Latest snow report
Updated: 1pm Thursday 7 April 2016
Snow conditions in the Alps have taken a hammering over the last 10-12 days, thanks to the persistent south to south-westerly winds which have brought lots of warmth, cloud (meaning poor overnight refreezes) and even some Saharan sand!
Not surprisingly, the thaw has been rapid at low altitudes, especially on the northern side of the Alps where the Foehn wind has raised temperatures to above 20°C at times. As ever, it has still been possible to find some decent snow over the last few days, but only really above 2200m (preferably even higher than this), or in the few lucky areas where breaks in the cloud have allowed some decent overnight cooling.
Snow conditions will temporarily improve in many places in the Alps over the next few days as it turns colder and more unsettled from the north. However, it won’t last long, as warm air is set to return later in the weekend, lasting into next week...
Many lower Austrian ski resorts are already closed or threadbare. Kitzbühel (90cm upper base) is struggling on, but the snow quality is generally poor.
Glaciers aside, the best snow conditions are in ski resorts with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2200m, such as Obergurgl (10/125cm) or Ischgl (0/75cm).
New snow should temporarily improve conditions above 1500m or so over the next couple of days.
There is still lots of snow at high altitude in France, though cloudy weather has made conditions challenging over the last few days.
For the very best snow quality, you need to stick to ski resorts with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2200m, such as Tignes (95/175cm) and Val Thorens (140/260cm).
Lower down, lots of ski resorts are still at least partially open, but snow quality is generally poor in the likes of Megève (30/170cm) and Châtel (60/150cm).
It will turn colder with a modest top-up of snow over the next couple of days.
Italian ski resorts have suffered from the same mild and often cloudy conditions that have afflicted many other parts of the Alps over the last few days.
Generally speaking spring-snow conditions rule, but it is still possible to find some firmer snow at high altitude in the likes of Cervinia (30/215cm) and Passo Tonale (50/250cm).
Some heavy snow is expected at altitude in the eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Cortina) tomorrow.
Snow conditions remain on the poor side in most Swiss ski resorts, thanks to the recent mild weather and (in places) Foehn winds.
For the best snow quality you need to aim for the higher ski resorts, such as Zermatt (5/210cm) and Saas-Fee (75/300cm).
Lower down, there is still plenty open, but snow cover is patchier and snow quality far more spring-like in resorts such as Adelboden (0/40cm).
Rest of Europe
Many Pyrenean resorts saw a moderate fall of snow on Tuesday, and there is still decent snow cover in Andorra’s Soldeu (40/110) even if snow quality is variable.
You can also still ski in Bulgaria, with 0/160cm in Bansko where conditions are described as spring-like.
By contrast, it is cooler in Norway where Hemsedal (95cm mid-mountain) is expecting a few cm of new snow over the next 48 hours.
Scotland is still struggling though despite some fresh snow, with only patchy cover in Cairngorm (5/30cm).
Snow conditions are still generally pretty good across the western US, with 20cm of new snow yesterday in Breckenridge in Colorado, where the mid-mountain base is 185cm deep. It is set to get warmer though over the next few days.
Further west Utah’s Alta still has 256cm of snow at altitude, while California’s Mammoth has a whopping 510cm.
Whistler still has lots of snow, especially at altitude where the base is nearly 3m deep. However, it will be warm and sunny over the next few days, so expect spring-snow conditions.
Further east, the Banff/Lake Louise area (104/142cm) is also in pretty good shape for April.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 14 April 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates