And it’s still snowing almost everywhere! On the East Coast of America, superstorm Nemo has dumped nearly half a metre on resorts such as Sunday River in Maine and Killington in Vermont. Baqueira in the Spanish Pyrenees has recorded an extraordinary 919cm in the past month.
However the focus for most of us in on the Alpine chain where conditions across France, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy are at their February best.
Yes, folks, more snow is in the air for much of the week. However on St Valentine’s Day (Thursday) we can expect blue skies everywhere and the chance to celebrate in glorious sunshine a winter that – even at this stage – can be tagged as vintage.
But a big warning for lovers in France in particular: don’t expose any bits unnecessarily – it’s ccCOLD! Today it’s been -18C without windchill on the Grande Motte above Tignes and -14C in Val Thorens.
This week Sean Newsom is reporting from Are in Sweden where the upper mountain is now open and piste conditions are excellent with a sold base of 75cm. We’re also in snowy Madesimo in Italy (65/250cm) and with the half-term hordes in Meribel (130/235cm).
In little Madesimo it’s been a bitterly cold but mostly sunny day today after a fresh 20cm. Peter and Felice Hardy report that piste conditions are superb and “the resort is half-empty. This is the place where British families with small children should be – but aren’t – spending half-term.”
Meteo France’s snow report talks of continuing substantial falls in the Haute-Tarentaise (home to Val d’Isere and Tignes). In Switzerland, the SLF reports 30-60cm in a broad swathe of resorts in the northern half of the Alps. In Austria, the Tirol’s avalanche service reports 30-55cm of fresh cover,
Across the Italian Alps, resorts are now getting its fair share of the white bonanza with fresh cover in the Brenta Dolomites – including Madonna di Campilgio, where Welove2ski’s Max Hardy and Ben Corby have been bombing about, tracking down its most scintillating pistes.
Wind has created avalanche-prone wind slabs on exposed slopes, – and the avalanche risk is generally 3/5 across the northern Alps. Off-pisters need to be cautious and well-prepared. But whenever the sun’s broken through, skiers have been lapping up the soft, cold snow: grippy on-piste, light and powdery off it.
As our Meribel blogger Alf Alderson reports, “there’s stacks of powder wherever you look. The only fly in the ointment is the bad visibility but once the sun comes out conditions are going to be sensational.”
|France: See our main report. Anyone skiing off-piste should exercise caution thanks to an avalanche risk of 3/5. Anyone skiing on piste should pin their ears back, enjoy the soft, grippy snow. Above Val Thorens the snow is now up to 175-335cm deep, and in Les Arcs it’s 132-280cm deep and Tignes 145 -285cm. But these great figures pale into insignificance compared to Flaine in the Grand Massif ski area which has a mighty 450cm at the top station.|
|Switzerland: Fabulous wintry conditions are the rule across Switzerland at the moment. Currently, Andermatt has up to 125-420cm of settled snow, and Davos 83-173cm. Verbier has 120cm at the Medran lift station and 290cm on top of Mont-Fort – you couldn’t ask for more.|
|Austria: It’s another snowy week in Austria. The cold temperatures mean that every resort can offer superb skiing at the moment, whether it’s high or low. Currently, high-altitude Obergurgl has 98-220cm of snow, Soll and the Skiwelt 85-155cm and St Anton 85-270cm.|
|Italy: There’s been some fresh snow across much of Italy. Selva now has 60-160cm of settled cover. Above the Aosta Valley, Cervinia has 10cm of fresh snow, bringing the total up to 85-275cm. Conditions in Madonna di Campiglio, where Welove2ski stayed recently, are good with 60-150cm and the sun is out.|
|Andorra: What a great season it is turning out to be all across the Pyrenees. In the Grandvalira (Pas de la Casa and Soldeu) there’s 140cm at resort level and 250cm on top – we can’t remember when figures like these were last posted! It’s sunny and cold today and we’re going to see another dusting tomorrow.|
|Western USA: See our main report. Conditions in the Rocky-Mountain resorts have improved, but they could do with more. In Utah, Snowbird there’s 193cm mid-mountain and in Jackson Hole in Wyoming that figure is 135cm.
In Vail, Colorado there is 86cm mid-mountain and no real sign yet of relief in what has so far been a remarkably dry winter. But that said, the Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin are all open, and pistes on the front side are groomed to a high standard. It’s just the powderhounds who aren’t truly happy. Meanwhile, above Lake Tahoe in California, Heavenly reports 107cm of snow mid-mountain – and the sun is shining.
|Western Canada: Whistler has picked up 32cm in the past week and now has a base of 189cm. A weak ridge of high pressure dominates and we can’t expect much change before the weekend. By Saturday it should be significantly cooler and more windy. Fernie reports 18cm of snow in the past week and a mid-mountain depth of 223cm. Above Lake Louise the snow is 15cm deep in the Back Bowls with more light snow expected.|