Started by Admin in Snow Forecasts and Snow Reports 16-Mar-2017
Top 100 Snowiest Ski Areas Worldwide
Ever wonder what the piste bashers get to see at sunset? Tignes, France this week
This Week's Snow Headlines
- Mammoth snows base finally falls from 889cm high to 864cm.
- Dry and sunny in the Alps.
- Storm Stella brings up to 1m/3.3 Feet of fresh snow to the US East Coast.
- Scandinavian ski areas report up to 45cm of snow in 48 hours.
After a snowy end to last week in the Eastern Alps with significant snowfall in Austria it has been mostly dry, sunny and (at lower elevations) rather warm in the Alps. That looks set to remain the weather picture up to the weekend when a fresh front is expected to bring more snow to the higher slopes. What fresh snow there has been in Europe so far this week has mostly been in Scandinavia where a number of Norwegian resorts have issued powder alarms for 20cm+ of new snow in 24 hours.
The avalanche risk remains very high across the Alps and BASI and the British Mountaineering Council issued a joint warning for the Alps on Tuesday urging skiers and boarders who want to leave the pistes only to do so with a qualified guide if the guide thinks it's safe to do so. A large avalanche yesterday claimed the lives of 4 skiers in Austria.
Across the Atlantic it has been a more mixed picture than usual. Rather than the usual West coast united front there have been some good snowfalls in Western Canada whilst the Western US has stayed dry. On the east, storm Stella brought up to 66cm (2 feet 2 inches) of snow to ski areas that had previously been worried it was too warm with some having closed early, now re-opening.
In the Forecast
Temperatures look like remaining mild in The Alps for much of the next week, albeit with some snow expected at altitude on Sunday and into Monday. This is likely to be heaviest in the East (Austria) and the rain/snow line will be relatively high so good for high slopes and not so good low down.
That said, Spring could be kicked back into touch in a weeks time, by a cold and - potentially - very snowy turn of events for which the forecast models are starting to align. It's at the edge of the reliable time-frame for the forecast at the moment, but could be good, so we'll post an update to the forum early next week.
In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine!
Going Skiing? Please upload a Photo Snow Report!
If you're in the mountains, please show us the snow! Check Snow Reports from Ski Resorts for a quick and easy way to upload pictures, straight from your phone.
Austria has stayed rather snowy over the past week and the end of the season (only a fortnight away at some of the smaller, lower areas) is looking much snowier than the start was. Kaprun, for example, reports all lifts and runs open, with nearly two feet (57cm) of snowfall in the past week and an 85-195cm base. St Anton has some of the most impressive stats in the country with a 60-290cm base including 50cm of fresh snowfall this week. Mayrhofen has more challenging conditions with a 0-90cm base and 15m of fresh snowfall reported, it should still be good to host the Snowbombing Festival in three weeks' time though. But most areas are looking good to make it through to the end of their seasons.
Very little snow in the French Alps this past week France and conditions are typically being described as 'springlike' which generally means it gets sticky as the day warms up and is best first thing. Thanks to the snow since Christmas most areas have decent bases so coverage is not generally a problem, even resorts like Morzine which struggled earlier in the season have a 70-100cm base. But most of the high altitude resorts have much more impressive numbers, with at least a metre lying at resort level and 2m+ up top. Bonneval currently tops the snow depth table at 3.1m. More snow should arrive at the weekend if the weather pans out as forecasters currently predict.
No snow in Italy for a week either and conditions are again 'Spring like' here with groomed slopes varying from hard-packed to high-quality and off piste heavy going, with the avalanche danger again high in any case. The season long divide between West and East continues with most resorts in the alps to the West boasting 1-2m bases meaning they're in good shape for the remainder of the season. There's much less snow still in the Dolomites and the 10-40cm lying in Alta Badia coupled with spring like conditions does not look good moving in to April, but then they've survived all season on snow making so this may see them through to the end of the winter. Snowfall is, in any case, expected from the weekend when conditions will become more changeable.
As with the rest of Europe there's been little or no snow in Switzerland since last Friday and for some resorts for more than a week. So on piste conditions are excellent, off piste the snow is getting old and heavy and of course the avalanche danger remains very high. On piste the quality of the snow varies through the day and by altitude with lower resorts suffering stickier conditions by the afternoon, higher slopes remaining fresh. Gstaad still claims the deepest snowbase at 4.3 metres but that's down 60cm from last week.
Scotland's terrible 2016-17 season continues to be, well, pretty terrible. After hitting a seasonal high with four of the five areas managing to open limited terrain last week and around 40 of the region's 125 ski runs being open, only Nevis Range was open on Tuesday with 10 upper trails operational. However some centres were stormbound due to strong winds and may open limited runs later this week. However temperatures are remaining often above freezing so there are no signs of a change soon.
No fresh snow really in the Pyrenees either, just a few centimetres reported at Grandvalira in Andorra. Bases are very good for the time of year though with 1-2m reported at most areas in all three countries so it's looking good for the remainder of the season, and there's more snow in the forecast here too.
Norway has seen some of the biggest snowfalls in Europe this week with up to 45cm, reported by resorts like Bjorli and Voss, some of the bigger resorts like Hemsedal got 10-20cm too. Bases across Scandinavia look good as resorts move in to spring with 70-130cm the norm, about the usual for this area. Bigger snowfalls are expected in the coming week, further improving conditions.
Bansko caught 15cm/6 inches of snow last Friday but otherwise Eastern Europe, like Western Europe, has been largely dry and a little warm this past week. Most resorts still have good bases though here too to see them through the remainder of the season. Bulgarian resorts all report at least 80cm lying; in Slovenia it's a little less impressive at 30-60cm and Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic reports 40-90cm. Like Western Europe again, more snow is expected from the weekend – hopefully delivering 30-50cm of snow.
A snowy week across Canada, initially in the west and in the past few days with big snowfalls in Quebec related to Storm Stella. Base depths are good across the country with Mont Ste Anne still claiming the deepest in Eastern North America at 4.3m, it claimed 35cm of snow in 24 hours up to Wednesday morning but was beaten by Mont Sutton to the south with 55cm of snow. In Alberta, Sunshine has enough snow to open its 'Wild West' freeride area for the first time in three years this week, the three Banff resorts of Mt Norquay, The Lake Louise Ski Resort and Sunshine Village have each received between 60cm-101cm of fresh powder since the start of the month, with more in the forecast later this week.
Unusually America has seen little or no snow in the West this past week but big snowfalls in the east over the last few days, thanks to Storm Stella. In fact the storm even allowed resorts in the south east that had closed early due to unseasonably warm weather to re-open with powder on Wednesday. Wisp in Maryland was one beneficiary with a foot of fresh snow but the big winners were the larger, northern resorts like Mount Snow and Killington which both reported just under 1m (3.3 feet) of fresh snow over 36 hours. Conditions in the west have been more problematic after the huge snowfalls of this winter with some seeing double digit plus temperatures this week leaving very slushy conditions at times. Bases remain huge at most though, Mammoth now on 8.6m, Squaw still over 6m/20 feet. Another front is expected to bring plenty more fresh snow to the West later this week.