Latest snow report
Updated: 10.30am Tuesday 10 January 2017
Snow conditions have been improving across the northern half of the Alps over the last few days, and will continue to do so this week with more snow forecast – especially later in the week. However, it should be remembered that snow depths remain way below where they should be for early January and that few resorts are anything like close to being fully open.
Right now, the best snow conditions are in Austria (away from the far south) thanks to multiple recent snow falls. Resorts that have seen plenty of snow and are in pretty good shape right now include Lech, Ischgl, Saalbach, Kaprun and Kitzbühel. However, note that the off-piste situation remains complicated thanks to the windblown nature of the snow and, in some cases, the lack of a proper base. Always take an experienced guide!
Other northern parts of the Alps have seen improving conditions over the last few days, especially Switzerland (e.g. Wengen, Engelberg, Laax) though here too there isn’t really much of a base, so off-piste excursions need to be treated with extreme caution.
The extreme north of the French Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil) saw around 8-12cm of new snow on Saturday night but most French and Italian resorts have seen little more than a dusting over the weekend or, in some cases, nothing at all.
Further snow is expected this week with the northern half of the Alps again most favoured. It will be relatively light on Tuesday and Wednesday but more significant from Thursday onwards. Watch this space.
Meanwhile, across the pond, serious snowfalls are continuing in many western US resorts…
Conditions are generally good across Austria, on-piste at least, thanks to multiple recent snow-storms
Lech (65/95cm) is now about 80% open though the off-piste situation is still complicated and requires expert local knowledge. Further east, Saalbach (60/90cm) is also in good shape with cold, grippy snow and 91 of its 110 slopes open.
The one area that continues to struggle is the far south where resorts such as Nassfeld (20/50cm) are still heavily reliant on artificial snow.
Many northern French resorts have seen at least a little new snow over the last few days, with more falling today. This means that conditions are improving in the likes of Avoriaz (40/60cm), Flaine (15/80cm) and La Plagne (15/95cm), even if artificial snow is still playing an important role.
The best snow cover remains in the high resorts close to the Italian border, from Val d’Isère/Tignes (30/130cm) southwards, including Val Cenis (20/220cm) and Montgenèvre (90/200cm).
With one or two exceptions, most Italian ski resorts are still heavily reliant on artificial snow, including the Dolomiti Superski area where over 1000km of pistes are now open on an upper base of just 30-40cm.
The best snow cover is still in the higher resorts of the western Alps, such as Champoluc (15/150cm), Cervinia (30/150cm) and Sestriere (50/140cm). Note, however, that even here the base is still very thin below 1800-2000m.
Snow conditions have been improving across much of Switzerland over the last few days though snow depths remain considerably below par for early January across the board.
Wengen (20/50cm) and Klosters (22/70cm) both offer excellent on-piste snow quality right now, even if they are far from completely open. Off-piste opportunities, however, remain limited in most resorts.
Unlike earlier in the season it is now the far south that has the least snow, at least at low altitudes, with only patchy cover in and round Zermatt (60cm mid-mountain base), where you have to climb high today for it to look like mid-winter.
Rest of Europe
Snow cover remains below par in the Pyrenees though some snow is expected to improve conditions today. Andorra’s Soldeu (20/40cm) has been offering reasonable piste skiing at altitude but still awaits that killer dump needed to really ignite its season.
The news is better in Bulgaria where Borovets (130/155cm) has plenty of fresh snow, though it has been bitterly cold.
It has also been very cold in Scandinavia, especially further north where Sweden’s Åre (63cm mid-mountain base) has powdery snow conditions.
There is currently insufficient snow to operate any lift-served skiing in Scotland.
Californian resorts have been clocking up huge snowfall totals in recent days (with more forecast) though there has been some rain in the mix lower down. Mammoth (203/432cm) now has one of the highest upper bases in the world and it could soon surpass 500cm!
Snow conditions in Colorado are excellent right now with fresh snow and colder temperatures than in California. Upper bases are now 142cm in Winter Park and 154cm in Crested Butte.
Over in Wyoming, Jackson Hole (147/223cm) continues its excellent season. Utah resorts are also in great shape with around 2m up top in Snowbird and Alta.
After a relatively dry week, it is snowing again in Whistler (181cm mid-mountain base), which should freshen things up nicely both on and off-piste. Further inland Banff/Lake Louise (86/140cm) are also skiing well even if most of the off-piste is tracked out right now.
It will be very cold across all western Canadian resorts this week, especially inland.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 12 January 2017,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates