Latest snow report
Updated: 8pm Thursday 4 February 2016
Snow conditions have been highly variable in the Alps this week, but have tended to improve over the last couple of days, thanks to a big drop in temperature and plenty of new snow - the heaviest of which has been (and still is) falling in the north.
Last Sunday we saw rain falling to well over 2000m in many northern and western parts of the Alps, which had a seriously impact on snow quality at lower altitudes. The weather improved on Monday and Tuesday, but it wasn’t until Wednesday that the exceptionally mild air was pushed away by a cold front moving down from the north.
Since then we have seen significant snow across the northern half the Alps and, although there have only been bits and pieces further south, we are expecting more widespread snow across the Alps on Sunday and into next week.
Temperatures will fluctuate again, but at altitude there is the potential for some really big snowfall totals in the run up to half term.
Across the pond the best snow conditions are currently in Colorado, where lots of new snow has fallen this week…
Most Austrian resorts have seen new snow in the last 24 hours, with further heavy snow falling in places this evening.
The notoriously snowy Austrian Arlberg area is doing as well as anywhere right now, with base depths of 120/170cm in Lech, and nearly 200cm up top in St Anton.
Lower down, Söll (50/60cm) is also skiing well, though more snow is still needed to alleviate problems later in the season.
The far south of Austria is also still way below par, with just 25/45cm of mostly artificial snow in Bad Kleinkirchheim, for example.
The northern French Alps saw lots of snow yesterday, and there are further (albeit more modest) top-ups in progress this evening.
Conditions in high resorts such as Les Arcs (115/210cm) are therefore excellent right now. Lower down, the pistes are much improved in Les Gets (45/100cm), but more snow would still be welcome to improve confidence for the second half of the season.
With one or two exceptions, like Serre Chevalier (20/115cm), the southern French Alps have seen very little snow this year, with resorts such as Risoul (40/60cm) still heavily dependent on an artificial base.
The good news is that significant fresh snow is expected in both the northern and southern French Alps later this weekend and early next week.
Some Italian resorts have seen new snow this week, but not all. Generally speaking, the snow hasn’t fallen here in the same quantities as it has further north.
The Dolomites, for example, have seen about 5-15cm of new snow, enough to freshen things up in Arabba (22/38cm), but still not that killer dump they are looking for to really ignite their season.
The best natural snow cover remains in the far north-west where base depths are 75/160cm in Courmayeur and 50/210cm in Cervinia.
Significant snowfall is expected in most Italian resorts later this weekend and into next week.
All Swiss resorts have seen snow this week. The heaviest snow has been in the north, where even low resorts such as Grindelwald (20/160cm) and Villars (30/125cm) are in superb shape right now.
Best of all, however, is Engelberg where over 60cm of new snow has fallen since yesterday and the upper base is 340cm, the deepest in the Alps.
By contrast, St Moritz (25/50cm) has seen relatively little snow this season, but on-piste at least conditions are still much improved.
Rest of Europe
There hasn’t been much in the way of new snow in the Pyrenees this week, but there is hope for more during the course of next week. Andorra’s Soldeu currently has below par piste depths of 35/60cm, while Spain’s Baqueira Beret is in better shape with 65/115cm.
Over in Bulgaria, a dusting of new snow has freshened up pistes in Bansko (65/100cm), while in Norway, Voss has an impressive 150cm up top thanks to several snowfalls over the last week.
Colorado resorts have seen lots of snow in the last week which means excellent top to bottom snow conditions in both Vail (160cm mid-mountain) and Steamboat (170cm mid-mountain).
Over in California, the weather may be settling down for a while, but Mammoth still has some of the highest snowfall figures in North America with 266/419cm of settled snow depending on altitude.
Whistler has plenty of snow (208cm mid-mountain) with more forecast tonight/tomorrow, at least at altitude where snow conditions are excellent. However, fluctuating temperatures do mean that the snow will be wet at times near to base.
Further inland, it has been that bit colder which means more consistent top to bottom conditions in Lake Louise (95/125cm), but here too it will turn very mild at times next week.
Next full snow report will be on Monday 8 February 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates