Anybody who’s taken their family skiing in the Alps this week should be feeling pretty smug today. The sun’s out. The snow is soft and deep. Temperatures are low, but not frigid. You couldn’t hope for a better start to half-term week.
The superb conditions come in the wake of a wonderfully wintry spell across the region, which started at the beginning of February. It’s the first extended period of cold (and snowy) weather we’ve had since early December, and it’s due to continue until the end of the week at least.
In fact, it’s going to get slightly more wintry than most family skiers would like – thanks to a noticeable drop in temperature on Tuesday night/Wednesday. A dusting of snow is then likely in Austria and parts of eastern Switzerland and in France they’re expecting a sharp easterly wind known, ironically, as “La Bise” – the kiss. The kids will have to be wrapped up warm.
Thereafter, on Saturday and Sunday it looks as though the southern half of the Alps will see snow. In places, it could be heavy. Keep your eyes on our snow forecast for updates.
Here’s a quick sample of today’s eye-watering webcam shots. Pretty amazing, huh?
In the Pyrenees, a thaw
Regular followers of our snow report will know that first weeks of 2013 have been extraordinary ones for the Pyrenees. On February 11, Baqueira in Spain reported over nine metres of fresh snow in less than a month, and 11 metres of snow since the start of the season. Needless to say, the snow is very deep across the whole of the range – but its quality is now being affected by a nasty thaw. In Soldeu in Andorra the forecast today is for a top temperature of +10C. Ouch!
A dusting of snow in Scandinavia
I had a memorable week skiing Are in Sweden last week – most of the time beneath blue skies. The clouds are back today, and 1-5cm of new snow is expected – with a little more to come later in the week.
The forecast is looking interesting across the Pond
Across the Pond, Colorado’s season took a turn for the better last week with up to half a metre of snow in places (Breckenridge was one resort which did particularly well) – and there’s been more overnight. Two more snowy spells are expected, according to Joel Gratz’s excellent blog: on Wednesday (favouring Telluride) and then at the weekend across the whole of the state.
California should also see snow: the lovely, roosty resort Kirkwood, south of Lake Tahoe, is expecting a foot of snow on Tuesday, and there should be more at the weekend.
|France: see our main report. It’s another cracking day in the French Alps. The snow’s soft and grippy on-piste. Off-piste, the avalanche risk is fairly low. Above Val Thorens the snow is now up to 170-345cm deep, and in Val d’Isere it’s 146-283cm deep.|
|Switzerland: bright sunshine and soft snow are the rule across Switzerland at the moment. Currently, Andermatt has up to 118-420cm of settled snow, and Davos up to 85-164cm.|
|Austria: it’s a very similar scene in Austria to France and Switzerland – and the resorts here are expecting a top-up of snow on Tuesday night, to boot. Currently, high-altitude Obergurgl has 99-225cm of snow, the Skiwelt 95-165cm and St Anton 90-250cm.|
|Italy: many resorts in Italy had a top-up of snow at the beginning of the week and there’s more in the forecast this weekend. There’s good skiing, on-piste, across the country, although snow depths aren’t as impressive as they are in the northern Alps. In the Dolomites, Selva reports 60-160cm of settled cover. Above the Aosta Valley, Cervinia has 60-205cm of settled cover.|
|Andorra: see our main report. Andorra’s ski resort have deep cover on their pistes, but it’s spring-like today, and the quality of the snow will be suffering. Currently, the Grand Valira – Andorra’s biggest ski area – reports 140-250cm of snow on its slopes.|
|Western USA: See our main report. Conditions in the Rocky-Mountain resorts have again improved, thanks to last week’s snow, and there should be more midweek. In Utah, Snowbird the snow report talks of 187cm, mid-mountain; in Jackson Hole in Wyoming that figure is 142cm, and in Vail, Colorado 99cm. Meanwhile, above Lake Tahoe in California, Heavenly reports 107cm of settled snow.|
|Western Canada: It’s been a dry week in Whistler, which reports just 6cm of fresh snow in the last seven days. Mid-mountain, the cover is 186cm deep. Fernie reports 11cm of snow in the last week and a settled snowpack of 226cm. Above Lake Louise the snow is 155cm deep, mid-mountain.|