What’s better than getting all your hot cross buns and easter eggs on the same day?
I’ll tell you what: 35cm of fresh snow and sunshine.
That what was on offer up on the Stubai Glacier, south of Innsbruck yesterday morning, as the remains of yesterday’s storm cleared up.
Not all parts of Austria had heavy snow from this wintry burst of weather, which was confined to the eastern end of the Alps. But the Zillertal did; and pictured below was the sumptuous, mouthwatering scene in little Hochfugen this morning.
Don’t you just wish it was you on that slope? Looking at these pictures is making me ache for the snow, and the sense that the season is about to wind down makes the pain even sharper.
Please snow…don’t go.
Right: now I’ve got that out of my system let’s get back to business.
Currently, conditions are best at altitude in the resorts close to Innsbruck, Austria – thanks to the midweek snow. Elsewhere, spring-skiing conditions prevail, and in France today the freezing point is going to be up to 3000m; which means sunny slopes at all but the very highest elevations will be slushy by lunchtime. But that doesn’t mean there’s no decent skiing. In high-altitude resorts such as Tignes and Val Thorens you can still have a blast, as I discovered last week. All you need to do is follow the sunshine round the ski area, skiing each piste just as the cover begins to soften – and you’ll be able to enjoy a sumptuous and forgiving surface until 1.30pm.
In the eastern Alps, temperatures are lower, but the strong sunshine is still affecting the snow at lower altitudes. But that’s fine: because look what’s coming tomorrow…
Followed by this, on Saturday.
Another cold front is due in from the north, and for a couple of days the weather will be wintry again. In France, the freezing point will be down to 1800m for a time. After that, it’ll be getting warmer – but still changeable, with more snow expected midweek: although it’s likely to fall as rain on lower slopes.
Once Easter is out of the way, a lot of resorts will be shutting their lifts. But you’ll still be able to ski in a handful of resorts until May. Obergurgl, Cervinia, Val d’Isere, Ischgl, and parts of Chamonix are amongst those open till May 4. Tignes and Val Thorens are open until May 11, and several glacier ski areas will be continuing after that: including Hintertux and Zermatt.
Here’s a brief survey of the webcams today, starting with Val Thorens, where the snow is currently 85-190cm deep, on-piste.
Pictured below is Les Deux Alpes, where’s there’s a couple of metres of the white stuff still bedded down on the glacier. The resort closes on April 26.
Pictured below is Zermatt, where glacier skiing is on offer all year, weather permitting.
Below is Obergurgl in Austria, which closes on May 4, and had a top-up of snow on Wednesday. Currently, the cover there is 35-128cm deep, on-piste.
Finally, pictured below is the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale in Itay. Regular followers of our Snow Report will know that this part of Italy was walloped repeatedly by storms in the mid-winter, and there’s still more than five metres of snow bedded down up here as a result.
Still snowing in North America
Like me, you’ll probably have been salivating over the video and pictures coming out of Breckenridge in Colorado. That was Monday: and as is always the case at this time of the year, conditions have evolved quickly since then – with spring sunshine affecting the snow quality on lower slopes.
However, Colorado will see a little more snow at the weekend, with yet more to come next week, along with cooler weather. So those resorts still open (Breck closes on April 27) should see another powder day soon.
Meanwhile, up in Canada, it’s been snowing, too. In Banff National Park, Lake Louise has had 12cm in the last 24hrs and reports a mid-mountain snowpakc of 159cm. The resort closes on May 11.
|France: There’s still plenty of good skiing to be had in the high-altitude resorts, although the snow has thinned dramatically below 2000m in recent days. There should be a dusting of snow at the weekend – although more noticeable will be the short, sharp drop in temperatures. Currently, Val d’Isere reports 40-128cm of settled snow on its pistes. On the Grands Montets above Chamonix the snow report records 70-195cm of cover, on-piste.|
|Switzerland: Switzerland should do well from the snowfall forecast for the weekend. Currently, in Saas-Fee the cover is 30-328cm deep, on piste. Meanwhile, Verbier reports cover that is 10-150cm deep, and the descent all the way down into town is still in decent condition, although the snow is thin at the bottom.|
|Austria: see our main report. The area around Innsbruck has been the place to ski these last couple of days – provided you’ve got a little altitude in your resort. The weekend is looking promising too…Currently, Obergurgl reports 35-128cm of settled snow on its pistes, St Anton 15-125cm, and the Hintertux glacier up to four metres.|
|Italy: many of the lower ski areas in Italy have already shut their lifts (including those around the Sella Ronda in the Dolomities). However, at altitude, there’s still plenty of snow. Currently, in the Aosta Valley, Cervinia has 40-290cm of settled cover on its pistes. Meanwhile on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale there’s still 550-600cm of settled snow, after an exceptional winter.|
|Andorra: the season is winding down, and the Grandvalira ski area closes on April 20, after a good season – the second in a row. Currently, the snow in Soldeu and Pas de la Casa ranges between 40-150cm deep.|
|Western USA: see our main report. There was some cracking skiing to be had in the Colorado Rockies at the start of the week – although spring has begun to bite again these last three days. Meanwhile, in Utah, Snowbird currently has 271cm of settled snow, mid-mountain.|
|Western Canada: Whistler has cooled off this week and reports 15cm of fresh snow on its slopes. Currently, it has 243cm of settled snow, mid-mountain. Meanwhile, in Lake Louise, the mid-mountain snowpack is 159cm deep, mid-mountain.|