Nature, it seems, just can’t make up her mind what to serve up next. It’s looking like another yo-yo week across Europe, with daytime temperatures bouncing through a 10C spectrum with a bit of snow here and a bit of snow there, but by no means everywhere.
The Pyrenees are getting it again today, a second feast to follow the mighty falls of up to 2.5m ten days ago. The Grand Tourmalet ski area in France reported 1.5m of fresh snow in just three days, and Baqueira in Spain had 2.5m between January 13 and 17.
But after today that’s their lot for the moment, with sunshine and spring weather arriving by Friday. The thermometer will soar, but with the best part of a couple of metres beneath your feet and factor 50 on your face this is where we’d like to be skiing on Friday morning.
Meanwhile the sun is also out in Les Carroz and Flaine in the Grand Massif today, but some snow is falling falling further south in Val d’Isere and Tignes as well as in a wide swathe of the Alps to east. This includes most of Switzerland and Austria, but in most paces the fall is unlikely to amount to much more than 10cm.
It’s cold and windy but, by Wednesday, the temperature will rise sharply and in the Arlberg region we’ll see the freezing point as high as 3000m. In Austria, it looks like being unseasonably balmy at the start of the weekend. But don’t worry, the thaw should be short-lived with a swift return to winter next week.
The southern half of the Alps benefited from fresh snow last week. Madonna di Campiglio had 35cm, Selva had 30cm, and parts of the Engadin Valley – home to St Moritz – had up to half a metre – and it’s snowing again today.
Scandinavia, too, is getting some snow and Arein Sweden should pick up 10cm today and tomorrow to add to their 65cm base.
Across the Atlantic, Whistler is getting a dusting today and tomorrow, but high hopes of a major storm have failed to materialize. Snowbird in Utah looks more promising with up to 25cm promised for Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Our eyes this week are on Heavenly, Kirkwood, Northstarand the other resorts of Lake Tahoe from where Sean Newsom, one of our editors, is reporting this week. If I was a betting man, Sean – and spending a few days in one of the gambling capitals of the US it’s hard not to be – I’d say that the new snow cover is not for you. After a small chance of a few random flakes today you’ll get wind and you’ll get cold, and plenty of California sunshine, but no new snow this week.
|France: after some light snow today it will remain cold and sunny across most of the French Alps with plenty of good skiing to be had on well-groomed pistes as well as some powder opportunities. More snow is forecast for Thursday and Friday when a fresh front moves in and this has the potential to provide a reasonable accumulation.For the moment, snow depths remain excellent at altitude. Tignes has 20cm of fresh snow at Le Lac, bringing the depth here up to 128cm and 275cm on top of the Grande Motte. Above Val Thorens the snow is 125-235cm deep, and in Les Arcs it’s 100-197cm deep.|
|Switzerland: Conditions are very similar to those in France at the moment Currently, Andermatt has up to 90-400cm of settled snow, and Davos up to 60-124cm, while Verbier has 80cm at village level and 225cm up at Mont-Fort.|
|Austria: In post-Hahnenkamm Kitzbuhel there’s now 40cm in town and 140cm on the Horn. The clouds will clear as the week goes on and there shou;d be some great skiing beneath a blue sky. Currently, high-altitude Obergurgl has 10-214cm of snow, and the Skiwelt 635-135cm. St Anton has a respectable 60-170cm, but neighbourig Lech, where editor Felice Hardy was staying at sumptuous Chalet N at the weekend, it’s even snowier with 105-225cm.|
|Italy: There’s been fresh snow at altitude in many Italian resorts over the last week – and the Dolomites have had some of the best of it. There, Selva reports 55-145cm of settled cover. Above the Aosta Valley, Cervinia has 40-205cm of settled snow on its slopes.|
|Andorra: See our main report. It’s been an extraordinary few weeks in the Pyrenees with some superb piste skiing but an avalanche danger of 4/5 away from the marked runs. A thaw is on the way, but it is going to take a lot of sunshine to make inroads on a snowpack of this quality. Currently, the Grand Valira – Andorra’s biggest ski area comprising Soldeu-El Tarter and Pas de la Casa – reports 80-180cm of snow on its slopes.|
|Western USA: Currently, Kirkwood, California claims up to 260cm of settled cover. In Utah, Snowbird the snow report talks of 144cm, mid-mountain; in Jackson Hole in Wyoming that figure is 165cm and it looks like being snowy for the remainder of the week. Vail in Colorado has a mid-mountain base of 68cm. It’s been a dry winter here to date but Blue Sky Basin is open and the whole resort is reportedly skiing well.|
|Western Canada: Whistler has has had 31cm of snow in the past week. The mid-mountain snow depth there is 189cm. Fernie has picked up 80cm in seven days and the snowpack is 255cm deep. Above Lake Louise it’s 159cm in the Back Bowls.|