Pictured above is what spring skiing is all about: dazzling scenery, courtesy of the high Alps; heroic lift systems, which whisk you to places usually reserved for gods and ravens; and – best of all – fresh snow.
This particular slice of late-season heaven came courtesy of the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes at lunchtime today. Like all high-altitude resorts in the northern Alps, it’s had several top-ups of snow in the last three weeks – the most recent of which fell at the start of the week (with a dusting again yesterday). More is expected overnight and tomorrow, as our snow forecast for the Alps makes clear.
It probably won’t be as cold this weekend as first thought. According the French forecaster Meteo Chamonix, the freezing point won’t be dropping much below 1800m. However, at altitude, 10-30cm of snow looks likely to fall across a broad swathe of the region – which will make a great leaving present for Val d’Isere, Cervinia, Obergurgl, Verbier and the Grands Montets above Chamonix, all of which are closing on Sunday. All offer skiing up to – or above – the magic 3000m mark: and on the higher slopes the pistes are going to be in tip-top condition.
Here’s a quick sample of the cams this afternoon – as the weather begins to change in the west. First up is Val Thorens, where the cover is currently 80-190cm deep.
Pictured, below, is Cervinia, which now has a whopping 370cm on the highest slopes, thanks to several meaty late-season dumps.
Finally, pictured below is Obergurgl, where the snow is just 20cm deep on the lower pistes, and 131cm on top. Once the resort has closed, the action in Austria will switch to glacier areas such as the Hintertux, which is open all year and currently has 385cm of snow bedded down on its higher pistes.
More snow out west
It’s been a cracking week out in the American Rockies. Not that there are many resorts open to take advantage of the snow, mind. But in Utah Snowbird is still spinning its lifts – and after heavy snow on Monday, Tuesday turned out something like this…
The snow then moved on to Colorado. It wasn’t as heavy, but there was powder nevertheless in Arapahoe Basin yesterday morning – and big smiles from those lucky enough to ski it.
At the weekend, the action is due to switch to the Canadian Rockies, where Lake Louise in Banff National Park could see heavy snow at the start of its final week of skiing (it closes on May 11).
|France: see our main report. It won’t be quite as wintry in the French Alps tomorrow as first thought. But there’s still a decent top-up of snow expected above about 2000m. That should set up Val d’Isere nicely for its final weekend – on the upper half of the ski area at least. Currently, it has 10-115cmcm of settled snow on its pistes. On the Grands Montets above Chamonix, the snow report records 61-235cm of cover, on-piste. The lifts here will also be closing on May 4.|
|Switzerland: There’s lots of snow up on the glacier above Zermatt at the moment, thanks to several snowstorms which have really favoured this part of the Alps. Even at 2900m, the local snow report records 2m of cover. Meanwhile, at Verbier the snow 5-163cm deep. The lifts here close for the last time on Sunday.|
|Austria: fresh snow at altitude is setting up the glaciers nicely for the late spring and early summer. For example, the Stubai glacier has settled cover up to 365cm deep on the pistes.|
|Italy: In Cervinia the cover on the higher slopes is getting deeper and deeper in the wake of the all the recent snow – in fact, at 370cm off-piste, it’s nearly a metre deeper than it was at the beginning of the month. Meanwhile on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale there’s still 550-600cm of settled snow, after an exceptional winter.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are now closed.|
|Western USA: the season is winding down fast in America – although there’s no lack of cover in resorts still open. In Utah, for example, Snowbird currently has 284cm of settled snow mid-mountain, and fresh powder off-piste. Other ski areas still open include Timberline Lodge in Oregon, Mammoth in California and Loveland and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.|
|Western Canada: Whistler reports 11cm of new snow this week. Its mid-mountain snowpack is currently 189cm deep. They’ll be skiing in the resort until May 26. Meanwhile, in Lake Louise, the mid-mountain snowpack is 206cm deep, mid-mountain. The resort reports 20cm of snow in the last seven days.|