2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

Re: 2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:25 am

Zermatt's snow stats are misleading as they are from town at 5,400 feet. Based about a decade of annual stats, Cervinia averages 200 inches at its 6,700 foot base, 285 inches at 8,400 feet and 330 inches at 11,400 feet. Cervinia faces west so I asked Fraser of weather-to-ski if Zermatt was drier than Cervinia at altitude and he thought not.

There's no question Zermatt like Banff is blocked out by numerous other mountains from prevailing NW storms. But it gets decent snow from due west and a lot of snow from Mediterranean storms. The Aosta NW corner of Italy (Sestriere, La Thuile, Courmayeur, Cervinia, the Monterosa, etc.) does fairly well for snowfall. As you move east in Italy toward the Dolomites it gets much drier. Cervinia has the reputation of most reliable ski resort in Italy, and it had 2x average and the most resort level snow in the Alps in 2017-18: 400 inches at 6,700 feet and 700+ up on the glacier shared with Zermatt.

Zermatt is best visited late season because its prime Hohtalli/Stockhorn terrain is very rocky and takes a lot of snow to get covered. Also Zermatt's altitude/latitude/exposure profile might be the best in the world for a large scale resort. So any snow it gets tends to stick around for a long time, at least above 7,000 feet. The 3 main lifts from town (Gornergrat train, Furi gondola and Sunnega funicular) can all be downloaded at the end of the day at full capacity.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Postby jamesdeluxe » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:42 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Zermatt's snow stats are misleading as they are from town at 5,400 feet.

An important point ^^ for North Americans to keep in mind -- the posted annual snow stats from the majority of ski areas are taken at or near the base. Makes no sense to our mindset, nor does measuring the size of ski areas by the length of marked trails, discussed five years ago in the Pistegate thread.
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Re: 2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:21 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:An important point ^^ for North Americans to keep in mind -- the posted annual snow stats from the majority of ski areas are taken at or near the base. Makes no sense to our mindset, nor does measuring the size of ski areas by the length of marked trails, discussed five years ago in the Pistegate thread.

Collectively Fraser's snow data from 42 ski areas in the Alps is measured on average 35% of the way from base to top of lift service. Collectively my snow data from 95 ski areas in North America is measured on average 51% of the way from base to top of lift service.

But at the individual area level the distortion is worse. It's hard to measure accurately above tree line, especially with wind exposure. There are a handful of areas in North America that have to measure low for this reason like A-Basin and Mt. Bachelor. Many North American areas with above tree line terrain can still measure at or a bit above mid elevation like Alta and Whistler.

But in the Alps the most reliable and marquee areas tend to be high with the vast majority of terrain above tree line, often like Zermatt with no measurements other than at resort level.

Val d'Isere averages 230 inches at 6,080 feet, only 4% into its lift served elevation range. Tignes average 285 inches at 6,888 feet, 29% into its lift served elevation range. Among the huge Tarentaise resorts there is but one high altitude station, Saulire which at 8,856 feet is 97% into Courchevel's elevation range and averages 327 inches.

There is broad consensus that Val D'Isere/Tignes is snowier than Trois Vallees, and the average ski elevation is 8,300 feet. So it's safe to say mid-mountain Val D'Isere/Tignes snowfall is at least 325 and probably well over 350 in the snowiest Fornet sector near the Italian border. But there is no hard data to support that logic at one of the most famous ski complexes in the world, rated by Fraser and others as THE most reliable snow in the Alps.

In this context Warth-Schrocken's 419 inch average at 5,400 feet, 32% into its lift served elevation range, is quite impressive.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Postby sierra_cement » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:36 am

Great information. Thanks, Tony and James for sharing. One would never know about this stuff based on articles written in ski publications.

While I have your attention, is there a book or data source for EU/Latin America similar to Tony's write-up and data for N. America? I have checked www.weathertoski.co.uk, but it doesn't have the type of summary that Tony provides. It's kind of difficult to read about each individual area and connect the dots yourself.
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Re: 2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:03 pm

http://www.wheretoskiandsnowboard.com/resorts/

Their books were more detailed than this website. The book was published annually until 2016. They are going to publish more detailed books by country, starting with France and Austria.

My personal experience in the Alps is barely reaching the point that I could consider adding some info to my website. But the format would need to be different due to the sketchy level of snow data and Fraser's valid point that snowfall is not necessarily the key driver of snow conditions in the Alps. I always refer skiers inquiring about the Alps to this page. https://www.weathertoski.co.uk/weather- ... -equation/
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Re: 2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Postby sierra_cement » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:28 pm

Thanks, Tony. That page is fantastic. Similar to your family ski trip page.

I bought the book for Austria. Austria/Switzerland is probably easier for English speakers so I left out the book on France.

A different author has published one for Switzerland.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1389055175
Kindle edition is only $4 so worth a try as well.
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Re: 2019-20 Season Passes, A-Basin Switch to Ikon

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:14 pm

There are tons of Brits in French ski resorts. Language is no issue there.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
 
Posts: 10172
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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