Latest snow report
Updated: 3.30pm Tuesday 21 March 2017
Snow conditions in the Alps remain very mixed following an extended period of mild weather. Snow is forecast this week, especially later in the week, with significant falls possible in some higher central-southern and south-western parts of the Alps, such as Andermatt, Madesimo, Monte Rosa, Zermatt and Sestriere. It will never be particularly cold, however, which means that conditions will continue to deteriorate at low altitude.
In short, if you are looking for dry, grippy snow, you really need to be in a resort with plenty of terrain above 2200-2500m. Lower down the going will often be “heavy”, especially in the afternoons.
Across the pond, many western US resorts have seen mild weather, while western Canada has had significant snow, especially in Alberta (e.g. Lake Louise)...
Snow conditions are quite poor low down thanks to the extended period of mild weather, which included some rain over the weekend. Söll (35/45cm) can still offer plenty of piste-skiing, but the going is heavy and natural snow cover now very patchy at low altitude.
For better snow quality you need to head higher, to the likes of Sölden (20/280cm) or Obergurgl (40/160cm), where there is plenty of skiing above 2400m, but even here off-piste opportunities are quite limited.
Some snow is forecast over the next few days, but only really at high altitude in the south/south-west, in resorts such as Hintertux and Obergurgl.
Spring snow conditions are prevalent right now, with only the highest ski areas able to offer consistently firm pistes for most of the day.
Examples of some of the best areas on offer include Val Thorens (115/210cm), Tignes (90/210cm) and Les 2 Alpes (40/180cm), all of which have plenty of skiing above 2500m. However, lower resorts such as Les Gets (30/110cm) are struggling with the heavy snow consistency.
Some snow is forecast over the next few days but most of it will fall in the higher resorts close to the Italian border, such as Val d’Isère, Val Cenis and Valfréjus.
Snow conditions are largely spring-like across the Italian resorts right now, with little or no natural snow left at low altitude in the east (i.e. Dolomites). That said, there is still plenty of piste skiing available in the likes of Selva (10/30cm) and Cortina (15/50cm) thanks to the largely artificial base laid down earlier in the season.
The central and western Italian resorts generally have better coverage, with base depths of 70/210cm in Madesimo and 20/150cm in Cervinia. These higher central and western resorts will also see significant new snow this week.
Snow conditions are decidedly spring-like across most of Switzerland, and natural snow cover is now patchy at low altitude. Champéry (10/140cm) and Adelboden (0/90cm) are typical of this, with “heavy” snow consistency at most altitudes.
For drier, gripper snow, you really need to find a resort with plenty of terrain above 2500m, such as Zermatt (5/165cm) or Saas-Fee (20/205cm). These resorts, with their proximity to the Italian border, are also expecting significant snowfall over the next few days.
Some other parts of the country will also see some snow (at altitude), but not in nearly the same quantities as in the far south.
Rest of Europe
There is still plenty of snow across higher parts of the Pyrenees though it has also been mild here, which means that spring conditions prevail. Andorra’s Soldeu has base depths of 80/120cm, while Spain’s Baqueira Beret has 90/180cm.
Most Norwegian resorts are in good shape following recent snow, including Lillehammer where base depths are currently 55/105cm.
Skiing in Scotland remains very limited - only Cairngorm was (partially) open on Monday- but heavy snow showers are forecast over the next few days which could mean more options by the weekend.
There has been little if any new snow in the western US over the last week.
Generally speaking, snow cover remains impressive in most areas, but mild temperatures have meant spring snow conditions, especially at lower altitudes.
Breckenridge now has 147cm of snow packed down on its upper mountain, while Snowbird has 302cm. Both resorts are forecast snow later in the week.
Banff/Lake Louise have seen lots of new snow in the last few days and report fabulous conditions for late March, with settled snow depths of 173/247cm depending on altitude.
There is also plenty of snow further west in Whistler (310cm upper base), with more to come over the coming days, though it will occasionally turn to rain lower down.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 23 March 2017,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates