Fresh snow is expected across the Alps this week. It won’t be quite as heavy as we first expected, but there’ll be more than enough to freshen up the pistes. A second wave of the white stuff should follow on Friday, too.
Check out tomorrow’s snow forecast for the Alps. Just as the ski season retreats to the very highest resorts and the glacier ski areas, a wave of cool, snowy weather is due to cross the region.
It will be preceded by rain today on all but the highest slopes, but tonight a cold front will arrive (a little later than first thought), and temperatures will drop. In France, the freezing point will be at 1600m tomorrow, and at 1700m in Austria, and 10-20cm of the white stuff looks likely at altitude, with significantly more in a few spots.
According to our snow forecast, there should be a second wave of snow on Thursday night and Friday.
This will be of little interest to the vast majority of ski resorts, which have now shut down their lifts for the season. The latest closures include St Anton, Obergurgl, Lech, Courchevel, Meribel, Verbier and Les 2 Alpes.
Now only a hardcore of high-altitude resorts remain – including Val d’Isere, Tignes, Val Thorens, Cervinia, Zermatt, Ischgl, the Hintertux, the Stubai, and the Kitzsteinhorn. But if the weather unfolds as predicted you’ll be able to snatch some sweet, cold-snow turns on their slopes this week – especially above the 2500m mark. Although you’ll have to pick your moment with care: visibility is going to be non-existent for much of the week as the weather fronts roll through.
This coming weekend, Val d’Isere, Ischgl and the Grands Montets above Chamonix will be closing for the season, and Tignes and Val Thorens will follow on May 10. However, several glacier areas will still be open, and a couple – at Zermatt and Hintertux – keep going all year (although there will be some lift maintenance at Zermatt between May 3 and 24). A few glaciers reopen for a short summer-skiing season as well.
For details of the best resorts in which to make your summer turns, check out our guide to summer skiing.
Here’s a quick squizz at this morning’s webcams, starting with the view from the Bellevarde above Val d’Isere. Note the dusting of fresh snow on the roofs here. Currently the cover is 32-138cm deep.
Welove2ski editor Peter Hardy is out in Val d’Isere today and has been struck by how quiet the resort is. “The mountain is almost deserted,” he reports. “Often you find yourself to be the only skier on a run from top to bottom. This is good for us, but not so good for the resort. However, next April Val plans to halve the lift pass for the last two weeks of the season in order to attract more spring skiers for a final fling.”
He’s also looking forward to fresh snow overnight. “Conditions are excellent and you can still ski back into town. But the best runs are above 2500m and there’s heavy slush on the lowest slopes.
“With a bit of luck there’ll be 30-50cm of fresh stuff by morning and I’ll be breaking out the powder skis,” he says.
Meanwhile, pictured below is Cervinia, where daily operations finish on May 3 – although the lifts will be opening at weekends till the end of May. Snow is already falling here, and the resort should see significant accumulations of the white stuff by the end of the week. The cover here is currently 20-225cm deep.
Meanwhile, here’s a shot to remind us why we love the mountains so much…Taken from the Pitztal glacier in the Tirol this morning. Here, the snow is over three metres deep, and the lifts will be running until May 10.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic…
|France: the season has now boiled down to just a few high-altitude ski areas in France. But from time to time this week it’s going feel like winter, with fresh snow expected and the freezing point down at 1600m. We’re not expecting a big dump: 10-20cm of new snow looks likely in most places, but that will still make a difference. Whenever skies clear, there’s going to be some lovely skiing on-piste, especially above the 2500m. Take care off-piste though: the fresh snow is likely to bond poorly with the existing cover, and the avalanche risk will rise sharply as a result. Currently, Val Thorens reports 85-200cm of snow, on piste. The Grands Montets sector above the Chamonix has 70-175cm of cover.|
|Switzerland: as in France, the season is winding down fast in Switzerland, but there’s still plenty of snow at altitude, and there should more as a result of this week’s weather. Currently Zermatt reports a 240cm of snow at 2900m, while Engelberg has 220cm of mid-mountain snow, and 350cm at the top.|
|Austria: fresh snow is expected across Austria over the next two days, which will be welcome on the glaciers. Currently, on the Hintertux glacier, the snow is up to 290cm deep on the pistes. Meanwhile above Kaprun, the Kitzsteinhorn glacier reports snow 200-360cm deep.|
|Italy: For best skiing, head to Cervinia, which shares its ski area with neighbouring Zermatt, and offers some of the highest slopes in the Alps. Here, the snow is 20-225cm deep – and there should be plenty more as a result of the snow in this week’s forecast. Meanwhile on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale, there are three pistes open and the snow is 350-400cm deep.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts have now closed for skiing.|
|Western USA: there was fresh snow in both Utah and Colorado over the weekend – continuing the snowy theme that’s settled in since Easter. It’s a shame: they could have done with this weather a month ago. In Utah, local snow guru Evan Thayer reckons that, in terms of snowfall, this has been the worst-ever Utah season. Among the handful of resorts still open there is Snowbird where the mid-mountain cover is 208cm deep. Meanwhile, in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin reports 142cm of mid-mountain cover on its trails.|
|Western Canada: April has been one of the best months, snow-wise, in western Canada this season, especially in the Rockies, where Sunshine Village currently has 167cm of settled snow on its trails. Meanwhile, nearer the coast, Whistler has now shut the lifts on Blackcomb mountain. They reopen to skiers on June 20 for the short glacier season. Whistler mountain will be open until May 18, and reports a mid-mountain snowpack of 178cm.|