After a month of gloriously wintry weather, it looks as though spring has now sprung in the Alps. Today, the weather is mild and sunny, and at village level the temperatures are going to be balmy: +9C in Meribel, +8C in Verbier, +6C in Lech.
But it’s not going to last – in the short term at least. On Wednesday, a rather soggy weather front is going muscle its way into the Italian Alps. According to our Alpine snow forecast, it’s going to bring heavy snow to the south-western Alps at altitude, and rain at lower elevations. Then at the weekend colder, more wintry weather will blow in from the north and is likely to persist until the middle of the week.
Thereafter, the outlook is changeable to say the least. The mid-range forecasts keep changing their prognoses, but an extended period of high pressure doesn’t seem to be among them. At this stage, March looks like a season of ever-changing moods (and temperatures).
Below is a quick sample of the webcams today. Clearly it’s a day for spring-skiing tactics, and at least an hour on a deckchair somewhere, formulating hopelessly ambitious plans for the summer.
It’s snowing hard in Scandinavia
Meanwhile, up in Are, Sweden, it’s snowing hard today. “I got face shots just walking the dog,” said Helena Engelbrecht this morning. Which may be an slight exaggeration: but with 30cm expected to settle on the gorgeous upper slopes of the Areskutan over the next two days – and more to come on Wednesday – it’s going to be an exciting few days in the resort.
It’s been snowing hard in Canada too
This weekend was a memorable one in the Canadian Rockies, with many resorts getting a big dump on Friday, and a top-up on Saturday night. Up near Jasper, Marmot Basin’s snow report records 70cm of the white stuff since March 1. Further south, Lake Louise has had 65cm.
Up to 30cm of fresh snow in Colorado this morning
You’ll have seen from the February 28 snow report that the American Rockies are having regular top-ups of snow. The latest came on Sunday night, and left 28cm of fresh at Crested Butte and 23cm at Breckenridge. Colorado isn’t the only place getting the goodness: Jackson Hole, Wyoming reports 20cm this morning, too.
There’s also fresh snow in the Lake Tahoe resorts of California. The lovely, rootsy resort of Kirkwood, California, reports 15cm of fresh this morning, and there’s roughly the same amount in upmarket Northstar, where one of our editors Peter Hardy is skiing today. “We’ve got fresh powder and Californian sunshine this morning,” he reports. “There should be more snow midweek, too.”
|France: the snow’s still deep at altitude in France. Lower down, though, the cover is thinning in the warm sunshine. What’s more a snow-munching Foehn wind is going to blow from the south from Wednesday. There’s another bout of wintry weather in the forecast beyond that (see main report) but now’s the time to start focusing on high-altitude skiing to be sure of good-quality cover. In Val Thorens the top temperature today will be -3C. The snowpack is 155-330cm deep. In Flaine the snow’s 93-365cm deep.|
|Switzerland: bright sunshine and mild temperatures are the order of the day in Switzerland. Currently, Engelberg has 120-500cm of settled snow on its pistes, and a temperature of +4C at village level. In Davos it’s +8C in town and the snow is 81-156cm deep.|
|Austria: It’s a day of spring-like conditions in the Austrian Alps. Stay high for the best snow, and avoid sun-drenched slopes off-piste after late morning, as the warm weather is causing a lot of wet-snow slides. Currently, high-altitude Obergurgl has 105-250cm of snow, the Skiwelt 100-170cm and St Anton 75-225cm.|
|Italy: Last week saw fresh snow in many Italian resorts – but like everywhere else, the cover is now affected by the spring-like conditions. More snow is expected midweek, although it will be raining lower down. In the Dolomites, Canazei reports 45-170cm of settled cover. Above the Aosta Valley, Cervinia has 85-240cm of settled cover.|
|Andorra: there’s great cover across the pistes in Andorra’s ski resorts, although temperatures are rising again. Currently, the Grand Valira – Andorra’s biggest ski area – reports 140-250cm of snow on its slopes, and a top temperature of +4C at resort level.|
|Western USA: Conditions are very good in the Rockies right now, thanks to the frequent top-ups of snow. In Utah, Snowbird the snow report talks of 220cm, mid-mountain; in Jackson Hole in Wyoming that figure is 165cm, and in Breckenridge, Colorado 157cm. Meanwhile, above Lake Tahoe in California, Heavenly reports 106cm of settled snow.|
|Western Canada: See our main report. There’s a lot of fresh snow around in the Canadian Rockies at the moment. Meanwhile, on the coast, Whistler reports 124cm of new snow on the upper slopes in the last seven days – although it has been quite mild at resort level. The mid-mountain snow-pack is currently 272cm deep.|