Winter’s last hurrah
Crikey, Snowfiends. We don’t know if any of you are out there watching: you may be too busy baling water back in Blighty, as yet another rainstorm washes through. But out here in the French Alps – where two of Welove2ski’s editors are currently based – the weather’s been turned on its head. Ever since Easter weekend there’s been snow at altitude, and it’s been getting more, rather than less, snowy. Here is our snow report for April 24.
It’s snowed and snowed and snowed
We arrived in Les Arcs at the weekend to stories of a superb weekend of powder skiing from our blogger, Tim Wilson. There was fresh snow again overnight on Sunday and then last night another storm blew in which hasn’t let up in nearly 24 hours. There must be 40cm of fresh out there already.
Your snow correspondent has been to the mountains ten times this winter – and he hasn’t seen powder like it all season.
Of course, this being the last week of the season in Les Arcs, there’s hardly anyone around to make use of the snow. We just wish it had come in March, and continued that glorious run of snowstorms which made the first half of winter so memorable. Big dumps in late April aren’t much use to anyone except the locals.
A few ski areas are still open
If you do fancy a last blast before the end of winter, then there are a few ski areas still open next week. Obergurgl and Val d’Isere close on May 1, Cervinia on May 6, and Tignes and Val Thorens on May 8. After that, it’ll be a case of targeting the glacier-based lift systems, such as the Hintertux.
However, don’t get your hopes up too high about the quality of the snow. The time to ski the powder will be tomorrow morning, as soon as the skies clear. Even at the best of times, April sun in the Alps can spoil powder in a couple of hours and, to make things worse, Meteo Chamonix reckons the temperature’s going to lurch upwards very quickly, and stay mild through the weekend. So you’ll have to ski high if you want to find powder.
Here’s how it was looking elsewhere in the French Alps today
Meanwhile, up in Are, Sweden, there’s spring skiing at the bottom of the mountain, and wintry skiing at the top. Here’s how the snow was looking at altitude on Sunday when the sun came out.
Spring weather in Canada
Finally, across the Atlantic, Canada’s snowy season has turned into spring, and ever at Lake Louise (closes May 6) – which broke its snowfall record this winter – the temperature today is +6C.
|France: See our main report. The ski season is ending with a bang and anyone lucky enough to be skiing there in the next day or so will have a memorable experience. Thereafter, a marked thaw is expected.|
|Switzerland: There’s fresh snow here too. Above Engelberg there’s a whopping six metres of snow on the glacier. In Verbier, on the Col de Gentianes at 2950m, there’s 305cm of snow.|
|Austria: Above high-altitude Obergurgl there’s plenty of fresh snow and the cover is currently 85-190cm deep. The Hintertux glacier has 375cm of snow packed down on its highest runs.|
|Italy: Across the Italian Alps the ski season is all but over. However, aboveCervinia, there’s some cracking skiing today, with 70cm on the lower pistes and 355cm higher up.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski areas are closed.|
|Western USA: The season is winding down fast in America now – with many resorts closed for the season, or continuing only at the weekends. In California, for example, Heavenly has extended its season but only to April 20-22 and 27-29. The snowpack there is up to a metre deep – and thinning fast in the spring sunshine.
Meanwhile, in Utah, Snowbird still has a few weeks left to run and reports a snowpack 210cm deep, mid-mountain.
|Western Canada: In western Canada, Whistler’s storming end to the season has run out steam – temporarily we hope. There’s been only 27cm of fresh snow in the last week, but the snowpack on the upper half of the ski area is holding up well. It’s still 300cm deep. The last lifts in the resort close on May 28.|