Latest snow report
Updated: 3.30pm Thursday 23 March 2017
Snow conditions in the Alps are extremely variable right now. At altitude in the south-western Alps there is some fresh snow in places, with more to come over the next couple of days.
Areas that are - or will soon be - benefiting (at altitude) include Zermatt, Cervinia, Saas-Fee, the Monte Rosa region, Val d’Isère, Val Cenis and Sestriere. However, with a relatively high rain/snow limit, it might not always be apparent from resort level that there is very much fresh snow.
At lower altitudes, snow conditions are generally poor thanks to the mild weather. You can still find some reasonable piste skiing at times, particularly where there has been a good overnight refreeze, but the thaw continues apace and consistent snow quality is hard to find.
Across the pond, snow is set to make a return to many western US resorts, though not in the same quantities as we saw earlier in the season.
Snow conditions are generally very spring-like across the Austrian ski resorts, with many of the lower valleys now green. That said, there is still plenty of piste skiing on offer in the likes of Söll (40cm upper base) and Saalbach (55cm upper base) - you just need to prepare for heavy snow consistency, especially later in the day.
For better snow quality you need to aim for high resorts with plenty of terrain above 2200m, such as Obergurgl (30/130cm) and Ischgl (0/110cm).
Snow conditions are very mixed in France right now. In low altitude resorts, such as Morzine (5/100cm), natural snow cover is now very patchy lower down and there is a distinct “end of season” feel, despite most of the lifts and runs still being open.
For better coverage and snow quality you should ideally be in a resort with plenty of terrain above 2200m, such as Val Thorens (110/205cm) and Val d’Isère (85/205cm).
Natural snow cover is now quite patchy low down, especially in the Dolomites where only the incredible snow-making earlier in the season is allowing many resorts to still offer extensive skiing. Selva now has upper snow depths of just 30cm, while Cortina has 50cm.
The higher resorts of the west, such as Cervinia (20/150cm) and La Thuile (20/220cm), have better natural snow cover, with further falls likely over the next couple of days.
Spring-snow conditions have been the order of the day this week in Switzerland, especially lower down, where you can expect the going to be heavy (in the afternoons at least) in the likes of Villars (5/125cm) and Grindelwald (0/155cm).
For more consistent snow quality you need to aim high. Zermatt (5/155cm) and Saas-Fee (20/200cm) are both offering plenty of skiing above 2500m, and are expecting snow over the next few days.
Rest of Europe
Snow is forecast in many Pyrenean resorts over the next couple of days, the heaviest due to fall on Friday. This will improve conditions in the likes of Soldeu (80/120cm) and Baqueira Beret (110/200cm), although snow depths here are already respectable for late March.
Over in Norway, most resorts have seen at least a little snow in the last week – with 68cm in the western resort of Voss, for example, where base depths are a healthy 75/155cm depending on altitude.
Three Scottish ski resorts have been able to partially open their areas, though snow depths remain modest – with just 10/25cm in Cairngorm, for example.
The weather has turned more unsettled again with snow expected across many western US resorts over the next few days, especially at altitude. Breckenridge currently has 147cm of settled snow mid-mountain, while Snowbird has 299cm.
The deepest cover remains in California, however, where Mammoth claims an upper base of 838cm.
It’s been snowing again in Whistler, with more forecast over the next couple of days. Needless to say, conditions are impressive for the time of year, with upper mountain base depths of 323cm.
Snow conditions are also very good further inland, where the Banff/Lake Louise area has 164/224cm of settled snow depending on altitude.
Next full snow report will be on Monday 27 March 2017,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates