J2Ski Snow Report 26th April 2018
Above the clouds at Tignes this morning - which is open until the 6th May
J2Ski Snow Report 26th April 2018
This Week's Snow Headlines
- Snow making gets underway in Australia.
- First Norwegian glacier ski area opens this week.
- Some fresh snow reported on high slopes in Scotland (2 ski areas still open).
- Mt Baker closes for season after 70 feet of snow.
- Engelberg back to top of snow depths table.
- Fresh snowfall in Colorado and Alberta.
The number of ski areas open continues to plummet and we're down to around 50 now that plan to make it in to May - although about a quarter of those will close on May 1st itself.
It has been a fairly quiet week on the world's ski slopes with most reporting predominantly cool to mild weather, often sunny, with just a few small snowfalls, the biggest reported in Western Canada – and there only 15cm (6 inches).
In most places bases are thawing as temperatures climb higher above freezing, as you would expect with meteorological summer just over a month away, but as the snow is lying between 2 and 7 metres thick at almost all of the still-open areas, there's plenty left!
South of the equator, one ski area in Australia has reported snowmaking underway, despite temperatures being well above freezing, as it has an all-weather snowmaking system. It says this will guarantee snow cover at the official start of the season in early June.
In the Alpine Forecast
Another warm week ahead, with the exception of a cooler snap expected to bring a lot of snow (at altitude) to the North West (of the Alps) around Monday.
See where it's expected to snow this week...
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It's mostly glaciers that are open in Austria this week although one of them, Solden, will close this weekend. Most of the others plan to remain open to later in May, June or even July whilst Dachstein and Hintertux endeavour to remain open year round.
Snow depths are excellent on the glaciers – typically 3 to 5 metres – so they've been coping well with the sunshine so far and provided sublime conditions from mid-morning to early afternoon. Ischgl and Obertauern are also both open although their snow depths are diminishing more quickly with little left at resort level and about a metre or so on upper runs. Both will close May 1st after big season-end party weekends.
About a dozen of the bigger French ski resorts are still open. They're all reporting sunny skies and Spring skiing conditions with the snow in its best shape between about 10am and 1pm. All of these resorts have the snow lying several metres deep up top, so there's no fear of its thawing away before closing day.
It's the last weekend of the season coming up at La Plagne, Les Arcs and Montgenevre where the season will end on Sunday, April 29th at the end of the ski day. Chamonix and Val d'Isere will stay open, they say, to Tuesday May 1st whilst Tignes will continue to Sunday the 6th and finally Val Thorens will keep its lifts turning until Tuesday the 8th of May.
About a dozen Italian resorts too, are set to make it through the final weekend of April, with Cervinia and Val Senales saying they'll be open a further week after that, to May 6th. Here too the weather has been predominantly dry, warm and sunny so the snow is melting, but at most of the still-open centres it's at least two metres thick still. Cortina in the dolomites actually has the thinnest base of the still open areas at 10-70cm. It has set its closing day for May 1st but should be OK until then. At the other extreme the snow is 4.2m (14 feet) deep still at Cervinia up top, and 165cm deep in resort.
With Mt Baker (which last reported a 7.2m base) closing at the weekend, Engelberg's 7m snow depth reverts to the deepest of open ski areas in the world. It ended skiing to the valley at the end of Sunday and now has skiing up at Titlis where the sow is deepest and the temperatures low through to the end of May. It even reported a few centimetres of fresh snow (literally an inch) up high over the past few days too.
Engelberg will be one of the few Swiss areas open in May as the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz and Glacier 3000 near Gstaad both plan to close at the start of May. A number of other ski areas are also reported open to this weekend at least – among them Adelboden, Andermatt, Samnaun (linked to Ischgl) and the 4 Valleys.
It remains mild in much of Eastern Europe with temperatures typically in the 5-20 degrees Celcius range. So almost all ski areas are closed and the snow is old and thawing at those that are still reported open to this weekend, such as Vogel in Slovenia, which still has a snow a base 1.8m (six feet) thick up top, while Kanin Bovec, also open, reports a 4m base.
Nevis Range decided to call it a day on their 17-18 ski season last Sunday, two weeks earlier than they had been hoping, but the thaw has been rapid over the past few weeks. Glenshee and The Lecht are already closed and Cairngorm, although still open at time of writing, has limited snow left and so limited terrain open. Glencoe looks to be in the best shape reporting all terrain open and snow 60-100cm deep despite the thaw. It's staying open to May 7th making it one of the latest to stay open in to spring of Europe's non-glacier ski areas.
We incorrectly reported that both ski areas in Andorra were closed for the season last week after Google lied to our snow reporter and he made the novice mistake of failing to check the J2ski report. Vallnord is in fact still open in Andorra until the coming weekend, so apologies to them and you. They even reported a dusting of snow on Sunday. Elsewhere, Sierra Nevada in southern Spain is also open through to May 1st having extended their season.
There's been a few centimetres of snowfall on still-open slopes in Norway and Sweden over the past few days. The other news from the region is that Norway's Fonna glacier summer ski area opens this Friday for the long Mayday weekend – there are no official snow stats from there yet but the management assure us conditions are excellent.
There are four Canadian ski areas still open in Western Canada and they've been reporting perhaps the best conditions anywhere over the past week with fresh snow falling and everything open. The choices are Lake Louise and Sunshine at Banff, Marmot Basin to the north and over the border in BC, Whistler Blackcomb is open too. It and Sunshine stay open to late May, Lake Louise and Marmot Basin close May 6th. There are a handful of ski areas open in to Quebec in the East too after a blast of late season snow a week ago there. Mont Sutton says it will open the next two weekends.
The cold and snow of a week ago appears to have come to an abrupt halt in the USA and disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived, with little fresh snow reported in the past 7 days. But the US probably has more ski areas open still than any other country, with about 15 open daily and a further 20 or so open at weekends – albeit with this coming weekend being the last weekend for many of them.
About a dozen ski areas in the Midwest and on the East Coast will open this weekend, still thanks in large part to the unexpected big dump of snow a week ago. A few have announced their plans to also open the first weekend in May (5th/6th) with Killington aiming to go to the end of the month. On the West it is more a case of the usual late season suspects with Squaw and Mammoth in California; Timberline in Oregon, Snowbird in Utah and A Basin and Loveland in Colorado (which have reported 20cm of fresh snow in the past few days) all expecting to stay open well in to May and in some cases to June. Others are open including Winter Park, at weekends, to the 6th, extending its season by a fortnight in response to good April snowfalls.