Latest snow report
Updated: 9.30pm Thursday 31 March 2016
March may have offered us some of the best snow conditions of the season, but spring has now hit the Alps hard. It comes courtesy of a blast of warm air from the south, which has sent freezing levels soaring to 3000m in some northern parts of the Alps. Temperatures even reached the mid-20°Cs this afternoon in the Foehn-affected valleys of the Austrian Tirol (i.e. Innsbruck).
Needless to say, snow conditions have deteriorated rapidly at low and medium altitude, not helped by the considerable cloud cover which, with some exceptions, has prevented a decent overnight refreeze. This cloud has also produced some patchy precipitation, especially in the southern and western Alps, with a relatively high rain/snow limit (close to 2000m).
There will be a slight cool down on Friday, but the weekend will be warm again, which means that you need a ski resort with plenty of high north-facing terrain if you want consistently good snow conditions over the next few days.
Meanwhile, the best snow conditions across the pond are currently in Utah and Colorado…
It was exceptionally warm in the central and northern Austrian Alps today due to the Foehn, which means very wet snow conditions for the likes of Söll, where snow cover is 30/50cm deep depending on altitude.
Glaciers aside, to stand any chance of finding any firm, wintry snow right now you need to aim for ski resorts with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2300m, such as Obergurgl (20/150cm) and Ischgl (10/90cm).
The warm, often cloudy weather is taking its toll on conditions in French ski resorts, particularly lower down, where the snow is disappearing rapidly from the likes of Megève (50/230cm) and La Clusaz (20/300cm).
For better (but still varied) snow conditions you need to stick to resorts with plenty of skiing above 2500m, such as Tignes (142/235cm) and Val Thorens (160/280cm).
Spring-snow conditions rule across most of the Italian Alps, with only the highest ski resorts like Cervinia (40/230cm) offering a more wintry flavour right now.
Further east, Bormio has 30/90cm of snow cover, while Alta Badia (which closes on Sunday) has 30/100cm.
Just like everywhere else in the Alps, it has turned much milder across Switzerland, especially in the Foehn affected central and northern valleys where temperatures climbed into the low 20°Cs today. Resorts such as Wengen (0/100cm) are now struggling with wet snow conditions.
For better snow quality you need to head to ski resorts with plenty of slopes above 2500m, such as Zermatt (10/25cm) and Saas-Fee (87/305cm).
Rest of Europe
Spring-snow conditions reign in the Pyrenees, despite good cover at altitude in both Baqueira Beret (110/205cm) and Pas de La Casa (40/110cm).
Snow cover is patchy in Scotland, with only limited skiing available at Cairngorm (5/30cm).
Conditions are better in Norway, as you would expect, despite no significant snow for some time. Hemsedal reports 100cm mid-mountain.
All eyes were on Utah earlier in the week, with 50cm of new snow in Snowbird (292cm mid-mountain), where there were additional flurries today.
It has also been snowing in Colorado today. Vail, for example, has 15cm of fresh and 173cm of snow packed down mid-mountain, with excellent conditions for the time of year.
Warm temperatures mean spring snow conditions in Whistler right now, despite a healthy upper mountain base of well over 3m.
Further inland, the Banff/Lake Louise area reports 110/147cm of settled snow, depending on altitude.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 7 April 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates