand. 

Actually there is, and goranmilos has already posted a link to http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/ .    I have corresponded with Fraser Wilkin, operator of that website.  I have not gotten the full exchange of data that I would like, but Fraser has greatly increased my understanding of snow/weather in the Alps.   I suggest that anyone planning to ski the Alps read this: http://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather-snow/the-snow-quality-equation/  .

 

The mindset for powder skiing is different in the Alps.  Skiing during storms is frustrating with the visibility and it would be foolhardy to venture off-piste.  After one Braille day at Andermatt, I didn't bother to ski at all the next 2 days of an ongoing storm. The good news is that the competition for powder is less at many areas, as I experienced on the Parsenn last January and another First Tracks poster even more so at Ischgl.  It is also worth researching and hiring guides to get the best of the off-piste, as I did for 3 days at St. Anton on the same trip.

 

I believe Fraser when he says relevant snow stats are harder to come by in the Alps than in North America.  There are lots of weather stations in resort towns, but that's not too helpful for where you're skiing 3,000+ feet higher.  Above treeline it's hard to measure snowfall reliably, so it's easier to get snowfall in the middle of ski terrain here in North America where the tree line is so much higher. One that I did find was 347 inches Nov-Apr at Andermatt's midstation.  Fraser and others say Zurs and Warth-Schrocken get a bit over 400 but I've not seen independent data confirming that.   For the entire calendar year Andermatt averages 426 inches, an unusual extra amount of snow during the off months, so naturally the question arises whether that is also true for those Austrian snow leaders.

 

At any rate, I also believe Fraser is correct when he says altitude/exposure matter more in the Alps and snowfall less vs. North America.   If you're way off-piste with guides 3-4 days after a storm, it's important that altitude/exposure/shelter preserve the powder.  Val d'Isere exemplifies many of these issues.  It averages a modest 231 inches Nov-Apr, but that measurement is from the base.   But Fraser is high on it because :

Quote:
L'Espace Killy is often regarded as having the most reliable snow in the Alps, primarily due to the extent of high altitude skiing (60% of its 300km of slopes are above 2500m). 

Edited by Tony Crocker - 11/23/13 at 4:32pm
post #41 of 41
Thread Starter 
So, Christmas spent in Canada just an hour from Revelstoke. 35cms in one night, then another 25, then 10 and 15. I think the 7 day total was over a metre. Such tree skiing bliss.
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