Here we go again, Snowfiends! Look what’s expected in the Alps today.
In a change to recent weather patterns, it looks as though the Italian Dolomites won’t be one of the chief beneficiaries of the storm. Most resorts there will pick up only 5-10cm of fresh snow. By contrast, over half a metre of the white stuff is expected in parts of the French Alps: along with stormy winds, which are bound to shut the higher lifts in many resorts. Visibility in the blizzards will be non-existent.
One of the annoying things about this weather front is that it will be followed by a strong southerly wind, known as the Foehn, which is going to drag temperatures up almost to spring levels. In France, for example, forecasters Meteo Chamonix reckon the freezing point will jump to 2000m on Friday and 2500m on Saturday, which will make the snow heavy and wet up to mid-mountain level in many resorts. Fortunately, more fresh snow will follow on Sunday, with a sharp drop in temperatures.
In the short term, off-pisters will need to be cautious. Across the northern French Alps, the heavy snow and strong winds are going to push the avalanche risk up to 4/5, which effectively rules out all off-piste skiing. Elsewhere, the risk is lower – in the Tirol, for example the local avalanche service reports the snowpack has been settling down in recent days. But don’t take my word for it. Always check the local warnings first – and hire a guide.
Here’s a quick survey of the day’s webcams and Facebook pix, starting with a pretty one from Serre Chevalier this morning. Here, the settled snowpack is 140-265cm deep.
Next up, below, is Meribel. In common with many French resorts, its fresh snow looks wet and heavy today. Currently the cover is 106-160cm deep.
Temperatures are clearly lower in Verbier than in Meribel today, where the snow is settling nicely in town. Here the cover is 45-145cm deep.
Below is high-altitude Cervinia. Clearly, not too many skiers fancy the conditions there today. The snow is currently 220-410cm deep there.
It’s a similar story in Madonna di Campiglio. Here the snow is 240-270cm deep.
Finally, this is high-altitude Obergurgl in Austria, where the storm’s grip appears considerably weaker than in the western Alps. The settled snow cover in the resort is 80-180cm deep.
Big dumps and mild temperatures in the western US
In the western US, the last week has been marked by some big snowfall totals. In California, Heavenly reported 94cm from the weekend storm, Snowbird in Utah had about the same, and in Colorado Breckenridge reports 106cm in the last week. There’s more snow expected in the Rockies over the next couple of days – but it will be mild, as it has been for a while. Expect wet, heavy snow on the lower runs in most resorts, and get as high as you can for the powder.
Here’s the latest video from Breck – which is claiming 746cm of snow so far this season.
Meanwhile, up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, they’ve have so much snow over the last fortnight, they’ve had to start shovelling it off the roof…
|France: cloudy, windy, blizzardy – that’s the picture in the French Alps today. Oh yes, and the avalanche risk will be up to 4/5 in many places by the end of the day. It is, however, fairly mild, and the snow at lower altitudes has been wet and heavy in places today. Currently, Val d’Isere reports 108-183cm of settled snow on its pistes, Val Thorens 100-200 and Montgenevre 150-180cm.
|Switzerland: the deepest snow is still in the southern and central resorts – although judging by the meaty dump Verbier is getting, that may change. Currently, little Andermatt has cover 95-400cm deep on its slopes. Meanwhile, in the west, Verbier reports cover 45-145cm deep, and in the north Laax has snow 30-145cm deep. Most resorts in the Swiss Alps should see more snow over the next four days.
|Austria: There was fresh snow across Austria at the weekend, which did wonders to refresh the pistes. But it’s missing out on the meat of the storm today, and most resorts should only see a dusting. Currently, in the north, the Skiwelt reports cover 40-70cm deep. By contrast, in Nassfeld in the south, it’s 190-430cm. Meanwhile, in the west St Anton reports 50-125cm of snow packed down on its pistes.
|Italy: What’s this? Italy isn’t getting the most snow from the latest storm? Still with so much snow in resorts right across the country, they could probably do with a break for now. Just to give you an idea of how deep the cover is little Madesimo reports a settled snowpack 300-500cm deep.
|Andorra: there was fresh snow earlier in the week in Andorra. Currently, Soldeu and Pas de la Casa in Grandvalira report 120-225cm of settled snow on their pistes. Across the border in Baqueira in Spain, the cover is 215-305cm deep.
|Western USA: everyone loves the heavy snow. But they’re not so sure about the mild temperatures. It’s likely to get warmer too, over the weekend. Currently, Breckenridge in Colorado has 231cm packed down, mid-mountain, Snowbird in Utah has 223cm, and Jackson Hole in Wyoming 185cm.
|Western Canada: Finally, after a dry start to 2014, western Canada is seeing some proper snow. Whistler has had 50cm in the last couple of days, and is expecting more at the weekend. It reports 173cm of settled cover mid-mountain. Inland, Revelstoke reports 43cm of new snow in 24hrs, and 202cm of settled cover. In Banff National Park, Lake Louise has had 10cm of new snow and reports 128cm of settled cover.