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European Ski Resorts struggle to Clear this Season’s Historically High Snowpack (still up to 40 feet in places)

Europe’s historically high snowfall this past season, initially a godsend to the continent’s ski resorts, is now proving a serious headache for clearing crews as the peak summer months draw ever-closer. Snowpacks of almost 40 feet (12 m) are still being reported in some parts.

The majority of resorts across Europe ended the season with monster snow totals.

French resorts boasted snow 10 feet (3 m) deep at the end of April, when official measurements ceased due to the areas closing. While in Italy, resorts extended their seasons into May, thanks to rare late-season flurries.

Swiss resorts were hit by some of their most dramatic snowstorms in history, and at the end of April, Engelberg had the deepest snow in the Alps, with 23 feet (7 m) sitting upon its Titlis glacier, which also remained open until the end of May.

Resorts in Austria recorded their most powder in 30 years, resulting in a number of fatalities. The nation’s Stubai glacier is actually still open today, June 07, with the snow on its slopes holding strong at 22 feet (6.6 m) deep.

Access roads remain closed across Europe’s mountainous and glacial regions, even after months of clearing work, meaning activities usually popular at this time of year, like cycling and hiking, just aren’t taking place.

Parts of the Gran San Bernardo Pass, which links Valais in Switzerland to the Aosta Valley in Italy, were buried under almost 40 feet (12 m) of snow.

“Due to the extreme snow conditions, persistent bad weather and a high risk of avalanches, the glacier road cannot be opened for public transport,” read a recent statement from Austria’s Sölden resort.

Furthermore, organisers of the popular Giro d’Italia bicycle race decided to cut the climb up Gavia Pass from the race because of the “dangers presented by remaining ice and snow”.

And it’s been a similar story across the Pond in the United States, where resorts are celebrating an historic year for visitor numbers, clocking 59 million, thanks to the record snowpack.

A number of resorts, including Arapahoe Basin, Sqauw Valley and Mammoth Mountain, have extended their seasons into the summer months, breaking records. Many access roads are still being cleared in the US, too — the Independence Pass, near Aspen, opened over a week late due to avalanches and a deep snowpack.

For a more in-depth look at Europe’s monster snow totals, from the Telegraph, click here.

Snowpacks are once again building, as the sun enters its next Grand Solar Minimum cycle:


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