Latest snow report
Updated: 9.45am Saturday 25 February 2023
Snow depths in the Alps are almost universally below average for the time of year – extremely so in many central and western regions, especially at lower altitudes. There is still plenty of enjoyable skiing on offer, on-piste at least, though the lack of any significant snowfall in many resorts for some weeks now does mean that concern is growing as to how things will pan out over the next few weeks, especially with the strengthening sun.
Austria is currently in the best shape of the four main Alpine countries, height for height, with good cover in most resorts, even the lower ones, on north-facing slopes at least. Some Austrian resorts also saw fresh snow last night with as much as 20cm falling in the Arlberg.
Elsewhere in the Alps, natural snow cover is patchy lower down, sometimes even at quite high altitudes. Zermatt, for instance, has no natural snow at resort level and is largely green to 2000m or higher on unmanaged south-facing slopes. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still find some reasonable on-piste skiing here.
Outside of Austria, the best natural snow cover at lower altitudes is to be found close to the southern-French Italian border (e.g Milky Way, Isola 2000).
On the whole, as we head into March, you want to be aiming high. February will end on a chilly note, and it should stay on the cold side for the first part of March, but any snowfalls are still likely to be quite localised with no really widespread heavy snowfalls likely any time soon.
Meanwhile, across the pond, Californian resorts are getting another pounding…
Austria has had more regular snowfalls and colder temperatures than the other major Alpine countries in recent weeks leaving it with the best overall snow conditions in the Alps right now. There was also further snow in places last night, especially across the northern half of the Austrian Alps.
Lech (70/140cm), for example, has about 20cm of fresh snow and is skiing as well as anywhere right now. Further east, Obertauern (70/110cm) is also in great shape and is a good bet for later in the season.
Lower down, Söll (30/75cm) has more modest snow depths but also received a top-up overnight, meaning that, in the short term at least, conditions are rather good.
Some French resorts had a few centimetres of new snow at altitude this week but, in general, there has not been any significant new snow in the French Alps for some weeks now. This is starting to tell in the lower resorts such as Les Gets (30/80cm) where, although there is still some reasonable piste skiing on offer, natural snow is now patchy lower down.
For better overall conditions you need to aim for resorts with plenty of terrain over 1800-2000m, such as Courchevel (90/145cm) or Tignes (90/270cm), though even here the pistes are hard and icy in places.
Not much snow is expected across the French Alps over the next few days except in some resorts close to the southern French/Italian border, where a ‘Retour d’Est’ is likely to deliver a moderate fall on Sunday in resorts such as Montgenèvre (200/270cm), Val Cenis (40/100cm), Isola 2000 (100/130cm), and possibly even Val d’Isère (70/120cm).
Snow depths remain modest across most of the Italian Alps, especially in central-northern and north-western areas, where the Monte Rosa region has just 15/70cm of settled snow depending on altitude and Pila has 35/50cm. That doesn’t mean you can’t find some perfectly adequate piste skiing, but natural snow cover is patchy lower down and off-piste opportunities are limited.
Snow depths are better closer to the French border, with 40/160cm in La Thuile and 40/110cm in Sestriere. Over on the other side of the Italian Alps you can also find good piste skiing in the Dolomites, with 30/75cm in Alta Badia, but more snow would be certainly be welcome.
As for the forecast, some useful snow is expected in the south-western Italian Alps on Sunday (e.g. Milky Way) but, for most regions, we are not expecting anything significant anytime soon.
The central and southern Swiss Alps have experienced the worst of this season’s snow drought, including resorts such as Zermatt (5/75cm), Andermatt (20/65cm) and St Moritz (30/50cm). All are fortunately high enough to still be able to offer plenty of piste-skiing, but natural snow cover is very patchy at low altitudes.
For the best conditions you need to head to the higher resorts of the northern and north-eastern Swiss Alps such as Klosters (27/105cm), where there were a few centimetres of new snow last night.
Some other northern Swiss resorts such as Engelberg (0/90cm) and Mürren (40/140cm) have also seen a little top-up, but no widespread heavy snow is forecast for the Swiss resorts any time soon.
Rest of Europe
Some parts of the Pyrenees have benefited from fresh snow over the past few days, the heaviest falling on the north-western side, with as much as 50cm in Gourette (70/150cm) in France. Further east, the snow wasn’t generally as heavy but there was still 25cm of new snow in Spain’s Baqueira Beret (105/150cm) where conditions are looking excellent right now.
Up in Scandinavia, the best conditions are still to be found in Norway, where there is ample snow in most resorts with the most impressive base depths being in Voss (135/170cm), not far from Bergen. Snow depths are generally more modest in Sweden, but you can still find some good piste skiing in Åre (35/55cm).
The news is not as good in Scotland where there is no longer sufficient snow coverage to allow proper skiing in any of the areas, with just a few limited beginner areas open thanks to artificial snow.
The big story in the US is the huge storm underway in California, which is delivering yet more heavy snow to the likes of Mammoth where upper base depths, already at 6.2m, may approach 7m early next week.
Snow is also forecast further east over the next few days (and into next week) in both Utah and Colorado, albeit in less extreme quantities. Mid-mountain base depths are currently 305cm in Snowbird and 177cm in Vail.
Extreme low temperatures are the main headline in the resorts of western Canada right now. Earlier this morning it was around -30°C in Jasper (even lower with windchill) where base depths are currently 110cm mid-mountain. Even near the coast, in Whistler (213cm mid-mountain), it was -22°C.
The next few days will see temperatures turn a little milder, and fresh snow is expected in most western Canadian resorts, with up to 30cm in Whistler by the end of the weekend.
Our next full snow report will be on
Saturday 4 March 2023
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