Latest snow report
Updated: 3pm Friday 17 March 2023
Snow conditions in the Alps are generally improved compared to this time last week, at altitude at least, thanks to significant snowfalls both last weekend and again on Tuesday.
The higher resorts of the western Alps such as Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Verbier, Chamonix, Val d’Isère, Tignes, Val Thorens, Les Arcs and La Plagne did best from these recent storms, with up to 1m or more of new snow falling above 2200m. Lower resorts such as Morzine, Megève, Villars and Wengen also saw improved conditions, but the benefits were more temporary with the strong March sun quickly melting much of the lower-lying fresh snow.
If you are planning a late season ski holiday in the Alps, it remains prudent to book in a resort with plenty of slopes above 2000m, such as Val d’Isère, Tignes, Val Thorens, La Plagne, Les Arcs (especially Arc 2000), Verbier, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Cervinia, Ischgl, Sölden and Obergurgl. This doesn’t mean that you won’t still find some good skiing in other resorts, but these are some of the ones that can offer the best extent of high-altitude skiing.
Across the pond, the seemingly endless storm cycles have now dumped more than 15m of snow over the course of this season in Mammoth, California…
On the whole, Austrian resorts didn’t see as much snow from the recent storms as those in France or even Switzerland. The one exception to this being the far west, where the Arlberg resorts of Lech (95/260cm) and St Anton (45/200cm) saw a lot of snow as recently as Tuesday and are skiing well right now, even if spring conditions are prevalent later in the day.
Further east, lower-lying Kitzbühel (5/95cm) and Saalbach (10/90cm) have lost much of their natural snow cover lower down but can also offer some enjoyable piste skiing, as long as you accept that the freeze-thaw cycle will be more pronounced at these altitudes.
For the most consistent snow quality you need to aim much higher, with Obergurgl (60/100cm) among the best of the entirely non-glacial resorts.
The higher French ski resorts are generally in good shape following the big snowfalls earlier this week, with settled snow depths of 140/190cm in Val Thorens and 15/300cm in La Plagne (though the 15cm refers to Montchavin at 1250m).
The situation is a bit more complicated in lower ski areas like the Portes du Soleil, where there is still plenty of snow in Avoriaz (100/340cm) but, over in Morzine/Les Gets (10/140cm), natural snow cover is patchier, and some lower runs are closed or hanging on by the ski of their teeth.
No significant new snow is expected in French ski resorts over the next week.
There is still some good piste-skiing on offer in the Italian Alps even if snow depths are generally way below average and natural snow cover is a bit patchy in places. The best conditions are either at high altitude in resorts such as Cervinia (100/200m) or in resorts in the far south-west such as Sestriere (30/110cm) which have seen the most snowfall this winter, relative to altitude.
Further east, the snowpack is very modest across most of the Dolomites but good management means that some decent piste-skiing is still on offer in resorts such as Arabba (10/40cm, or 135cm on the glacier).
Snow conditions are very mixed across the Swiss Alps. Big snowfalls earlier this week vastly improved conditions in the higher western resorts like Zermatt (15/140cm) and Verbier (40/160cm) but, lower down, any benefits were relatively temporary. Natural snow cover remains very patchy at low altitude in the likes of Leysin (30/70cm) and Adelboden (5/70cm).
Less snow fell further east in the likes of St Moritz (30/50cm) and Arosa (40/60cm), where snow depths remain considerably below par. However, thanks to high altitude, snow conditions are still relatively consistent here, on-piste at least.
Rest of Europe
Natural snow cover is a bit patchy lower down in Andorra but there are no problems with good spring-skiing on-piste in Soldeu where settled snow depths are 30/85cm depending on altitude.
Scotland continues to struggle, with only its eastern resorts offering any skiing right now, the best of which is at Cairngorm (20cm upper base) where a handful of runs are open, weather-permitting.
Up in Scandinavia there is no problem with snow cover in the Norwegian resorts, where Hemsedal (110cm upper base) is just one of several resorts that have enjoyed an excellent season. They are also expecting a dusting of new snow today, and a lot more later next week.
Californian resorts are taking a breather between storm cycles, but Mammoth (775cm upper base) has seen more than 15m of snow fall up top this season already, with yet more on the way early next week. It is possible that that operations will remain open here until August!
Utah is the other stand-out state this winter, with great conditions continuing in Snowbird where the mid-mountain base is 375cm deep.
In the last week, a further 50cm has fallen at altitude in Whistler where the upper base is a healthy 242cm. Further light flurries are likely early next week but will not amount to much.
Some light snow has freshened up the pistes further inland in Fernie (238cm upper base), and there is a bit more snow in the forecast, especially around the middle of next week.
Our next full snow report will be on
Friday 24 March 2023
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