Last week’s heavy snow in the Alps is a fading memory – blasted away by strong southerly winds.
As regular visitors to Welove2ski’s Snow Report will know, last week saw a couple of big dumps in the Alps. Temperatures were fairly low too: so despite the strong spring sunshine, anyone lucky enough to be out skiing when the skies cleared had a couple of memorable mornings. Monday and Wednesday in particular were miraculous – characterised by empty slopes and knee-deep powder.
But this is the end of April – and the weather can change in an instant. Almost as soon as the sun came out the wind swung round to the south and ever since it’s blowing strong and warm. Even in mid-winter a southerly wind (know as the Foehn in the Alps) is a snow-eater, and it’s been gobbling up the snow on lower slopes and turning all but the highest runs wet and heavy. There’s been rain at lower altitudes, too, and the visibility has been pretty ropey at times. Anyone who heard about the fresh snow last week and has rushed to the mountains imagining they would find winter will have been disappointed by what they found.
Here’s how Tignes was looking this morning:
Of course, nearly all Alpine ski resorts have now closed. The last shut over the course of the next nine days. 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, or targeting the resorts of the southern hemisphere.
The season’s winding down fast in North America too. In Utah, Snowbird is open till May 20, and in Canada Lake Louise closes on May 6 and Whistler on May 28. Whistler is due fresh snow over the next couple of days – but only on the top half of the mountain. Lower down, it’s going to be raining.
|France: See our main report. Last week’s fanstastic late-season conditions have been replaced by a snow-gobbling Foehn wind. Sadly, the time to find powder was last week, not now.Currently, high-altitude Val Thorens reports 240cm packed down on the higher runs, and 135cm lower down.|
|Switzerland: As in France, the Foehn has been spoiling the newly-fallen snow on all but the highest slopes. Still, there’s plenty of cover at altitude. AboveEngelberg there’s a whopping six metres of snow on the glacier. AboveZermatt there’s 330cm of snow on the glacier.|
|Austria: 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, the season runs till May 6 in Cervinia, and there’s still 330cm of snow on the highest runs. Don’t expect to see much there at the moment though – heavy snow is expected today with rain at resort level.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski areas are closed.|
|Western USA: The season is winding down fast in America now – and at the moment it looks as though the late-season resorts won’t be open for much longer either. In Utah, Snowbird often stays open into June, at the weekends at least, but is scheduled to close on May 20 this time round.|
|Western Canada: In western Canada, Whistler’s is due to get more snow over the next couple of days. It’s turned mild there, though, and the precipitation will fall as rain on the bottom half of the slopes. On the upper slopes, the cover is still 288cm deep.|