Latest snow report
Updated: 6pm Thursday 9 January 2020
Snow conditions in the Alps remain pretty good for early January even if some of the lower slopes are now becoming worn or icy. This is hardly surprising given the lack of widespread significant snow in recent days (or weeks even) but, for your average skier, snow conditions remain good in most areas, and very good at altitude.
Except for a few centimetres of snow across some north-western fringes of the Alps tonight and tomorrow, there isn’t much snow in the forecast either, with no significant falls likely for at least 10 days or perhaps longer.
The lack of fresh snow isn’t usually too much of a problem at this time of year, as the low angle of the sun means that any snow melt is either non-existent or very slow, at least on-piste. However, there is the possibility of rain flirting with the northern fringes of the Alps during the middle of next week, which may pose more of a problem.
Across the pond, there has been a dramatic improvement in snow conditions in western Canada, particularly in Whistler…
Snow conditions generally remain pretty good across the Austrian Alps even if snow depths remain a bit thin at lower altitude here and there, especially in the north-west.
Close the German border, for example, Lermoos can still offer some reasonable piste skiing but base depths of 20/40cm are undeniably modest for early to mid-January.
For better all-round snow conditions, you will need to aim a bit higher and/or a bit further south. Obergurgl (90/175cm), close to the Italian border, and Obertauern (140/180cm), in the central Austrian Alps, are both in excellent shape.
There is still lots of good skiing to be had across the French Alps although some lower slopes close to the northern and western foothills are now a bit worn or patchy.
Morzine (5/150cm) has very thin cover close to resort level but has ample cover higher up, and even more in the higher, linked resort of Avoriaz (120/200cm).
Other high resorts such as Val d’Isère (100/225cm) and La Plagne (115/220cm) are also in good shape, as are areas further south such as Serre Chevalier (55/175cm).
Snow conditions remain good across virtually all Italian resorts.
The deepest snow is to be found in the higher resorts of the north-west, such as Cervinia (90/220) and La Thuile (50/240cm). However, snow cover is also excellent further east, where the Dolomite resort of Arabba has base depths of 105/165cm. Prato Nevoso (100/180cm), in the far south, is also doing well.
As there hasn’t been significant snow in the Italian Alps for some time, powder is now hard to find though.
Snow conditions remain pretty good across most of the Swiss Alps, with only some of the northern resorts suffering a bit at very low altitude. Grindelwald (5/55cm), for example, has very modest cover close to resort level but there is still lots of good piste skiing higher up.
For deeper cover you need to head higher and a bit further south. Verbier (50/205cm) is in excellent shape right now, even if powder is increasingly hard to find, while Andermatt (35/400cm) still boasts the highest upper depths in Europe.
Rest of Europe
There is still plenty of good skiing to be had at altitude in the Pyrenees even if conditions lower down have been deteriorating in recent weeks, after what had been a promising start to the season. Spain’s Baqueira Beret (60/130cm) is fully open and due a bit of snow on Thursday night. Andorra’s Pas de La Casa (30/70cm) has more modest depths, though is also offering some reasonable piste skiing.
There is plenty of good skiing on offer in Scandinavia, some of the best being in Norway’s Hemsedal (102cm upper base) where further flurries are forecast this weekend. Sweden’s Åre is another good option with lots of snow forecast over the next few days and upper base depths of 82cm.
Snow cover in Scotland remains insufficient for any serious skiing.
Colorado resorts haven’t seen a huge amount of snow in recent days, but the forecast is promising with a little light snow due over the next days, with the chance of some more significant falls next week. Right now, mid-mountain base depths are around 110cm in Vail, and 105cm in Breckenridge.
Some of the best snow conditions in the western US are currently to be found in Utah, where Snowbird (190cm mid-mountain base) has seen around 20cm of new snow in the last couple of days and has further flurries in the forecast.
Snow conditions are much improved in Whistler (197cm mid-mountain base), where around 1.5m of new snow has fallen in the last week, and more is forecast to low levels both today and tomorrow. The weather will also brighten up over the weekend and remain cold, making for some fantastic skiing.
Conditions are also excellent further inland, where there has been fresh snow in Lake Louise (140cm upper base, though skiers should bear in mind that it will be extremely cold here over the next few says.
Our next full snow report will be on Thursday 16 January 2020,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates