Latest snow report
Updated: 7.45pm Monday 4 January 2016
Welcome to our latest detailed snow report for the Alps and beyond.
The main theme this New Year is that winter has returned to the Alps at last, albeit in varying degrees. The heaviest snow from the much anticipated storm cycle has been in the northern French, western Swiss and far western Austrian Alps. These regions have already seen 30-60cm of snow at altitude since Saturday, with more on its way over the next few days.
Most other parts of the Alps have also seen at least some snow, though for much of Italy (away from the far north-west), as well as the eastern Austrian Alps, quantities have been modest and much more is still needed to properly ignite the season. The same can be said at very low altitude in the north-western Alps, where some rain has meant that the base is still very sketchy below about 1500m.
A great deal of caution is still needed off-piste - partly because the avalanche danger has increased, especially at altitude in the snowier north-western Alps, but also because the base is still very thin (or non-existent) and there remain numerous hazards just beneath the snow’s surface.
The Austrian Vorarlberg has done best from the recent storms with at least 40cm of new snow in Lech (60/75cm) since Saturday.
Snowfalls have been more modest further east, but just about everywhere has now seen at least a few centimetres which, at the very least, has made the likes of Söll (15/30cm) feel more wintry, even if there is no natural base to speak of.
Most of the French Alps have seen some decent snowfalls in recent days, heaviest at altitude in the north where the likes of Tignes (60/100cm) and La Plagne (20/115cm) are now in great shape again.
That said, it has not been particularly cold, and below 1500m there is still lots of work to do. At the time of writing, Morzine (5/50cm), for example, still has no more than a dusting at resort level.
All Italian resorts have seen at least a little new snow, even the Dolomites, where it finally looks something like winter after one of the longest droughts on record. Selva now has a settled base of 20/30cm depending on altitude, while Madonna di Campiglio has 10/50cm.
By contrast, the far north-west has done pretty well from these storms, with plenty of fresh snow in La Thuile (35/70cm) and Cervinia (40/140cm).
Most Swiss resorts have seen significant snow in the last few days, with the heaviest falls in the west. Verbier now has 45/75cm of snow depending on altitude, while Crans Montana has 30/120cm.
That said, snow depths are still way below average for early January, especially in the south-east, where St Moritz (10/27cm) is enduring one of its driest ever starts to the season.
Rest of Europe
Some snow has been falling in the Pyrenees, albeit in very modest quantities compared to the Alps. Andorra’s Arcalis now has settled snow depths of 20/60cm, while Spain’s Baqueira Beret has 20/60cm.
Bulgaria also has some snow, with 40/60cm in Borovets and more in the forecast. Many of the big name Scandinavian resorts are also in good shape, with 64cm packed down mid-mountain in Norway’s Hemsedal and 40cm in Sweden’s Åre, both of which are also due more snow soon.
Snow conditions remain good in the western US, even if recent snowfalls have been lighter and more sporadic than they were through the middle part of December.
Mid-mountain snow depths are now 96cm in Vail (Colorado), 127cm in Snowbird (Utah) and 216cm in Mammoth (California), where significant snow will start up again this week.
Whistler hasn’t seen any new snow in the last week, but cover remains excellent with 165cm mid-mountain.
Snow conditions also remain excellent inland, even if most of the powder has now been tracked. Revelstoke has a mid-mountain base of 154cm, while Sun Peaks has 139cm.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 7 January 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates