Latest snow report
Updated: 3.50pm Tuesday 15 March 2016
Snow conditions in the Alps remain very good for the middle of March, thanks to the relatively cold ambient temperatures (freezing levels have generally been between 1000m and 2000m in recent days), which are slowing the spring thaw.
We say ambient temperature because there are microclimates at play. For example, the temperature reached 16°C yesterday in the Valais thanks to a localised local Foehn effect. Anyone skiing in sunshine this week will also have felt the warmth of the strengthening spring sun, especially when out of the wind.
The fact of the matter, however, is that temperatures in the Alps have been below average for mid-March over the last few days, which is both slowing down the melting process and helping preserve the quality of the snow. Weathertoski was in Flaine yesterday, where the pistes on north-facing slopes above 1600m remained firm and grippy all day long.
What’s more, it looks set to remain cold in the Alps for much of this week. There is also some new snow in the forecast, the heaviest of which will fall in the Italian Piedmont (e.g. Milky Way) mid-week. All in all, things are looking pretty good as we approach the busy Easter period.
Across the pond there has been plenty of new snow in recent days, the heaviest of which has been in Whistler and parts of California…
It’s snowing to relatively low levels across the northern Austrian Alps today, which will help freshen up conditions in resorts such as Saalbach, where base depths are currently 50/80cm depending on altitude.
Generally speaking, however, the very best conditions in Austria are in the higher altitude ski resorts, such as Obertauern (150/180cm) and Obergurgl (37/204cm).
Conditions in French ski resorts are generally very good for mid-March, despite a lack of new snow over the last week.
Weathertoski has just returned from Flaine (150/375cm), where the pistes in the main bowl were still firm and grippy all day long, even if some of the sunnier outlying areas were softening up a little in the afternoon sun.
Further south, Serre Chevalier (30/170cm) is also in great shape though, like most French ski resorts, is unlikely to see any significant new snow over the coming days.
As everywhere else in the Alps, snow conditions in Italian ski resorts are pretty good for mid-March, despite the mostly dry weather over the last week or so. Arabba has a healthy 120/180cm of settled snow depending on altitude, while further west Courmayeur has 90/205cm.
Some snow is expected over the next few days, the heaviest of which will be in the Piedmont region, where current snow depths are 70/110cm in Sestriere, for example, and over half a metre of new snow is likely.
Snow conditions in Swiss ski resorts remain excellent for the time of year, with further light flurries in the north-east this afternoon.
The very best skiing can be found in the higher ski resorts, such as Zermatt (30/250cm) and Arosa (100/170cm). However, even lower resorts such as Wengen (25/120cm) are holding up superbly thanks to the relatively cold air that we are experiencing at the moment.
Bits and pieces of new snow are forecast over the next few days, with some heavier falls mid-week in the far south-west (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee).
Rest of Europe
Most Pyrenean resorts are still skiing well, with some of the best conditions in Spain’s Baqueira Beret where the base is 140/235cm deep.
Norway has been experiencing a recent mild spell. There is still plenty of snow in Hemsedal (135cm mid-mountain), but it is of spring-like consistency.
The same applies to Scotland where it has been very warm in Glencoe (40/100cm) with plenty of afternoon slush.
The weather feels more wintry in Bulgaria’s Bansko (65/100cm) this week, with lower temperatures and scattered flurries, which should improve conditions here after a fairly indifferent winter.
It has been snowing heavily in California again, with around 30cm of fresh yesterday in Mammoth where the upper base is now over 5m deep.
Colorado ski resorts have also seen significant snow, with 34cm in Winter Park (178cm mid-mountain) and 23cm in Breckenridge (165cm), for example, and plenty more in the forecast this week.
Whistler (375cm mid-mountain) has seen a massive 140cm of new snow on the upper half of its mountain over the last seven days, which means excellent conditions both on and off-piste.
Snowfalls have been a little more modest inland, but Sun Peaks (216/237cm) and Fernie (318cm upper mountain) are also both in great shape.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 17 March 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates