We’re switching focus to the USA to start today’s Snow Report – because Utah has just been hit by one of those April snowstorms that has everyone rubbing their eyes in disbelief. As is often the case with Utah snow, the Little Cottonwood Canyon resorts of Snowbird and Alta have had the best of it. By the end of yesterday, Snowbird was reporting 40 inches/102cm in 24 hours.
Here’s how it was looking next door in Alta.
Snowbird says yesterday was the deepest day of the season so far. That’s brilliant news of course. But everyone’s rather wishing there’d been more storms like this in January, Februay and March. As local snow forecaster Evan Thayer said, “This is what we’ve been waiting for… Unfortunately it had to come now, when so many of the resorts are closed.”
It looks as though Colorado will be getting some of this snow too, although it’s unlikely to be as heavy as in Utah. Still, it should produce some powder for the weekend – and provide a tasty send-off for resorts such as Breckenridge, Vail, and Copper Mountain, which are all closing on April 19.
There should be a little fresh snow in the Alps, too
After more than a week of dazzling sunshine and spectacular mountain views, the weather is on the turn in the Alps. I’m currently in the high-altitude resort of Tignes, which shares its ski area with Val d’Isere, and we’ve got grey skies and flat light, as a weather front moves in from the south-west. If Welove2ski’s snow forecast for the Alps is on target, we could see heavy snow tomorrow.
If you’re wondering why the snow is so scattered on the map above, it’s because it’s going to be restricted to areas above 2500m at first. Lower down, it’ll be raining, and it’ll be a tough day for skiing. But on Saturday the skies should clear – at which point, anyone in a high-altitude resort (which is the only kind of resort to be skiing in at this time of year) should ride the lifts to the higher slopes and get stuck into the fresh snow.
We’re expecting changeable conditions between Sunday and Tuesday too – with the chance of a cooler spell on Tuesday, and widespread snow in Austria and Switzerland. This is likely to be followed by a return to sunny and mild weather.
Meanwhile, in Canada…
This was Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, yesterday. The resort reports 58cm of new snow in the last week. It’s been a memorable April so far in Banff National Park.
|France: The last ten days in France have been characterised by clear skies. The freezing point has bobbed about a bit though, and generally it hasn’t been warm as you might expect in mid-April. That said, the only place to be skiing has been above 2000m. Spring-skiing tactics have been essential if you want to avoid skittering around on ice in the morning and wallowing in slush in the afternoon.
The next few days will see much more varied weather with heavy rain at lower altitudes – but there will be snow higher up tomorrow and on Monday. Temperatures will drop back too. Currently, in high-altitude Val Thorens, the snow is 110-225cm deep. Meanwhile in Val d’Isere the snow is 72-177cm deep.
|Switzerland: conditions in Switzerland are similar to those in France. Given the time of year, there’s plenty of snow at altitude, but very little below 1800m. There should be some snow tomorrow, with another fall on Monday night. Currently Verbier reports a mid-mountain snow depth of 158cm, and 260cm at the top, while Engelberg has 220cm of mid-mountain snow, and 360cm at the top.|
|Austria: Austria currently has the deepest cover in the Alps, thanks to the snow just before Easter – but the only place to be skiing now is at altitude. There should be fresh snow in Obergurgl and on the glaciers on Friday/Saturday, and again on Monday/Tuesday. Currently, on the Hintertux glacier, the snow is up to 290cm deep on the pistes. Meanwhile on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun, the snow is 200-350cm deep.|
|Italy: lift systems are closing quickly across the Italian Alps now that Easter is done and dusted. For the best snow, and the largest number of pistes still open, head to Cervinia, which shares its skiing with neighbouring Zermatt, and offers some of the highest slopes in the Alps. Here, the snow is 45-270cm deep. Expect a top-up over the next four days, too.|
|Andorra: sad to say, the ski season is now over in Andorra…|
|Western USA: see our main report. Utah has just had a big dump, and Colorado should see fresh snow today and tomorrow. After April 19, only a handful of ski areas in Colorado – such as Arapahoe Basin – will still be open. Currently, in Vail, Colorado, the mid-mountain snowpack is 94cm deep. In Utah, Snowbird has 241cm of settled mid-mountain snow.|
|Western Canada: April has been one of the best months, snow-wise, in western Canada this season, especially in the Rockies, where Lake Louise has 169cm of settled snow on its mid-mountain pistes. Meanwhile, nearer the coast, Whistler reports 39cm of fresh snow in the last week and a mid-mountain snowpack that’s 205cm deep.|