Latest snow report
Updated: 8pm Thursday 14 December 2017
Snow conditions in the Alps are generally excellent for the middle of December, with further snow forecast over the next few days, mostly across the north-western Alps.
What is really encouraging is that there really aren’t any major areas of weakness anymore. Not so long ago we were concerned about some central and western parts of the Italian Alps (e.g. Madesimo, Monte Rosa, Cervinia), but the situation is now much improved here. It’s the same story in the southern French Alps where huge snowfalls have transformed areas that until now had been somewhat struggling (e.g. Serre Chevalier, Pra-Loup).
The very best snow conditions in the Alps are now in the west and north-west, including most of France, the western and northern Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier, Mürren, Engelberg), and the far west of Austria (e.g. St Anton, Lech). The least favourable areas – though it is all relative and there is still plenty of good piste skiing to be had – are now the lower resorts of the Austrian Salzburgland and Tirol, such as Kitzbühel.
All in all it is a highly encouraging start to the 2017-18 Alpine ski season, especially in view of the recent run of exceptionally poor early seasons.
Across the pond, the drought continues in Colorado and Utah, but conditions remain excellent in western Canada.
It just keeps on snowing in the Arlberg, with truly fabulous early season conditions in both Lech (90/140cm) and St Anton (65/170cm).
In recent days there has been less snow further east, but the cover in Obertauern (140/170cm) and Obergurgl (78/195cm) is still very impressive.
The snow is a bit thinner in the lower resorts of the Salzburgland and northern Tirol (thanks to the recent Foehn) but the Ski Welt (20/125cm) still has 182km of pistes available with a mix of natural and man-made snow.
Some snow is forecast across Austrian resorts in the next few days, the heaviest of which will again fall in the Arlberg.
Snow conditions are generally excellent across the French Alps, even if there has been a little rain today across some of the lowest resorts (below 1200m) in the north.
La Plagne now has base depths of 40/240cm depending on altitude, while Avoriaz has 120/170cm. Further south, Serre Chevalier has 40/150cm.
Even the lowest areas, such as Megève (45/100cm), have good cover, with more snow in the forecast over the next couple of days.
Snow conditions are very favourable for mid-December across most of the Italian Alps.
In the west, where the snow had been looking a little bit thin until recently, Courmayeur (70/110cm) is now skiing magnificently thanks to huge recent dumps. It’s a similar story in Madesimo, in the central Italian Alps, where the snow pack is now a very impressive 110/180cm deep.
Further east, snow depths may seem more modest in the likes of Arabba (40/115cm but the skiing is also excellent here thanks to both the recent snowfall and the ski area’s world-class snow-making.
Snow cover is excellent just about everywhere in the Swiss Alps, but deepest in the north and west. In the north, Engelberg has lots of fresh snow and some incredible base depths of 20/360cm depending on altitude. Meanwhile, in the west, Verbier has a very impressive 110/140cm.
Even the lower resorts of the north and west have ample snow cover, with 20/160cm in Wengen and 40/100cm in Villars.
What’s more there is further snow in the forecast, especially across northern and western parts of the Swiss Alps.
Rest of Europe
New snow has allowed all the main Scottish ski areas to open up, with base depths of 40/60cm now in Glencoe.
The Pyrenees haven’t seen as much snow as the Alps recently, but cover is still reasonable in Andorra’s Soldeu (40/60cm) and even better in Spain’s Baqueira Beret (65/110cm), which remains the pick of the resorts in this part of the world.
There is also plenty of good skiing to be found in Scandinavia, with base depths of 45/130cm in Norway’s Voss and 56cm up top in Sweden’s Åre.
Utah and Colorado remain very short of snow with little sign of a reprieve before Christmas. Snowbird has just four lifts open on a mostly artificial base of 66cm, while Vail only has seven lifts open on a similarly man-made base of 46cm.
Better cover can be found further north in Jackson Hole (64/127cm) but even here there hasn’t been a significant dump for some time now.
Snow conditions remain more favourable in western Canada than in most of the western US.
All lifts are now open in the Banff/Lake Louise area where base depths are 76/119cm depending on altitude and, on-piste at least, the skiing is excellent.
Closer to the coast, Whistler (136cm upper mountain) also remains in good shape though the best conditions right now are also on-piste.
Our next full snow report will be on Monday 18 December 2017, but see Today in the Alps for regular updates