Re-publication :- our Snow Report Summary, being the text up to "The Alps", is free to re-publish, but must be clearly credited to www.J2ski.com with text including "J2Ski Snow Report" linked to this page - thank you.
Snow Report Summary - Incoming!
Spring could be about to take a break...
Anyone out in The Alps this week could have been forgiven for thinking that summer has arrived, let alone Spring... but a bit of a change is on the cards. Much of the area, particularly North and West, will see temperatures fall anything up to 15 degrees C by Monday - accompanied by heavy snow.
Definitely worth watching the forecasts if you fancy a late-season blast in what looks like a good few days of freshies... this winter's not quite done with us yet.
This Week's Headlines:
* A second week with almost no snow in western Europe.
* Heavy snow in western Canada and parts of USA.
* Up to 30cm of fresh snow in Scandinavia.
* Nearly a metre of snow at Fernie.
* Cortina extends ski season in to May.
* Heavy snow expected for the Western Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites in the next few days.
It has been a second week of virtually no snow and unseasonably warm temperatures in western Europe which has had its effect on snow quality and snow depth - but in most cases has not had too serious impact on the number of runs open as there was a healthy base built up through the winter. Afternoon conditions have been decidedly sticky though!
Some of the lower elevation resorts in Austria, which have had a challenging season, will just about scrape through to the end of their seasons at Easter.
The good news is that as spring nears there is expected to be a drop in temperature and some healthy snowfalls - you know it makes sense...
It has been a different story across the Atlantic with some heavy snowfalls - up to 90cm (threefeet) in 48 hours - in Western North America following big falls in the East of the continent last week (big snows again in Vermont this week).
There's been very little new snow in Austria for a second week and with warm temperatures too the thin snowpack at some lower elevation areas is being severely tested. Few (low resorts) are expected to stay open beyond March 30th so only have another 10 days to get through and there's not much of a respite in the thaw expected in that time.
Of course not all Austrian ski areas have short seasons and not all are low lying; let's not forget about half of Europe's summer ski destinations are in Austria and at resorts like Hintertux and Pitztal the snow is lying more than 10 feet (3m deep on upper slopes.
But for Seefeld, Mayrhofen, the Skiwelt, Zell and Ziller and others there's a maximum of 50cm left on upper slopes and often nothing at resort level.
There's been zero fresh snow reported in France for a second full week but that's all about to change, the forecasters tell us, with the most optimistic expecting up to a metre to fall in the northern alps in the next seven days. As it is, despite the warm weather, snow cover is holding up at most French resorts thanks to big bases built up in the winter.
The southern Alps and Pyrenees top the table with areas like Cauterets and Isola 2000 still having more than 3m/10 feet of snow lying on top, but most resorts still have at least 1.5m (five feet) up to 2.9m (nearly 10 feet of snow on upper runs. It's getting a bit thinner at lower traditional resorts like la Clusaz and les Gets at resort level but there's still a good foot or so on the lower pistes if not on the resort streets.
Italy, like France, has had no fresh snow in the past seven days, the same as the previous seven days. Snow depths have dropped slightly but Italy has been the snowiest major ski nation in Europe from December to February and the big bases that have built up will take a while to seriously diminish. Passo Tonale's base has dropped to 5.5m but remains the world's deepest, Madesimo is still on 5m.
Snow depths are 1.5 – 3m at most other leading Italian resorts with Cortina d'Ampezzo announcing it is extending its season to May with its 3.1m base. Like France, substantial snowfall is expected in the next week.
Other than less than an inch of snow reported on Sunday at Arosa and Davos in the east of the country, it's the same story of a second week with little or no snow in Switzerland. Slope depths are a little less than in France and Italy, particularly on lower runs, with, for example, only 10-15cm at Grindelwald and Wengen, 15cm at Laax and Gstaad and only 5cm at Crans Montana. Higher up depths are healthier with typically 1.2-2.5m at Swiss resorts, although Andermatt remains one of the snowiest in the world with a reported 4m base. As with France and Italy, heavy snow is expected in Switzerland too.
There's been no snow since March 5th in the Pyrenees, when a foot of snow fell in Andorra. But the snow cover remains excellent with up to five feet (1.5m) at resort level and double that at the top of the slopes. Arcalis in Vallnord has the deepest snow at 1.9 to 2.9m and all areas expect a foot or so o fresh snow in the coming week.
Scandinavian ski areas have been posting the biggest snowfalls in Europe over the last seven days – up to a foot (30cm) at resorts including Voss in Norway and are and Funasdalen in Sweden. All aim to open until early May so that's good news for another six weeks of the spring ski season.
After last week's snowfall in Bulgaria there's been no further fresh falls reported in Eastern Europe. Bulgarian ski areas are in quite good shape, on upper slopes at least with at least a metre reporting to be lying, although at resort level it is pretty much all gone at Bansko.
After a great season for snow, a less great season for gales and storms (too many), Scottish ski slopes have at last been suffering from the thaw and warm temperatures of the past 10 days or so. That's not to say the very deep snow isn't still pretty deep in places at Cairngorm, Glencoe and Nevis Range as there's so much lying, but it has been getting sticky and brown patches appearing. The situation is worse on the East where The Lecht has almost no snow and Glenshee is battling with mother nature to keep slopes open. However things are set to pick up towards the end of this week with colder weather moving in at last after the latest storm.
Canada has been the snowiest nation on earth over the last seven days with Fernie clocking up three feet, three inches (97cm) of fresh snow but many other resorts in Alberta and BC each adding 50-70cm to their bases too. Whistler reports 55cm of new snow. Fernie continues to have the deepest snow in the country at 3.3m (11 feet). Less snow was reported on the Eastern side of the country but it's still falling there too – 20cm for Mont Ste Anne and 10cm at Temblant.
There have been substantial snowfalls across the United states with the Northwest seeing the biggest snowfalls – up to a metre in the last week (reported by Big Sky, Montana). Jackson Hole added 55cm of snow and has a 350cm base, still one of the country's deepest. Resorts in Utah report similar accumulations, in Colorado more like a foot. On the east Coast in Vermont Stowe and Smugglers Notch have both reported 60cm plus of fresh snowfall.