Started by Admin in Snow Forecasts and Snow Reports 09-Mar-2017
Top 100 Snowiest Ski Areas Worldwide
Another snowy view from Le Grand Bornand this week!
This Week's Snow Headlines
- Up to 2.4m/8 Feet of snow in the French Alps in the past week.
- Les Arcs, Chamonix and Cervinia have had 1.5m/5 feet in the last 7 days.
- More big snowfalls in western North America, unseasonably warm in the East.
- Four of five Scottish ski areas have at least some terrain open.
The Alps have seen some of their biggest snowfalls of the season this week.
Some resorts have had as much snow in the first week of March, as they've had in the previous three months! But for nearly every ski area it has been a good week for building bases and providing fresh cover as we enter the last third of the Northern Hemisphere season.
Although ski areas in Austria, Italy and Switzerland have reported up to 1.5m/5 feet of snow in the past 7 days, ski areas in the French Alps have reported the biggest snowfalls with up to 2.4m/8 feet of snow. But the snowfall has not been without 'issues'! Ski lifts, and at times whole resorts, have been closed by the weather this week which has included snow, violent gales and warm temperatures. These have all combined to bring a high avalanche danger and avalanches have been reported in or near Courmayeur and Tignes, among others, in the past few days.
Elsewhere in Europe there's been some good snowfall in the Pyrenees, more relatively good falls in the Dolomites, more snow in Scandinavia and several Scottish ski areas have been able to open.
In North America it's a case of still more big snowfalls in the West, but unseasonably warm temperatures in the East.
In the Forecast
North and East areas of The Alps should see further big falls today, with as much as 60cm forecast for some Swiss and Austrian ski areas and lighter falls elsewhere before the current band of snow fizzles out as we move into Saturday.
A few warm days to then come in The Alps, with a little more snow at altitude, should give everyone the chance to get out ... but please be extra cautious in light of the new snow. Avalanche risk will be very high in places so take local advice before leaving the pistes, don't duck any ropes (seriously, just don't!) and make sure you and your buddies are all properly equipped. Have fun, stay safe!
From early next week, the weather looks to be settling into an un-settled pattern (we like) with temperatures around the seasonal average but regular top-ups of fresh snow across a wide area.
Conditions will continue to evolve toward Spring skiing later in the month, but there's going to be fresh at altitude and deep bases are going to give some great skiing at Easter.
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Austria has seen a mixture of very snowy weather in the northwest of the country, with less in the south east. The biggest reported accumulation was in The Arlberg which has had over two feet/60cm of snow in the past week, much of that in the last 48 hours. The Ziller Valley also did well with 30-40cm of snow although not much of that sticking around at lower elevations, with Mayrhofen still reporting no snow at resort level despite a 35cm accumulation there. Across most of the rest of Austria snowfall has been more in the 10-30cm range, with similar amounts forecast for the next few days.
France has had the biggest snowfalls in Europe and, just about, in the world with La Rosiere claiming 2.4m (8 feet) of snow in the past week according to one snow reporting service and the Chamonix Valley up to 1.8m (six feet) of snow. Les Arcs had around 1.5m (five feet) and most other areas at least 60-90cm (2-3 feet). Monday and Tuesday this week saw particularly heavy snowfall with a number of areas reporting 60-75cm of snow in a 24 hour period. All the snow, sometimes accompanied by very strong winds, caused some operational difficulties and a number of resorts including Alpe d'Huez, Chamonix and Tignes were forced to close some or all of their ski areas, in Tignes' case after an avalanche crossed a piste. The snow should set up French resorts for the remainder of the season with a number now having upper slope bases at the 3m/10 foot mark.
Italy had a similar divide to Austria with heavy snow in the West but less significant snowfall in the Dolomites although there was some. Cervinia reported the country's biggest snowfall with 1.4m/ nearly five feet of snow in the last seven days – the most this season and resorts in the Aosta Valley posted 60-80cm accumulations. In the Dolomites the snowfalls were in the 20-40 mark but ski areas in the Fassa Valley are now claiming a 1m snow depth on upper slopes for the first time this season – the deepest in the region.
Most Swiss ski areas have had at least 40cm of fresh snow and many as much as 80cm in the past week. Anzere has topped the table with 120cm (four feet) of snowfall reported. As has been the case for much of this season only the far south eastern corner where resorts like St Moritz have not had too much snow. Gstaad, which has had 80cm of fresh snow, reports Europe's deepest base at 4.9m.
Conditions remain challenging in Scotland but probably the best they've been all season now. Nevis range has led the way able to open about half their runs and actually enjoying spectacular conditions at the weekend with perfect blue skis and no wind. Glencoe and Cairngorm also now have quite a lot of their higher terrain open although with thin cover in places. Further east the picture is less good with just a few runs with thin cover open at The Lecht and Glenshee still unable to re-open.
There's been more snow in the Pyrenees, continuing the great winter there. Grandvalira in Adorra, the region's largest resort, reports 55cm of fresh snow this week and a 120-180cm base. At Pal Arinsal the base is 170-220cm so looks great for the rest of the season. On the French and Spanish sides there's not been so much fresh snow reported – more like 20-30cm, but base depths are also good, for example 110-200cm at Baquieira Beret in Spain and 200-280cm at Cauterets in France.
Scandinavia has had mostly calm conditions this past week and temperatures are in the -5 to -15C bracket at most areas. Snowfalls of 5 to 15cm have been reported by many of the regions resorts. Hemsedal had one of the larger snowfalls and now has a 50cm base, at Ruka in Lapland (Finland) 75cm and at Are in Sweden its 80cm – all normal snow depths for the region.
There's been some serious snowfall in the Czech and Slovak Republics with Jasna reporting more than 30cm in the past few days and 18cm at Spindleruv Mlyn. Further east there's been less snow but bases in Bulgaria are still good and 10-15m of snow is expected in the next 48 hours at resorts like Bansko and Borovets. Bansko has a 1.5m base and Borovets 135cm.
Great conditions in Canada still with some good snowfalls this week, particularly in the West, on already good bases. Temperatures have also 'warmed up' to the -5 to -15C region, making it all much more enjoyable to ski or board. Fernie has some of the best conditions with a 285cm base and 30cm of fresh snow. Big White has a 233cm base but has had 55cm (nearly two feet) of fresh snow and Whistler has had 92xm (over three feet) of snow in the last 7 days – it has a 284cm base. It's been less good in the East with not much fresh snow and temperatures rising above zero. Tremblant in Quebec has had just 4cm of snow this week and has a 110-130cm base.
America is a nation divided with unseasonably warm weather in the East and the fourth very snowy month in a row underway in the West. As every week it seems it's just a long list of resorts posting big snowfalls , although some centres in Colorado have performed better than recently this week with 60cm/2 feet at Aspen and 32cm at Winter Park. Still more huge snowfalls in California with 95cm for Heavenly (3.3m base) and 60cm (2 feet) at Squaw Valley where the base is 637cm (over 21 feet). There's a bit of a thaw in the East with more southerly ski areas calling it a day on winter 16-17. Killington in Vermont, biggest in the area, says temps are around +5 with 6cm of fresh snow this week and a 61-91cm base.