It’s April 5. So we shouldn’t be surprised that conditions in the Alps are see-sawing about all over the place at the moment. The week started in fine late-season form – as detailed in our April 2 snow report. But since then an area of low pressure has been moving through northern Italy – and the weather’s turned mild, damp and murky. Up high, low cloud has made visibility difficult. Lower down, the snow’s been heavy and sugary: it’s been a good day to knock off early and throw yourself into the nearest bar, or indoor pool.
Thankfully, another change is on the cards, with clearer skies and lower temperatures are in the Alpine forecast this weekend. Then, on Wednesday, it’s due to warm up again, especially in the west. The French forecasters Meteo Chamonix expect the freezing point to rise to 2300m by April 10. There’s no doubting that – thanks to a memorable February and March – the snow is much deeper than it should be in April. But if you’re planning one final late-season trip – tempted by the dirt-cheap holiday packages on offer, and the thought of how miraculous April skiing can be when the snow’s right – you’ve got to aim for a high-altitude resort and be prepared for the odd no-visibility day. Check out our guide to spring skiing resorts for some tips!
Meanwhile, across the Pond, the weather in the resorts of the American and Canadian west is about to get interesting, after a prolonged spell of mild weather. It’ll start with squally snow showers this weekend, and follow with a big storm in Colorado on Monday and Tuesday, with over a foot of snow expected in places.
|France: see our main report. Some resorts saw half a metre of fresh snow at the end of last week, but its condition has been affected by the latest mild spell, which has been accompanied by a southerly foehn wind. Colder, clearer conditions are expected at the weekend – but you’ll have to ski at the top of your lift system, on sheltered, north-facing slopes to find proper, wintry snow. That said, the cover is deep for the time of year. Up high, Val Thorens’ snow report talks of 160-360cm of cover. In Tignes the snow’s 148-310cm deep.|
|Switzerland: as in France, it’s been a mild and murky day, with the temperature up to +7C this afternoon in Verbier. There, the snow is currently 75-285cm deep on-piste. Meanwhile in the east, St Moritz reports a settled snowpack of 20-160cm.|
|Austria: it’s cooler in Austria than the western Alps at the moment. However, you still need to get up high and stick to sheltered, shady slopes to find proper wintry snow. Clearer weather is expected at the weekend, and it will be colder, too. Currently, high-altitude Obergurgl has 69-182cm of settled snow, and a high of +1C. St Anton reports 60-240cm of settled cover on its pistes. On Sunday, a high of just -3C is expected in Obergurgl – an effect of the short-lived cold spell we’re expecting.|
|Italy: There’s been snow at altitude across the Italian Alps again – but not in the same quantities as were seen in the Dolomites on Sunday, when up to 40cm fell in 24 hours. Currently, Canazei reports 45-235cm of settled cover. Above the Aosta Valley, Cervinia reports 100-320cm of settled snow, and today saw a top temperature of +6C.|
|Andorra: it’s mild in the Pyrenees too – though not nearly as warm as it can be in April. The Grand Valira – Andorra’s biggest ski area – is staying open until April 28 and reports 120-230cm of settled snow on its slopes.|
|Western USA: it’s been mild in the resorts of the American west – but snow is now expected, especially in Colorado. Temperatures will drop at the start of next week too. Today, Snowbird in Utah reports 5cm of fresh on its upper slopes, and 231cm of settled cover, mid-mountain. In Jackson Hole, Wyoming – which closes for the season on Sunday – that figure is 144cm, and in Breckenridge, Colorado it’s 170cm.|
|Western Canada: it was a mild and sunny Easter in Whistler, where the mid-mountain snowpack is now 228cm deep. The weekend should see fresh snow on the top half of the mountain. Meanwhile, in Lake Louise, in Banff National Park, top temperature at the base of the trails is likely to be +2C. There, the snow is 159cm deep, mid-mountain.|