You never know with spring. Sometimes it gets hold of a region and squeezes the life out of a ski season before the end of March. In other years, it has a much looser grip.
In Colorado this year, it’s been particularly feeble so far. Most resorts shut down their lifts on April 7 or 14: but that hasn’t stopped the snow from falling, and there have been several memorable powder days. Thank heavens Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are still open. Otherwise, in the wake of an iffy first half of the ski season, the sense of injustice would have been unbearable.
The latest weather front moved in on May 1, and stalled right over the top of Loveland. As a result, the resort’s’ snow report is claiming 43cm of the white stuff in the last 24 hours and 60cm in 48 hours. A-Basin has had slightly less but still enough for the resort to claim two powder days in a row. The hope now is that the morning will be cloudy and cool, allowing the snow to stay light and fluffy for as long as possible. As soon as the sun comes out, it’ll start to humidify and thicken.
Loveland shuts on May 5, so this looks like the last hurrah for the ski area this season. A-Basin is hoping to stay open until June 2.
There’s been snow in the Canadian Rockies this week too. Below is a picture from the base area of Lake Louise, taken on Tuesday. The resort has had 21cm of snow in the last five days. Today the sun’s out and the temperature is +11C, and the last day of skiing is on May 5. Neighbouring Sunshine Village stays open till May 20.
Meanwhile, in the Alps, the end of the conventional ski season is almost upon us. Val d’Isere and Cervinia are closing this weekend. Val Thorens and Tignes will shut on May 12. After that, the action will shift to the glacier ski areas – such as Hintertux, the Stubai glacier and Zermatt. After a generally cool and snowy spring the cover up there is in good nick. Fingers crossed it stays that way long into summer.
Here’s a quick sample of the day’s webcams. Clearly it’s been a better morning in the west than in the east, although there’s the chance that thunderstorms will bubble up in the afternoon - as they’ve done for much of the week. Temperatures are pretty mild and the snowpack is not refreezing overnight below 2400-2800m, depending on the location. You need to be skiing as close to 3000m as you can manage to get decent conditions, and even so you’ll be skiing spring snow rather than powder.
Meanwhile, check out video from Val Thorens yesterday. Great water-skiing guys, but actually the weather looks pretty wild: not quite the t-shirts-and-shorts conditions you were probably hoping for when you planned the shoot…
|France: see our main report. It’s been a long, snowy season, and there’s plenty of the white stuff about, at altitude – but it is wet and heavy below about 2500m. It’s been a stormy week, but the weather should stabilise at the weekend. More unsettled and stormy weather is expected on Monday.|
|Switzerland: it’s been rather stormy in western Switzerland – just like France. Only a handful of ski areas are open now, and you need to be at altitude to find snow that isn’t wet and heavy from dawn to dusk. Lightning bolts permitting, Zermatt is the place to be at the moment, thanks to the fact you can ski over into Cervinia.|
|Austria: In Austria, the mainstream season is now over the the action has shifted to the glaciers. On the Hintertux glacier the snow is up to 305cm deep, and the temperature right at the top is just above freezing. There’s the chance of a thunderstorm this afternoon.|
|Italy: the ski season has retreated to the highest resorts in Italy – for example, Cervinia and Val Senales. In the latter, the last fresh snow fell on April 21, and the cover is up to 350cm deep.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are now closed for the season.|
|Western USA: see our main report. It’s been a snowy end to the season in the Rockies. Above Salt Lake City, Snowbird is still spinning its lifts and reports 239cm of settled snow, mid-mountain. In Colorado, Arapahoe Basin reports cover 160cm deep, mid-mountain, and nearly 20cm of fresh powder this morning.|
|Western Canada: even in the Canadian Rockies, the season is winding down: Lake Louise is closing on May 5 – although neighbouring Sunshine Village still has another fortnight to run after that. Above Whistler, Whistler Mountain is closed for skiing, but Blackcomb mountain will remain open until May 27.|