There was moderate to heavy snowfall across much of the Alps on Tuesday and Wednesday – and it fell to the valley floor even in low-lying resorts. In the Austrian Tirol, there was 20-40cm in most places, 10-25cm across much of Switzerland (with more in the west), and 20-50cm across much of the French Alps.
There’s been more snow across the Italian Alps too – to add to Sunday’s significant dump.
Now the sun’s out in many places. Temperatures are low, and it’s a glorious day to be skiing on-piste.
Off-piste, conditions are trickier, of course. Some of the most dangerous are currently in the Tirol, where the snowpack is extremely unstable on the higher slopes. Here, the avalanche risk is 4/5, which rules out off-piste skiing. Elsewhere, it’s generally 3/5, which is still considerable. The snow is starting to settle in the sunshine, but there’s a lot of dangerous slabby snow about, thanks to the high winds of recent days. If you’re tempted by all the fresh powder, hire a guide to keep you safe.
Here’s a short spin through the morning’s photos so you can see just how magnificent the Alps look today. As you’ll see from the current snow depth totals, the deepest cover is in the western Alps (although Austria’s Arlberg can match those totals – in Warth, for example, it’s 215cm deep on the higher pistes).
This was how Courchevel in France looked first thing, before some high-altitude cloud moved in. The snow here is 129-180cm deep.
Pictured below is Tignes, with the sunshine more watery. Here, the settled cover is 134-235cm deep.
This was Cervinia in Italy a little earlier today. The resort reports 50-240cm of settled snow.
Below is how it was looking in Verbier, Switzerland, where the cover is 27-200cm deep.
Below are the slopes above Samnaun in Switzerland, which shares its ski area with Ischgl, in Austria. Here, there’s 85-115cm of settled snow on the higher pistes.
Pictured below is Soll, in the Skiwelt, where the snow is currently 55-65cm deep.
Below is the view of the Brenta Dolomites from Madonna di Campiglio in Italy.
And to finish, this is Cortina d’Ampezzo, in the eastern Dolomites.
There’s more snow in the forecast, too, especially in the west. The French Alps are likely to be walloped over the weekend, and it may create some problems at airports and on the roads as the hectic half-term holiday gets underway. Sunday is likely to be the trickier day of the two, as Saturday will be fairly mild and at lower altitudes there’s going to be some rain. Temperatures will drop during the day, and there could be 50-100cm of snow on higher slopes by the time the skies clear.
Here’s Welove2ski’s snow forecast for Saturday.
On Monday, more widespread snow is expected across the northern half of the region, this time favouring Switzerland and Austria. Beyond that, it’s hard to be certain but it looks as though more milder and settled weather will take over.
Meanwhile, in North America…
The western states of America are dominated by mild, sunny weather. It’s the kind of settled spell which hasn’t been seen for weeks, and with a few minor interruptions, it could last until February 25. After all the snow around Christmas, and in the second half of January, the region’s many powder hounds shouldn’t really complain. Though they probably will…
Here’s how it was looking in Vail, Colorado yesterday. It was a good day to be cruising the pistes.
Meanwhile, further north, in Whistler, Canada, things were more unstettled yesterday – with rain on the lower slopes and snow higher up. Here’s how it was looking yesterday afternoon.
It’s going to be mild again today and tomorrow before Saturday sees a welcome drop in temperature.
|France: it’s remarkable how the Alpine weather always seems to behave itself in early February – and produce snow just in time for the half term holiday. This winter is no exception: though there may be too much of the white stuff at the weekend, as holidaymakers make the journey into their resorts. Currently, Val d’Isere has 134-235cm of settled cover, on-piste, and Chamonix 180-270cm on Flegere.
|Switzerland: conditions across the northern and western resorts of Switzerland are quite similar to the northern resorts of France: the snow’s fresh and deep – again, and the weather spectacular. More snow is expected at the weekend in the western resorts, though it’ll be much drier in the east. There, the next serious snowfall is expected on Monday and Tuesday. Currently, Verbier, reports 27-200cm of cover, on piste, and Engelberg 30-340cm.
|Austria: Austria’s resorts enjoyed yesterday’s snow, which pepped up the pistes at both high and low altitudes. With the exception of the Arlberg resorts, they’ll miss out on much of the weekend snow – although that should at least mean the cover will stabilise, off-piste. Currently, the Skiwelt has 55-60cm of cover, and St Anton 95-240cm.
|Italy: over the last week, Mother Nature has finally got her act together in Italy. Many resorts have had 40-50cm new snow (and some nearly double that) – adding a soft and grippy surface to the already reliable base created by the snow cannons. Currently, high-altitude Cervinia reports 50-240cm of settled snow. In Canazei in the Dolomites it’s 25-95cm deep.
|Andorra: conditions in the Pyrenees have significantly improved, thanks to fresh snow at the weekend, and again yesterday. In Andorra, Pas de la Casa has up to 70cm of snow packed down, on-piste.
|Western USA: see our main report. The second half of January saw the snowstorms coming thick and fast across the American west. But Mother Nature is taking a breather now. Currently, in Colorado, Breckenridge reports a healthy 134m of mid-mountain snow, in Utah Snowbird a whopping 213cm, and in California Heavenly has 210cm.
|Western Canada: Whistler had rain on its lower slopes yesterday, but there’s been snow higher up, and more is expected at the weekend. Currently, the mid-mountain snowpack is 230cm deep. In Banff National Park, Lake Louise reports just 16cm of new snow this week, and a mid-mountain snowpack of 100cm deep.