Latest snow report
Updated: 9.25pm Monday 11 January 2016
Snow conditions are highly variable in the Alps right now and, given the wild weather we are currently experiencing, also continually evolving.
We have seen a lot of new snow at altitude in the west over the last few days, particularly in the northern French and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Tignes, Crans Montana). However, it hasn’t been cold until now, which means that rain has also been a nuisance below 2000m (e.g. Morzine, Adelboden).
Other parts of the Alps have also seen bits and pieces of snow, but with the relatively mild temperatures, the snow pack is still very thin low down. The good news is that the temperature is now dropping and it will stay relatively cold for some time. There will also be further snow, heaviest in the northern and western Alps, where it will fall to increasingly low altitudes.
Snow conditions should therefore be excellent in many (though still not all) parts of the Alps once this current storm cycle comes to an end.
Before we get there, though, there are going to be some testing conditions out there on the mountains, with poor visibility and high winds making skiing and boarding unpleasant at times. Avalanche danger off-piste will also be high, even very high in the north-western Alps, where the heaviest snow has been falling.
Across the pond, snow conditions remain far more consistent…
Snow depths in Austria remain considerably below par in all areas, although there have been bits and pieces of snow over the last few days, with plenty more forecast this week.
It will also start turning colder, meaning an improving picture in most areas, even if concerns linger over the meagre bases of low resorts in the northern and eastern Austrian Alps.
In the west, Lech has 55/65cm of settled snow depending on altitude. Further east, and lower down, Zell-am-See has just 0/35cm.
There has been a lot of snow at altitude in French resorts over the last few days, but also plenty of rain lower down. The good news is that it is now turning colder, so even the lowest resorts will benefit from the current stormy weather.
Val d’Isère currently has 85/160cm of settled snow at altitude, with a lot more to come.
At the time of writing, Morzine (5/60cm) still had next to nothing low down, but conditions will now improve rapidly with snow expected at all levels on Tuesday.
It has been a slow start to the season in much of Italy, but conditions are now improving with new snow in many resorts. The best conditions are currently in the far north-west, with significant dumps in the likes of Courmayeur (40/125cm) and Cervinia (70/230cm).
Further east, snowfalls have generally been lighter, but it certainly looks much more wintry in the Dolomites now than it did before the New Year. Arabba currently has 20/45cm of settled snow depending on altitude.
The northern and western Swiss Alps have seen a lot of snow at altitude over the last couple of days, but also some rain lower down. Other parts of the country have also seen at least a little snow high up, including the Engadin (St Moritz), which has suffered its least snowy start to the season on record.
So it’s an improving picture over the next few days, with colder temperatures and fresh snow for most parts, heaviest in the north and west. Right now the resorts of the Val d’Anniviers (Zinal, Grimentz) are skiing as well as anywhere, with 50/110cm of settled snow depending on altitude.
Further north, Wengen (5/60cm) has been suffering from the rain, but will now improve rapidly with fresh snow forecast to low levels.
Rest of Europe
Snow conditions in the Pyrenees are just about OK, but hardly outstanding, with reasonable cover at altitude and even a little fresh snow in places. Soldeu (Andorra) has base depths of 25/60cm, while Baqueira Beret has 45/85cm.
It’s a broadly similar picture in Bulgaria, with 50/65cm of snow in Bansko, but a lot of snow is forecast here in the next few days.
Up in Scandinavia, Hemsedal is as good a bet as anywhere, with mid-mountain base depths of 75cm and significant new snow expected over the next few days.
Snow conditions remain good to excellent across the western US.
Both Vail (94cm mid-mountain base) in Colorado, and Utah’s Alta (144cm mid-mountain base) have benefited from recent flurries, with some heavier snow in the forecast for this week.
The resorts of western Canada are also in great shape, with Whistler (156cm mid-mountain base) offering the freshest conditions this week.
Further east, snowfalls are forecast to be more modest in Banff/Lake Louise (82/100cm) but, on-piste at least, skiing conditions remain excellent throughout the area.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 14 January 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates