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Zermatt (and Cervinia) 2017/18

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sorry if I haven't posted that link properly, but you'll get the idea from these snippets from the site:

"The Zermatt snowfall record is impressive. One of the great appeals of early season skiing (or skiing at any time) here is the reliable snow.Skiers often dismiss the start of the season saying the snow isn’t good enough and that during the festive period the slopes are too busy.

"Zermatt has over 350km of piste which means that it never feels crowded even during peak holiday times, plus it has great early season snow. In this article we look at historical snow depths to show how good skiing in December can be.

"The Average Snow Depth in Early-December is 159cm

"If you’re thinking about a December ski trip, but to spend Christmas at home then you can rely on Zermatt for early season snow.

"The snow depth in Zermatt at the beginning of the season (on the upper slopes) has averaged 159cm over that last 8 years."
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
https://www.matterhornchalets.com/2016/10/18/zermatt-snowfall-snow-record/

mitcva wrote:
Quote:

Base depth records are readily available as are historic snow falls - if you are wanting to book early and are willing to take a chance, at least look at these before you go

I take your point and, as I said, I am pretty sure Zermatt will be fine for my own requirements when I visit soon, as I am strictly on-piste. However, the resort does feature in several "best for early season" league tables, which may mislead some into thinking it tends to have off-piste skiing at that time of year..

And then there is this https://www.matterhornchalets.com/2016/10/18/zermatt-snowfall-snow-record/
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@PaulC1984,

I did research Zermatt's climate and terrain. I am an experienced skier and a hobbiest meteorologist.

I had a short time to decide and a small window in early December to ski. I wanted to go to a beautiful part of the world that I had never been to before and I'm glad I made the decision I did.

I didn't moan about Zermatt. I just expressed what I saw and what I learned, possibility for the benefit of others. I knew Zermatt was not typically a prime off-piste destination. And I knew it doesn't usually shine early season. What I didn't fully appreciate before was how relatively dry Zermatt can be compared to ski areas to its west, north, east, and sometimes southeast. When you book early skiing in advance, it's a roll of the dice. I'm fully aware of that. You just hope to get lucky with a good storm cycle and maybe run into some powder. What surprised me was that nearly the whole of the Alps were impacted with a month long cycle of storm after storm and yet Zermatt was still dry as a bone with brown grass and rock half way up to the summits. My expectations for early season skiing are always low. I'm usually just happy to be on my skis in the mountains. The frustration comes when Austria, which is much closer and cheaper for me, is getting hammered with snow. Even much of the rest of Switzerland has been much snowier than Zermatt. Finding reliable information on historical climate data is hard enough. But even when I found what I was looking for, it didn't tell me just how much Zermatt can suffer while other nearby resorts are getting the goods. That was not easy to figure out in advance.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
The very high average altitude of its north facing runs mean that the snow does not normally melt once it has fallen.

A problem in terms of natural snowfall is that it is sheltered by the 23 4000m peaks that surround it although presumably that also means generally better visibility for skiing ?

The very rocky nature of virtually all its runs and its altitude mean that it needs quite a lot of snow to open up and the snow can be blown off. Presumably it scores well as an early season resort because of the size of its glacier.

I think I read somewhere that the Trifti bumps don't usually open before February.

However it is a superb place to go in April when everything is likely to be open except perhaps the very lowest runs.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
My tuppence worth...

To be fair, I think the early season record typically talked about mostly refers to the ability in a "normal" year to get a fair amount of piste kms open, due to the altitude, glacier and fairly comprehensive snowmaking. It's fair to say some of what's written in magazines etc is ill informed or exaggeration, however consensus definitely points to the fact that much of the off piste in zermatt needs a decent base to have built up, hence later in the season being a better bet for that sort of thing.

There's also the vagaries of the early season weather year on year.

If it's coming from the N/NW as it has mostly this year, austria and northern switzerland are the place to be. However, last year a sustained current from the south ensured zermatt, champoluc et al got pasted whereas this years lucky resorts were mostly relying on artificial strips of snow to stay open. Roll of the dice...

I've been to the area 7 times, 3 of those were wall to wall sunshine, 3 almost non-stop snowfall. One was a perfect mix of the two. March/April are the best I've found for the big off piste itineraries, some of which (Schwarztor, longer descents from above stockhorn etc) are some of the longest and best in the alps.

I hope you go back someday and give it a bash with better conditions!
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Snow now falling nicely in Zermatt and on the mountain. Forcast from pretty much all quarters is for a further 6days snowHead
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
The first round of snow was largely a miss. Looks like a coating to perhaps a few cms. The Gornergratsee and Alp Hermetje weather stations are reporting 0cm new snow. This was more of the same, with the Zermatt valley largely blocked from the precipitation.

Fortunately there should be another round later today. Hopefully there is some sort of associated frontal boundary that penetrates further south and creates some lift right over the area. Otherwise there might only be light precipitation again with significant downsloping.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Good burst of snow overnight. Looks like 10-20 cms on the mountain. Not sure about in town, webcams look like at least several cms. It wasn't a dumping, but it is welcomed. The next one might have more Atlantic moisture and more southerly component to the upper level flow.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Very cold in Zermatt up on the high mountain today, approaching -30c.

Town still needs more snow. Looking a bit bare.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Another snowy day. The town looks better with a fresh snow cover. Building the base little by little. It is kind of amazing though that Gornergratsee weather station is reporting 7cm on the day while stations 20km west are reporting 40 - 60cm with heavy snow continuing. I wonder if the Gornergratsee station is in a sheltered location or if the wind is scouring the snow away. There's a lot of moisture (and wind) surging in from the SW. I hope Zermatt/Cervinia can get into some of the really good stuff for a while.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
altaski8 wrote:
Another snowy day. The town looks better with a fresh snow cover. Building the base little by little. It is kind of amazing though that Gornergratsee weather station is reporting 7cm on the day while stations 20km west are reporting 40 - 60cm with heavy snow continuing. I wonder if the Gornergratsee station is in a sheltered location or if the wind is scouring the snow away. There's a lot of moisture (and wind) surging in from the SW. I hope Zermatt/Cervinia can get into some of the really good stuff for a while.


Possibly. It has been very windy today. I never take any notice of those measurements. The webcams have been showing snow pounding away all day and the ski area is looking very good.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
According to the main website, hardly anything on the mountain is open at the moment. Just two or three pistes, with another handful listed as "in preparation." High winds/poor visibility, perhaps? Doesn't seem to have been all that much snow overnight.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
It's saying 126 km/h wind at Rothorn - the webcam shows some roof panels flapping quite a bit!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Ah, that explains it! I am there on Friday.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Maybe a good day for a slow cosy ride on the Gornergratbahn...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Radar and webcams showed a good pounding of snow. It all looks windblown at present but once the wind stops that won't be a problem - we don't ski on the roofs and the snow will all be there to be enjoyed. Can't believe I am not out there until 27 December this year after last year's poor start.

Anyway while our thoughts are still on the season start, here is a quick opportunity to turn minds to long sunny days and skiing deep snow on the itineraries and off piste in April. The lineup has been announced for Zermatt unplugged:

Quote:

Kodaline will open the 11th Zermatt Unplugged on April 10, 2018. The Irish alternative rock band is currently working on their third studio album and had canceled all concerts in Europe on short notice. Zermatt, however, stands. Like Kodaline, other world stars will not pass up the appearance at the beautiful festival in the Swiss mountains. Zermatt Unplugged 2018 could be called in good conscience the festival of powerful voices. And as a festival of great singers: Norah Jones, Emeli Sandé, Sarah Connor, Selah Sue and Jessie J are five great artists with unmistakable voices on the Zermatt stages. Also unique are the voices of Jack Savoretti and Jake Bugg, both of whom will per-form in Zermatt on Friday. With The Kooks comes a band to Zermatt that has inspired a whole generation of musicians. Mighty Oaks has a very special relationship with Switzerland. After their concert in Zurich fans in Switzerland quickly became their favorite audience. The main program of Zermatt Unplugged is completed with Hudson Taylor, Amber Run, Brett Dennen, Dabu Fantastic, Blanco White, and Fetsum and Wintershome, who will celebrate the release of their first album in front of their home audience.
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