It has been a largely dry, sunny week across much of Europe and conditions on the piste have been good. However there is little in the way of fresh off-piste powder and the avalanche risk is climbing as the sun warms the deep snow pack. However great powder conditions can be found in Scandinavia where they've had as much as 75cm or over in North America, particularly in BC and Alberta, Canada, where Marmot Basin has just reported its biggest snowstorm for 24 years.
See our 'where is the snow' pictures: Recent snowfall Gallery
It has been a dry and almost snowless week across all of France, with only Tignes and Val d’Isere in the Espace Killy reporting 15cm of snowfall. Snow depths are great throughout the country though so it's not really an issue for those who like to stay on the pistes, but there’s little powder left anywhere off piste and in any case the avalanche danger is generally very high. Base levels have dropped a little and there are no longer any French resorts outside the Pyrenees posting a 4m+ base depth, but snow depths remain excellent. Alpe d’Huez for example has 190-380cm and Flaine 90cm-365cm. In the French Pyrenees, Cauterets still has the world’s deepest snow at 5.9m, despite gaining only a few centimetres of new cover this week.
The past week has been very sunny in Austria and most ski resorts reported perfect conditions over the past few days, although almost no snowfall. So the biggest reported accumulations of the past week were modest: Solden (8cm) and Kitzbuehel (5cm). The snow depths have decreased a little, but for the big resorts there is no problem because of the very healthy base from last month. The best snow depth at the moment in on the Molltal Glacier (360cm) followed by Pitztal (345cm).
There hasn’t been much fresh snow in the past week in Italy, although resorts in the west of the country did report healthy snowfall in the last few days of February. Cervinia, for example, received 28cm in the 24 hours last Wednesday and now has a 240cm base, one of the deepest in the Italian Alps, beaten only by La Thuile with 260cm on upper slopes. In the Milky Way to the south, Sauze d’Oulx and Sestriere reported similar falls around the same time and there were smaller accumulations in the Aosta Valley. In the Dolomites, again largely dry this past week, Arabba posted the biggest snowfall in the region of 15cm last Wednesday. Passo Tonale still has the deepest base in the country at 350cm.
There was no new snow reported in Switzerland in the last week. The foehn – a warming wind – will be present in the Alps at least for a few more days but more clouds have started to bubble up now and there will probably be snowfall in the south of the country this week. Snow depths are still very good in all Swiss resorts, three with more than four metres: Engelberg (500cm), Gstaad (450cm) and Andermatt (400cm). Also at a very good depth are Crans Montana (300cm), Laax (300cm) and Saas Fee (264cm).
There has not been much new snow in the Pyrenees but the huge snowfalls in January and February have left great base depths so the pistes are in excellent shape. In Andorra, VallNord has the deepest snow at 220cm-320cm, but Soldeu reports the most fresh snow, clocking up 20cm in the past week. There's no new snow in Spain but Baqueira Beret and Formigal both have 4m+ base depths so apart from a lack of fresh off-piste powder conditions are great.
This week's big snow news comes from Scandinavia. The north-western resorts in Norway got a big dump last weekend, with as much as 75cm in three days reported in some of the country’s smaller ski areas (Arena Overøye/Stordalen and Meråker). The huge snowfall also benefited the slightly better-known areas of Stranda and Oppdal, which until now had been suffering from snow shortage. For major resorts – Voss, Hemsedal, Geilo, Trysil – there has not been any big dumps in the last week, but conditions continue to stay close to perfect, at least on the slopes. Elsewhere in the region there was 30cm of fresh snow at Are in Sweden, probably the biggest fall there this winter taking its base depth past the metre-mark (125cm) for the first time this season. No new snow in Lapland but bases remain good at around a metre.
Light snow has fallen in Bulgaria, with 5-10cm of new cover reported in the main resorts. Snow depths are excellent – 180-250cm lying on upper slopes. In Romania, Poiana Brasov has all its lifts and runs operating and an 80cm base, while Kranjska Gora in Slovenia has a 150cm base and again is fully open with sunny slopes.
It’s been another good week for snow sports in Scotland with all five areas maintaining healthy snow bases on the pistes. Nearly all lifts and runs are open for top-to-bottom skiing. In short, it’s looking much better than this time a year ago when the reverse was true.
In contrast with Europe, North America has had a snowy week, and nowhere more so than British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. The snow has been falling with great abundance: 60cm at Fernie, 95cm at Whistler and 70cm at Marmot Basin – the biggest single snowstorm in the past 24 years. So unsurprisingly there’s powder everywhere and western North America is definitely the place to be for freeriders this week. But it’s not just the west that’s snowy: Tremblant in Quebec has had a 30cm snowfall in the past week, its biggest accumulation of the year so far, and Mont Ste Anne, further east, reports 15cm of new snow too.
It has been another fairly snowy week in the US. Colorado resorts have posted the biggest snowfalls in the country, topped by Vail with a 60cm accumulation. But many other resorts here, and in Utah to the north have posted 30-50cm snowfalls. And elsewhere in the west, Alyeska up in Alaska remains close to the 5m snow depth mark (4.6m) after adding 45cm. Over in New England there was substantial new snow reported last Thursday when 30cm landed at resorts like Sunday River and Smugglers Notch.
The week ahead
We’re expecting a change in conditions across Europe: the sunny, dry conditions of the last week to be replaced by some serious precipitation which should result in at least 30cm of fresh snow by this time next week. Although snowfall is likely to slow in North America it shouldn’t stop completely and we’re expecting another 30cm or so there too in the Rockies and on the East coast.
See our 'where is the snow' pictures: Recent snowfall Gallery
Our next "Where is the snow in Europe and North America?" snow report will be published Wednesday, March. 13, 2013.