Latest snow report
Updated: 5.45pm Thursday 12 January 2017
Snow conditions have been steadily improving in the north-western Alps this week and will continue to do so over the next couple of days with the arrival of a major “winter” storm.
By Saturday this storm will deliver between 35cm and 70 cm of new snow (locally 1m or more) to resorts roughly north of a line from Grenoble in the west to St Anton in the east. This includes Alpe d’Huez, the 3 Valleys, the Paradiski, L’Espace Killy, the Grand Massif, Chamonix, the Portes du Soleil, Verbier, Villars, the Jungfrau region, Engelberg, Lech and St Anton.
Needless to say, this will transform the situation in the north-western Alps, a region which has endured another very slow start to the ski season. Further east, the rest of Austria (away from the far south) is already in good nick but some new snow over the next few days will further improve conditions.
The southern Alps - including Italy, the southern French Alps (south of Grenoble), the far south of Austria and some parts of central-southern Switzerland - are, with some exceptions, still heavily reliant on artificial snow. However, this doesn't mean that there isn’t still some perfectly enjoyable skiing to be had – you only have to look at the Dolomiti Superski region to see how effective snow-making can be. However, off-piste opportunities remain very limited and more snow would be very welcome.
Meanwhile, across the pond, there have been some staggering quantities of snow falling – even leading to the closure of some resorts...
Snow conditions remain good across most of Austria (away from the far south) thanks to multiple snowfalls over the last couple of weeks or so.
In the Arlberg region most runs are now open, though you still need to be careful off-piste. Lech has 55/90cm of settled snow depending on altitude, while St Anton has 30/105cm.
Great skiing can also be found in the lower resorts further east, such as Söll (50/60cm), even if snow depths remain relatively modest for mid-January.
Further snowfall and very cold temperatures are expected across most of the Austrian Alps over the next few days.
Snow conditions have been improving in the northern French Alps though, generally speaking, snow depths remain below par and off-piste opportunities are limited.
Avoriaz currently has 40/50cm of settled snow depending on altitude, while Flaine has 15/90cm, but expect these numbers to increase dramatically with the heavy snow forecast over the next couple of days.
For now, the deepest snow in the French Alps remains at altitude in resorts close to the Italian border, from about Val d’Isère/Tignes (28/130cm) southwards, including Val Cenis (20/220cm) and Montgenèvre (90/200cm).
Italian ski resorts have missed most of the recent snow and, with the odd exception, will continue to only see bits and pieces over the next few days.
The deepest snow cover remains at altitude in the west, including the likes of Cervinia (30/120cm), Pila (20/200cm) and Sestriere (50/140cm).
However, most Italian resorts are heavily reliant on artificial snow, including the Dolomiti Superski area (e.g. Val Gardena, Alta Badia, Kronplatz, Cortina), where over 1000km of runs are open on an upper base of just 30-40cm.
Snow conditions have been slowly improving (on-piste at least) in Switzerland, with several small snowfalls this week and much heavier snow expected over the next couple of days, especially over the northern Swiss Alps where resorts such as Villars (20/40cm), Wengen (20/45cm) and Engelberg (20/50cm) will be transformed by the weekend.
Ironically Zermatt (0/115cm) and Saas-Fee (15/125cm), which were offering the best snow conditions for much of November and December, now have very little snow on their lower slopes. However, new snow will also improve things here, even if it won’t be as heavy as further north.
Rest of Europe
New snow has improved conditions in the Pyrenees this week, with lots more in the forecast. Andorra’s Soldeu currently has 40/60cm of settled snow depending on altitude, while Spain’s Baqueira Beret has 25/50cm, though snow depths will increase in both these resorts over the next few days.
Snow conditions are excellent in Bulgaria right now thanks to recent storms and very cold temperatures. Borovets now has 130/155cm of snow depending on altitude, with more snow forecast over the next few days.
Scandinavian resorts have generally seen less snow in recent days, but skiing conditions remain perfectly reasonable in both Norway’s Geilo (40/70cm) and Sweden’s Åre (60cm mid-mountain base).
There is still insufficient snow for lift-served skiing in Scotland.
Most western US resorts have seen huge snowfalls in the last week. The heaviest of all has been in California, where over 3m has fallen at altitude in Mammoth (305/580cm) over the last 10 days or so.
Colorado has also done exceptionally well, with several resorts including Crested Butte (229cm mid-mountain depth) forced into temporary closure for safety reasons. Elsewhere, resorts such as Utah’s Alta (208cm mid-mountain base) and Wyoming’s Jackson Hole (147/223cm) have also seen plenty of snow.
More snow is forecast right across the resorts of the western US in the next few days.
The resorts of western Canada haven’t seen as much snow as those in the western US. However, conditions remain very good in most areas.
Around 10cm fell in the Banff/Lake Louise area yesterday, where there is currently 99/155cm of settled snow. Further west, Whistler currently has 190cm mid-mountain.
Next full snow report will be on Monday 16 January 2017,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates