19 / 12 / 2015
A mild start to the season.
I’m sure that those planning on coming out to Sestriere for Christmas or early new year have been keeping an eye on the snow forecast and so it won’t come as a surprise to learn that we have had a slow start to the season.
Temperatures all over Europe, not just the alpine region, have been way to high. A dominant high pressure has been in charge and it seems reluctant to relinquish it’s grip. As we approach the Christmas week, traditionally the busiest period of the season, we find ourselves reliant on artificial snow. This snow was produced during a brief cold spell that came and went all to quickly.
The Piedmont region has strict legislation which controls exactly what type of chemicals can be used in the cannons here in Sestriere and the neighbouring resorts. This essentially means that they cannot operate in higher than normal temperatures. Some resorts in other areas of the Alps can and have produced snow thanks to the additives they use. It’s a debate that will split opinion. Use potentially harmful chemicals that could easily end up in the water system or rely on mother nature?
So how bad is it and are we alone? The answer to the second question is no, we are not alone. Unless you go high, to places like Val Thorens, you will find a similar story with resorts struggling to get a handful of runs open. Even in these high resorts you can tell that the snow level is way below what it should be. I was in VT last week and did enjoy the skiing there, however whilst having lunch in a t-shirt I was reminded of late season Spring skiing.
Sestriere has managed to open a couple runs so we do have skiing. Links to other resorts remain closed and will remain closed until we get a significant amount of snow. Sauze d’Oulx currently has 1 lift open that takes you up to Sportinia where there is a beginners area and a red run open. Montegenvre, on the French side of the lift system, has 5 green runs, 4 blue and 2 red runs open.
The long term forecast (14 days) is for the mild stable conditions to remain. I honestly have no idea how long this will remain for. We are going into unchartered waters. I do remember the Olympic season, 2005/6, when we had another slow start. There were some extremely worried folk walking around Sestriere as the start of the Olympics got ever closer and there was not enough snow on the pistes. Just in time though the snow gods answered everyone’s prayers and we were blessed with fantastic conditions. It can all change in the blink of an eye so I’m remaining positive that the snow will come.
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