Austria conjures up images of quaint ski lodges; Trapp Family Singers on the mountaintops, pristine white snow and superb skiing, but before you plan a trip, be sure to read an Austria snow report. Better yet, take the time to examine snow reports from the past five years, and you will see a definite pattern. Like most of Europe, Austria has experienced unpredictable weather patterns which have resulted in meager snow conditions.
Snow in Austria
It's January of 2010, and most of the websites that offer reliable, European snow reports do not have good news. Snow in Austria is significantly absent. Most Austrian resorts have had zero to two inches of snow within the past 72 hours, and the snow base is quite limited. This is not a new situation. Austria has been studying climate change and its effect on the ski industry since 1999. Research performed in 2003 at the University of Zurich suggests that climate change over the next 30 to 50 years may have a negative impact on the Austrian ski industry.
Considerations for an Austrian Ski Vacation
These unfortunate weather facts, while disturbing, do not mean that Austria should be removed from your list of must-ski destinations. Snow making capabilities can have a significant influence on snow conditions.
Snow Making at Austrian Resorts
Technology, in the form of advanced snow making equipment, has come to the rescue of many Austrian ski resorts. An article in the August to November, 2008 edition of Mountain Research and Development describes the snow making plans of Austria, for the 2007 ski season. That year, the Tyrolean ski industry apparently invested 80 million dollars in snow making equipment. Pitztal, for example, is located in a valley in Austria's Tyrol region. The resort recently adapted an Israeli technology, known as an "all weather snow maker." This device is capable of making snow even in warmer temperatures, or when there has not been any natural precipitation. If you are not adverse to man-made snow, you don't need to read a snow report before visiting.
Altitude and Snow Conditions
The Snow Gods favor high altitude resorts. As such, low-altitude Austrian resorts such as Kitzbuhel, Soll, Zell and See are often snow deprived. Read a snow report before visiting. In contrast, the Arlberg resorts are at a somewhat higher altitude, which may produce snow conditions that are more favorable.
The Problem with Interpreting Snow Reports
The ski resorts of Austria, just like the ski resorts at any other part of the world, rely on skier visits for their income. While nobody would actually lie about ski conditions, they may be prone to exaggeration. This is why the resort website is the worst place to look for an Austria snow report. Instead, look for an independent site that is not in the pocket of the resorts.
Where to Find an Unbiased Austria Snow Report
There are many websites that specialize in accurate and reliable ski reports. Many of these sites combine local weather forecasts with actual skier and snowboarder experiences. Here are some of the most popular snow prediction websites: