After the heavy snowfalls last week in the Alps, conditions have largely settled down with little fresh snow reported in the region since before the weekend.
Not all of Europe has been dry since Saturday however, there’s been heavy snow in Scotland – adding to what has been an excellent winter season there – and conditions are looking great for the Easter Holidays.
Across the Atlantic, unusually, it has been ski areas on the east coast of North America that have posted the biggest snowfalls – up to 70cm in the past week.
See our 'where is the snow' pictures at our Recent snowfall Gallery
Much of the heavy snow of last week died away by Thursday and we saw something of a thaw in many ski areas over the weekend. However some big-name resorts are still reporting substantial fresh snowfalls. Avoriaz had 51cm over the past week, the most reported by any resort in the country, and 30-45cm was reported in Alpe d’Huez (which currently has the deepest snow in the French Alps at 420cm), Courchevel, Flaine, La Clusaz and Val d’Isere. Most French resorts still have 3-6 weeks of skiing left this season and typical snow depths remain above a metre at resort elevation and 200-350cm or more on upper slopes so piste conditions remain good.
Similar to France, much of the heavy snowfall had petered out by Thursday last week when a few resorts reported their final 10cm of new snow, bringing some big-name resorts up to 30cm+ of new snow in a week, including Kaprun, Lech, St Anton and Pitztal. Other resorts averaged 10-20cm, all or most of that last Wednesday. At most Austrian resorts the season is set for a final Easter weekend hurrah before a rapid wind-down and, as depths are now generally below 50cm at resort level, that’s probably good timing. However Pitztal, open until May, has deep snow still (165-365cm), the country’s greatest, and it’s healthy at other resorts open at least until late April, including St Anton, Solden, Obergurgl, Obertauren and Hintertux – all with at least 200cm on upper slopes.
There’s been little fresh snow in Italy after the heavy snow there a week ago. In the Dolomites, Arabba, Val Gardena and Cortina are the few resorts reporting fresh snow with 15-35cm. In the Alps there was 35cm in Sauze d’Oulx, but as in neighbouring countries, the snow stopped falling before the end of last week. Snow cover on lower slopes is starting to get rather thin at many Italian ski areas – typically 30-50cm, but it’s still looking good at the top of the slopes, with the majority of resorts reporting 150-300cm base depths, which is very healthy for the start of spring. In terms of resorts staying open through to May, Val Senales and Cervinia both have a 300cm base on upper slopes and Passo Tonale 400cm – the deepest in Italy.
Very little new snow has been reported in Switzerland since last Thursday, although Saas Fee reported 10cm of new snow on Monday, the biggest reported anywhere in the Alps since last Friday, and St Moritz added 6cm then too. Taking into account the large accumulations that peaked last Wednesday, resorts can still claim good seven-day averages such as 70cm at Gstaad, which now claims the deepest snow base in the Alps at 510cm; 53cm at les Diablerets; 50cm at Murren in the Jungfrau; and 45cm at Adelboden and Villars. Base depths remain largely good across Switzerland with typically 30-90cm on lower slopes and 1.5-3m on upper runs.
There’s just been a few centimetres of new snow in the Pyrenees but snow depths remain the greatest in Europe thanks to the heavy February snowstorms. Cauterets in France still has the world’s deepest snowpack at 570cm and Baqueira Beret, on the other side of the range in Spain, has 410cm. Both resorts reported 5cm of fresh snow on Monday. There are good on-piste conditions in Andorra too, with 250-320cm on upper slopes at the principality’s resorts.
A few centimetres of fresh snow has been reported in Bulgaria and Romania but there has also been an overall thaw so bases are slowly diminishing. They’re still fairly healthy in Bulgaria (typically 50-90cm on lower slopes, 130-150cm on upper runs. Slovenia and Romanian ski areas report smaller bases of 30-60cm.
Very little new snow has been reported in Scandinavia but it’s still below freezing in most areas too so the bases of around a metre right across the region remain intact. Nearly all runs and lifts remain open and on piste conditions are generally excellent. Are in Sweden, the region’s largest resort, has a 1.1m base while Hemsedal in Norway has 1.2m lying and Levi in Finland spot on a metre.
Scotland’s excellent snowfall season continues with some of the biggest accumulations in Europe over the past few days, with up to 50cm of new snow reported. With cold weather expected to continue through the Easter Holidays this is looking like one of the country’s best seasons. The blizzard conditions at the weekend have caused operational difficulties however with most areas stormbound over the weekend and roads closed to areas on the east too, but all have re-opened in recent days and more stable weather is expected over the next few weeks.
Unusually many of the biggest snowfalls in Canada over the past seven days were on the east coast of the country with most of the snow falling between Wednesday and Friday. In Quebec, Mont Ste Anne reported 42cm of new snow and Tremblant 40cm. The big snow continued in BC too, Fernie had another 50cm of snow and is up to a 325cm base, the deepest in the country and the first time this season a major Canadian resort has reported a 3m+ base. Sun Peaks and Big White got 30cm of new snow each and Red Mountain and Panorama reported 25cm of fresh powder.
Good snowfalls have been reported on both sides of the USA with heavy snowfall in New England before the weekend and smaller accumulations spread more through the week in the west, with Colorado resorts adding another 10cm on average in the past few days, maintaining late season powder conditions as the season winds up there at most areas over the next 2-3 weeks. Alta in Utah has reported the biggest fall with nearly 60cm in the past seven days, 20cm of that last Sunday alone, and in Colorado Aspen, Breckenridge and Vail all reported at least 40cm of new snow, with most of the state’s other areas reporting 20-30cm or so. Squaw Valley in California got nearly 50cm of new snow through the week but Mammoth continues to have North America’s deepest snowpack for a major resort, although it has declined by 25cm on last week to 470cm. On the east coast many areas received 30-45cm of new snow boosting late season sales, among beneficiaries were Killington and Stowe in Vermont.
The week ahead
Moving into the start of April most areas are expecting more minor snowfalls over the coming week, typically 10-20cm in total in both Europe and North America.
In the Alps temperatures are expected to stay relatively cool slowing any rapid thaw and in the north of the continent cold weather should bring more dry snow, including to Scottish ski slopes.
See our 'where is the snow' pictures at our Recent snowfall Gallery
Our next 'where is the snow in Europe and North America' report will be published April 3, 2013.