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No shortage of snow in Alta Badia now... picture courtesy of the Tourist Office
Well, it kept on snowing, and there's more coming...
This Week's Snow Headlines
- Up to 165cm of snowfall in the Dolomites, 195cm in the Alps and 120cm in Rockies.
- World's snowiest resort this season nears 18m snowfall-to-date 15/16 total.
- Resorts in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland all post 1m+ snowfalls in the past week.
- Deepest base passes 6m mark in Alps, 5m in North America.
- Dolomites transformed by snowy deluge since Saturday.
As the numbers above indicate, it has been a very snowy week in most of the world's leading ski areas as March continues as February left off.
Areas like the Dolomites, which didn't do well for the first three months of the ski season, have reversed that trend and had the biggest of the big snowfalls over the last seven days.
It has been snowing almost everywhere with bases building in the Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and in Western North America whilst the smallest accumulations have been in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and New England continues to suffer.
Generally though, bases are at the deepest they have been across the board and it's looking great for the remainder of the season almost everywhere now, even if no more snow falls.
In The Alpine Forecast
The major forecast models have been suffering a bit of indecisiveness this week as two competing potential weather systems slug it out in the virtual worlds (of the models).
At this point, we're going to be really helpful and tell you there's a good chance of the weather turning colder from mid-March... and there's also a good chance of it running milder. If we had to choose then we'd probably back the colder option for the end of the month but it really is a case of wait and see.
There does, however, look to be a little more snow in the forecast over the weekend, for many areas, and into next week; with temperatures generally around the seasonal average.
Generally, we're expecting next week to be less snowy and more settled than this but with some exceptions and the good chance of a return to heavy snow for the following week.
Austrian ski centres are in the best condition they've been all winter after another snowy week. Most ski areas received one to two feet (30-60cm) of fresh snow over the last seven days but at the upper end Obertauern reported a huge 107cm accumulation. The big snow was of the biggest advantage to low lying resorts that have struggled with warmer-than-average temperatures at lower elevations all season. Talking of which, Mayrhofen got 60cm of snow and has 25cm of cover at resort level now, one of its deepest bases all season, as is the 125cm now up top, so the Snowbombing Festival in April may be perfectly timed for snow cover despite being right at the end of the season. At the other end of the Austrian ski areas altitude scale the Kaunertal glacier is back on top of the snow depth table with a 353cm base.
Chamonix reported that its base depth had leapt a couple of metres to over 6.5m a week back. We weren't sure if this was an error (as it was a sudden 2m jump) but they are still reporting it and ongoing huge snowfalls – around 2m in the past week. That huge base of more than 22 feet at present (665cm) is right up top, down in resort it's still 25cm – so a bit of a gap. Although Chamonix's figures are exceptional the numbers for the rest of France are also very good. Avoriaz and Val Thorens both posted over a metre of snowfall and most other areas 40-80cm. Many of the altitude resorts now have well above 3m at their bases and 3m or so on upper runs, so again they're well set for the rest of the season – still more than two months at some centres. Resorts below about 1200m are less well endowed with the white stuff, as all season, but at last have 20-40cm of snow in most cases now down at resort level.
The trend for the Dolomites to get more snow than the Italian Alps which began last week has accelerated this with some huge snowfall totals in the past seven days. Cortina d'Ampezzo leads the way with 1.65m (five and a half feet) of fresh snow this week, followed by Arabba with 125cm (just over four feet) but it's only marginally ahead of many other areas in the region, some of which (including San Martino) reported 60cm and even 80cm accumulations in 24 hours last weekend. There was plenty of some snow in the Alps too on the Western side of the country and La Thuile on the French border in the Aosta Valley has the deepest base in the country at 290cm (just under 10 feet) but has had only 10cm of fresh snow.
Switzerland has had a very snowy week in common with the other big four Alpine nations. Although it's been a pretty good season all winter here, and particularly since New Year, some areas in the West (Leysin, Villars, Crans Montana) got less of the early season snow as did resorts in the East, but for a second week these have been the leading beneficiaries of all the fresh snow with a metre of fresh at Leysin, 90cm at Gstaad, 70cm for Villars and 60cm for Arosa and St Moritz. Andermatt has the deepest snow in Switzerland now at 390cm, Crans Montana has 360cm.
Not much snow reported this week in Scandinavia but conditions remain good across the country. Norway got the most new snow with 20-40cm and bases are near the 1m mark at most areas there but up at 2.5m at Voss, although it only got 5cm fresh this week. Ski areas in Sweden got 10-20cm of new snow but there was none reported in Finland no new snow. Again most have about 1m bases.
The Pyrenees didn't get quite the big accumulations that some forecasters expected last weekend with 5-25cm of fresh cover the norm in Andorra over the last seven days. Bases in the principality remain around 1m, with the deepest base at Arcalis 1.5m. On the French side though some huge falls of 60-80cm have just been reported in the past 24 hours at Cauterets and St Lary.
A similar story to that of recent weeks (and in some cases months now) in Eastern Europe with not much fresh snow reported. Bulgaria appears to be having a particularly lacklustre winter with not much fresh snow since the start of the New Year; with 20-30cm Pamporovo seems to be faring worst with Bansko and Borovets still claiming 1m bases. Further north there have been a few centimetres of snow in Slovakia and the base is 50-70cm at Kranjska Gora in Slovenia with 10cm fresh this week.
Scottish centres have had another largely good week with mostly stable conditions, pretty much all terrain open at the five Highland centres. The Easter Holidays are now three weeks away so the hope is that the great weather continues and the good conditions make Easter the bumper period half term was rather than the write-off Christmas and New Year were.
Another not terribly snowy week in Canada with the biggest accumulations posted by ski areas on the East and West coasts once again. The biggest falls were in fact in Quebec in the East where ski areas continue to regain lost ground after the slow start to the season. There was 40cm of fresh snow at both Mont Ste Anne and at Tremblant which both have 1m bases now – the best of the winter so far. There was about a foot (30cm) of fresh at Whistler on the BC coast on the other side of the country, the largest snowfall in the West. Fernie, also BC, still has the deepest base in Canada at 318cm (10.5 feet) after another 10cm fresh. Most Alberta and BC areas got 10-25cm of fresh this week.
The huge snow falls forecast for California a week ago pretty much lived up to expectations with around four feet of snow (1.2m) reported at Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain and similar falls across the region. The snow continued west in to Colorado and Utah although accumulation volumes diminished to nearer a foot with many areas reporting 30-40cm of snow there. Mammoth now has a base of 4.2m (14 feet) and is hopefully looking good for a return to the mid-late spring skiing in to May and June for which it is famous but hasn't been able to offer the past few winters. Alyeska in Alaska continues to 'out dump' the rest of the world with a 513cm base, the deepest on the continent and it recently passed the 700-inch season-sow-fall-to-date mark taking it near to the 18m mark at – 1788cm. It's still looking much less good on the East though with snow cover diminishing and only a 20-50cm base at Killington in Vermont.