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Best snow conditions ever?

Snow conditions this year have been bountiful. This week The Telegraph went to print claiming the best ski season yet. With 15 weeks of winter still ahead of us it’s a bold claim to make. We took a look at their vital statistics.

Snowfall figures so far show that most of the Alps have received up to four times more snow than normal for mid-January. Apparently resorts haven’t seen anything as dramatic since 1999 and even then it wasn’t until mid-February’99 that records were broken.

Even if it doesn’t snow again between now and Easter 2012, even if temperatures soared to the levels we saw last year during spring, the higher altitude resorts such as Avoriaz and Chamonix could still survive on the snow cover they already have. This is all great news for residents and holiday makers alike – and a timely boost for all those landlords with alpines rental properties to fill.

But is any of this really record breaking? Well apparently it’s the speed at which the weather changed that got The Telegraph in a tizz. And on that point I am inclined to agree. Autumn 2011 was the driest and the mildest in the Alps for 148 years. Switzerland reported that temperatures had not been as persistently high at altitude since November 1864 which, to put into context, was when the American Civil War was at its height.

On the last day of November’11 I called friends in Morzine and was informed that they were all sat in the garden – having a BBQ. No blankets and scarves needed. They had sun lotion and bikinis. Even by the first week of December, with no snow in sight, I was about to cancel by pre-Christmas skiing trip, if only to spare the underside of my skis, still scarred from the snowless season of 2010 / 2011.

And then it started, a few flakes here, a heavy grey cloud there, and before you could say pain au chocolate the whole of the Alps, French, Swiss, Austrian and Northern Italian were under meters and meters of snow. And still it falls, which probably does make it the best start to a European ski season in more than a generation.

But the weather has kept us on our toes in recent years. Last year the biggest snowfall in the first six months of 2011 arrived in June. In the last week of April the French Alps were hotter than the Med. People sat by pools and played golf in the mountains as others skied by on the remnants of pistes.

There are few constants in the mountains, even fewer with the climate but one thing remains the same – the draw of the beautiful French Alps. Rain, Shine, Snow, Sun, people are eternally drawn to these magnificent mountains. Whether you are looking for a chalet with a pool or a chalet with a piste, or perhaps a chalet with both, Alpine Angels will help you find it. All our current listings can be found here

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