Latest snow report
Updated: 3.20pm Thursday 9 March 2017
There has been a huge amount of snow in some parts of the Alps this week but that does not necessarily mean that conditions are uniformly good. Milder air and rain is back in the mix, which means that snow quality is still variable.
The highest snowfall totals in the last week have been at altitude in the French and western Swiss Alps, where resorts such as Val d’Isère, La Rosière, Chamonix, Flaine, Avoriaz and Verbier have seen between 100cm and 150cm above 2000m. The least snow in recent days has been in the south-eastern Alps (e.g. the Dolomites).
Today (Thursday) it is snowing across the northern and eastern Alps, but only at altitude – above 1500-2000m in the Swiss Alps, and 1100-1600m in the Austrian Alps – meaning that there is rain at resort level in resorts such as Engelberg, Laax, St Anton, Kitzbühel and Saalbach, to name just a few. With one or two exceptions, the southern Alps (i.e. Italy) will miss the worse of the weather today, as will the far west (i.e. France).
Temperatures in the Alps will continue to fluctuate over the next few days, but it will never be particularly cold which means that reasonable altitude is needed if you want to find consistently wintry snow conditions.
Across the pond, snow conditions remain much more favourable across most western US and Canadian resorts…
It’s snowing in Austria above about 1100-1600m today, but raining lower down. Freezing levels will drop a little overnight but, generally speaking, you need to stay quite high over the next few days if you want to experience consistently wintry snow conditions.
Obergurgl (45/175cm) and Obertauern (110/170cm) are two good bets right now. However, lower down, you can expect more variable snow quality in the likes of Söll (45/65cm).
Most French ski resorts have seen huge amounts of snow fall in the last week, especially the higher ones. However, it has now turned milder, which means that snow quality is still variable, especially lower down. Note that the off-piste also remains highly unstable and dangerous in many regions, especially (but not exclusively) in the north.
Chamonix now has base depths of 60/300cm depending on altitude, with powdery snow at altitude but heavier snow conditions closer to resort level. Over the next few days, to find the most consistently “wintry” snow you will need to be in a resort where nearly all the skiing is above 2000m, such as Tignes (140/270cm) or Val Thorens (180/275cm).
Snow conditions are pretty good in most Italian ski resorts right now. It has turned milder today, but at least they have avoided much of the rain which is affecting the lower resorts further north.
Courmayeur now has very respectable base depths of 75/165cm, while Livigno has 65/115cm. Further east, natural snow cover remains well below par in the Dolomites but, on-piste at least, there is still lots of enjoyable skiing to be had in the likes of Selva (20/45cm).
Most Swiss ski resorts have seen a lot of snow in the last week. However, the milder weather today means that some rain has also fallen low down, especially in the northern and eastern Swiss Alps.
Conditions in resorts such as Engelberg (20/190cm) are very mixed right now, with powder up high and wet snow lower down.
It will turn a bit colder again tomorrow but for the most consistently wintry snow conditions you need to be in a resort offering plenty of terrain above 2200m, such as Zermatt (20/220cm) and Saas-Fee (35/220cm).
Rest of Europe
The Pyrenees still have plenty of snow although mild weather means that the quality is often spring-like lower down. Andorra’s Pas de la Casa currently has base depths of 120/170cm, while Spain’s Baqueira Beret has 110/200cm.
Four of the Scotland’s five main ski areas are partially open with base depths of 20/35cm now at Glencoe.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria's Bansko (70/150cm) has at least seen some fresh snow (10cm) after an extended period of dry weather.
A little snow has also freshened things up in Norway’s Geilo, where mid-mountain base depths are 70cm.
Generally speaking, snow conditions in the western US remain far superior to those in the Alps.
Wyoming’s Jackson Hole continues its vintage season, with base depths of 260/380cm and more snow falling both today and tomorrow.
Utah’s Alta (342cm mid-mountain) is another great bet, though it will remain mostly fine here over the next few days.
Whistler (292cm upper mountain) is in great shape following 80cm of snow in the last seven days and plenty more forecast this weekend.
There has also been snow further inland, though generally in more modest quantities. Fernie now has upper base depths of 298cm, while Revelstoke has 246cm.
Next full snow report will be on Monday 13 March 2017,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates