Latest snow report
Updated: 3.30pm Monday 29 February 2016
Most (but not all) southern parts of the Alps have seen significant snowfall this weekend, heaviest in the Italian Piedmont (e.g. Alagna, Prato Nevoso), as well as some of the high border areas between Italy and Switzerland (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee), and Italy and France (e.g. Bonneval-sur-Arc in the Maurienne, and Ristolas in the Queyras). These areas have seen between 70cm and 120cm of new snow at altitude (locally 150cm in the southern Piedmont) in the last 48 to 72 hours.
There has been significant snow in many other southern Alpine regions, even if snowfall totals have generally been a little more modest - 20-50cm in the Dolomites, for example. Only parts of the southern French Alps (e.g. Serre Chevalier) might feel a bit hard done by given all the “big southern storm” talk, having seen only a modest few cm here.
As expected, the northern Alps also largely missed out, having been under the influence of the Foehn. They will be making up for it over the coming days, however, with lots of snow in the forecast, especially from mid-week onwards.
So, to sum up, the very best conditions in the Alps are now in Italy (especially in the Piedmont), at least if it’s fresh snow you are after. Things are now looking good for later in the season, across the Alps, especially as it will turn colder this week with further snow in many parts.
Across the pond, any snowfalls have been more modest, but generally conditions remain good...
Snow conditions are quite mixed across the Austrian Alps right now. The far south saw significant snow at the weekend, and snow showers are beginning to spread further north today. Nassfeld (close to the Italian border) has 60cm of new snow, and upper base depths of 230cm.
Further north and west, Lech has (until now) missed most of the snow, but is still in excellent shape with 100/175cm. Some lower resorts in the central and northern Austrian Alps, such as Seefeld (15/45cm), are quite patchy low down, but should improve again this week with snow in the forecast.
Only a handful of French ski resorts saw significant snowfalls over the weekend, mostly those close to the Italian border, from Val d’Isère southwards.
Val d’Isère (175/300cm) itself is in fabulous shape, with 55cm of new snow over the last 48hrs at resort level and close to 1m on the Pissaillas glacier. Needless to say, the avalanche danger off-piste is now extreme.
Away from the Italian border, and in in the northern Alps more generally, there was much less snow, though on the whole snow conditions remain good.
Only at very low altitude are there any serious issues with cover, but resorts such as Morzine (5/90cm) can look forward to an increasingly cold and snowy week ahead.
Most Italian ski resorts saw significant snowfall over the weekend, and it’s still snowing in places today. The greatest snowfall totals have been in the Italian Piedmont, with 150cm of new snow in Prato Nevoso (140/180cm), south of Sestriere.
The Dolomites also have plenty of new snow (20-50cm), which means that snow depths are finally somewhere near normal after their very dry early season. Arabba now has base depths of 40/110cm, while Cortina has 30/120cm.
There is lots of fresh snow in the southern Swiss Alps. Zermatt (50/250cm) and Saas-Fee (40/360cm) both have around 1m at altitude, and conditions will be fantastic once the weather settles down.
The northern Swiss Alps missed most of the weekend action, but their turn will come this week, especially mid-week, with significant snow forecast to fall to increasingly low levels. Right now Engelberg has 30/350cm of settled snow, while Mürren has 75/300cm.
Rest of Europe
The Pyrenees have new snow in varying quantities. The biggest falls have been on the southern side, where Spain’s Formigal (80/165cm) has 60cm, compared with 15-20cm further north in Andorra’s Soldeu (50/100cm).
In Bulgaria, some resorts have seen a dusting, but the drought continues in Bansko (50/100cm) where there hasn’t been any snow since the middle of January.
There hasn’t been much snow in Norway this week either, at least in the better known resorts further south. That said, snow conditions are holding up nicely in Hemsedal (120cm mid-mountain) with snow in the forecast this week.
There is also plenty of snow in Scotland, with excellent skiing conditions in Glencoe (60/120cm) when the weather allows.
Colorado is expecting a dusting of snow later today, especially in the northern resorts. There will also be further light falls at times this week, which will keep conditions fresh. Right now Vail has a mid-mountain base of 142cm, while Breckenridge has 147cm.
In Utah the situation is broadly similar. Snowbird (216cm upper mountain) hasn’t seen a huge amount of snow recently, but there are a couple of dustings forecast over the next few days. Whilst welcome though, these will not radically alter the off-piste.
Meanwhile in California, the mini snow drought continues in Mammoth (266/419cm), where despite its excellent early season, conditions are now spring-like.
Whistler (268cm mid-mountain base) is just about to enter a snowy spell of weather, with over 50cm expected at altitude this week. However, it will more often fall as rain at resort level.
Further inland, conditions are steady rather than spectacular in the Banff/Lake Louise (113/145cm) area, with no more than a dusting of snow expected over the next few days.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 3 March 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates