Latest snow report
Updated: 11.45am Thursday 26 January 2017
Snow conditions in the Alps remain pretty good on-piste. However, we do have to remind ourselves that, in most cases, snow depths remain way below where they should for late January, and that lots more snow is needed if we are to avoid problems in low resorts later in the season.
For now, the relative cold has meant that there has been lots of enjoyable skiing in the Alps, especially if you are happy to stay on the beaten track. The off-piste situation is less straightforward though. There is still some powder at altitude in the northern Alps, but you will need a lot of patience and a good guide to find it.
The weather in the Alps is starting to change, but only very slowly, starting with a little snow here and there in the southern French and western Italian Alps over the next few days.
Snow levels across the pond are generally excellent, and even close to or actually record-breaking for the time of year in parts of Utah and California…
On-piste snow conditions remain very good across most of Austria, helped by the recent cold weather. Obergurgl currently has 35/120cm of settled snow, while Saalbach has 60/100cm.
Good off-piste opportunities are more limited, but still possible in some areas (e.g. the Arlberg) with the help of a good guide.
No snow is forecast over the next few days and it will start to turn milder.
There is still plenty of good skiing to be had in the French Alps, especially on-piste. However, good off-piste opportunities are increasingly hard to come by and require both altitude and a good guide.
The best natural snow cover remains in the high resorts close to the Italian border, from about Val d’Isère (75/125cm) southwards, including Val Cenis (40/245cm) and Montgenèvre (110/220cm).
Further north, resorts such as Megève (40/110cm) and Les Gets (35/75cm) are doing fine (on-piste) for now, but require much more snow to alleviate potential problems later in the season.
A little new snow is possible over the weekend, but mostly in the south.
Central and eastern Italian resorts are still heavily reliant on artificial snow. On-piste, however, skiing conditions have been pretty good in the Dolomiti Superski area, where over 1100km of runs are open on a meagre 10-40cm base.
The best natural snow cover can be found in the western Italian Alps, with 30/150cm of settled snow in La Thuile and 35/170cm in Champoluc.
Some new snow is forecast in the west over the next few days, but only in modest quantities - except for the far south-west (e.g. Limone), where a significant fall is possible.
Swiss resorts have been enjoying some excellent piste skiing this week, thanks to sunny skies and low temperatures. However, good off-piste opportunities are increasingly hard to find and more snow would be welcome, especially lower down. Saas-Fee currently has base depths of 18/145cm, while Wengen has 30/45cm.
No significant snowfall is expected over the next few days and it will start to turn that bit milder.
Rest of Europe
Snow conditions remain good across much of the Pyrenees, especially in the east. Andorra had a top-up of snow on Monday, and there is now a settled base of 80/140cm in Soldeu. Spain’s Baqueira Beret is also in good shape with 140/180cm.
Bulgarian ski resorts haven’t seen any snow for a week but remain in very good condition, especially on-piste, with snow depths of 130/155cm depending on altitude in Borovets.
Most Scandinavian resorts have also been dry in recent days, though Sweden’s Åre (65cm mid-mountain base) saw a few cm of snow on Monday. In Norway, Geilo has base depths of 40/70cm.
There was some very limited skiing at the Lecht in Scotland earlier in the week, but sadly this is no longer possible, which means that all five main Scottish ski areas are currently closed for skiing.
Snow conditions are generally excellent across the western US. A particular highlight right now is Utah, where Alta’s mid-mountain base has reached 307cm following nearly a metre of new snow in the last week.
The weather has now calmed down in California, though Mammoth is claiming its snowiest January on record with upper base depths of 736cm.
Western Canadian resorts have generally only seen bits and pieces of light snow over the last week. However, snow conditions remain good by most standards, especially on-piste.
Whistler currently has 220cm of snow packed down on its upper slopes, while Fernie has 175cm.
Next full snow report will be on Monday 30 January 2017,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates