Latest snow report
Updated: 5.45pm Thursday 21 December 2017
Snow conditions have been excellent across most of the Alps this week, with the very best snow across the north-western Alps – i.e. roughly north of a line stretching from Grenoble to St Anton including resorts such as Val Thorens, Val d’Isère, Flaine, Avoriaz, Verbier, Mürren, Engelberg and Lech.
Other parts of the Alps, especially the south (e.g. Dolomites, Livigno, Milky Way), have missed out on the bulk of the recent storms but can still offer some excellent skiing, especially on-piste.
The weather in the Alps is now turning milder and there will even be some rain lower down in some eastern resorts (e.g. Kitzbühel) over the next day or two. This will make for more variable snow conditions across the Alps over Christmas, especially in the low Austrian resorts. However, we are expecting a new and significant storm cycle to start up again around 27 December. Watch this space!
Across the pond, the resorts of western Canada continue to offer better snow conditions than those in the western US…
Snow conditions remain good across most of the Austrian Alps, especially in the west where settled snow depths are 100/175cm in St Anton and 80/192cm in Obergurgl.
There is a slight fly in the ointment today for the lower resorts of the Tirol and the Salzburgland by way of some rain below 1000-1300m which will continue at times into tomorrow. However, this means fresh snow at altitude and the damage to the snow-pack in resorts such as Saalbach (60/105cm) and Söll (20/105cm) shouldn’t be too catastrophic.
Snow conditions have been excellent right across the French Alps this week. Weathertoski has been in Courchevel (105/130cm) where the snow quality was perfect at all levels with not a rock or patch of ice in sight.
The skiing has also been excellent in lower resorts, with base depths of 50/230cm in La Clusaz and 70/130cm in Les Gets, for example.
It will turn milder over the next few days though there is little if any precipitation in the forecast, so skiing conditions will remain good, especially on-piste.
Snow conditions remain pretty good across most of the Italian Alps even if there has, generally speaking, been less new snow here over the last week or two than further north.
Some of the best skiing is in the far west, where La Thuile has 110/195cm of snow depending on altitude, while Courmayeur has 80/120cm.
Over in the Dolomites snow cover is thinner with just 30/90cm in Alta Badia for instance, but here too there is plenty of good skiing thanks to a mixture of natural and (world class) artificial snow.
The weather is turning milder in Italy, as it is elsewhere in the Alps, but it should stay mostly dry over the next few days.
Snow conditions have been outstanding this week across most of Switzerland, especially in the north and west which have the deepest and freshest snow.
Engelberg (78/436cm) boasts the best stats in the Alps right now, but lots of other resorts are skiing equally well including Mürren (70/220cm) and Gstaad (60/250cm).
Further south there is less snow in Zermatt (10/110cm), where on-piste conditions are still excellent but the off-piste remains limited.
It will turn milder over the next few days with a little snow (and some low level rain) in the northern and eastern Swiss Alps, but any damage to the snow pack will be minimal.
Rest of Europe
Snow conditions in the Pyrenees remain reasonable rather than spectacular in most cases with base depths of 30/60cm in Andorra’s Soldeu and 50/70cm in France’s La Mongie. Spain’s Baqueira Beret (85/140cm) remains as good as anywhere in the Pyrenees but it is forecast to be mild over the next few days.
Over in Scandinavia, Sweden’s Åre (51cm upper slopes) is one of the most extensive options with most lifts now open. In Norway, Voss (40/135cm) and surrounding resorts continue to offer some of the best snow conditions with lots more snow in the forecast, especially next week.
It’s not such good news in Scotland, however, where several days of mild weather has melted most of the snow. At the time of writing, only the Lecht was still open, albeit on a very limited basis.
Fresh snow is improving conditions across some but not all western US resorts. Vail (46cm upper base), for example, is expected to catch around 30cm of new snow between now and Monday – great news in light of its disappointing season to date.
Over in Wyoming, Jackson Hole (139cm upper base) will also see some snow though they have had more favourable early season conditions here and don’t need it with quite the same urgency.
The same can’t be said about Utah, where Snowbird (69cm upper base) is still heavily reliant on artificial snow. 10-15cm is forecast before Christmas but not nearly enough to appeal to serious skiers.
Snow conditions in western Canada are generally very good with further light snow falling today in Whistler (168cm upper base) and another heavier fall forecast for Sunday.
Further inland, conditions are even better with 10-20cm of new snow across the Banff/Lake Louise area where the upper base is now 138cm.
Our next full snow report will be on Thursday 28 December 2017, but see Today in the Alps for regular updates