Which is ironic, because there’s five days of winter predicted in the snow forecast for the Alps. A series of weather fronts will be sliding down from Scandinavia this week, and with a cold north-easterly wind blowing, snow is expected to fall down to 1500m.
Here’s today’s weather map, showing widespread snow across the northern Alps today.
And this is the snow forecast for Wednesday: less widespread but a whole lot heavier.
Increasingly, the snow is going to favour the eastern end of the region, and parts of Austria could see half a metre on Wednesday. That’ll do wonders for the glacier ski areas in Austria – places like the Hintertux, Stubai, Kauntertal and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers, which is where you’ll find the best skiing for the rest of the spring. But it’s going to prompt a few frustrated sighs in the low-lying ski areas further north. They could have done with snowfall like this in January and February…
In fact, there’s already been snow overnight. This is how Val Thorens was looking this morning, on the first day of its off-season.
Pictured below is Zermatt, in Switzerland, where it looks more like a chilly November morning than May. Currently, there are a handful of pistes open above Trockener Steg for skiing, but not on the glacier. On-piste, the snow is around 95cm deep.
Meanwhile, pictured below is the Stubai Glacier, south of Innsbruck, where 23km of pistes are open and the snow is 360cm deep. The clouds are just beginning to come down here, as the weather begins to change. It’s cold here today, given we’ve nearly reached at mid-May: -10C at the top of the ski area.
In the Rockies, there’s been more snow
As in the Alps, only a handful of resorts are open in North America now. Snowbird, in Utah, is one of them and has been having plenty of snow lately – 25cm of May 8, and more at the weekend. Yesterday, it was snowing hard in in Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, too…
Up in Canada, Lake Louise shut its lifts down for the last time yesterday – at the end of an excellent season which saw it post its highest-ever snowfall: 759cm, mid-mountain. For once, it was sunny rather than snowy…
Less than a month to go in the southern hemisphere
In the southern hemisphere, all three of the main skiing areas – the Southern Alps in New Zealand, the Snowy Mountains of Australia, and the Andes – have seen snowfall in the last couple of weeks, although it’s not always stuck around for long afterwards. Both Perisher in Oz and Coronet Peak in NZ are planning to open on June 7.
|France: there’s fresh snow at altitude in the French Alps today – and there will be more tomorrow. Pity the resorts are all shut now… However, Tignes, Val d’Isere and Les Deux Alpes will all be opening their glaciers in June for summer skiing.|
|Switzerland: parts of the Swiss Alps will see heavy snow this week – although only a handful of high-altitude lifts are still open. Currently, at Trockener Steg aboveZermatt there’s 95cm of snow bedded down at the moment and a handful of pistes to ski. The glacier isn’t currently open. There’s fresh snow at Engelberg Engelberg too, where you can ski until May 25.|
|Austria: with Obergurgl now closed, the action has shifted to the glaciers in Austria – and they’re looking forward to a snowy week worthy of winter. For example, the Kitzsteinhorn has 20cm of new snow and settled cover up to 270cm deep on the pistes.|
|Italy: with Cervinia now closed, skiing has now retreated to a few glacier lift systems in the high Italian Alps. On the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale, for example, there’s still 400-450cm of settled snow, and two pistes open for skiing.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are now closed.|
|Western USA: the season is winding down fast in America – but at Snowbird in Utah, the snow is getting deeper, rather than thinning out, thanks to a week of wintry weather. Currently the mid-mountain snowpack is 297cm deep. Other ski areas still open include Timberline Lodge in Oregon, Mammoth in California and Loveland and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.|
|Western Canada: in Banff National Park Sunshine Village is open until Sunday and has 210cm of settled cover, on piste. Cumulative snowfall so far is 884cm. Meanwhile, west-coast Whistler reports just 6cm of new snow in the last seven days. Its mid-mountain snowpack is currently 164cm deep. They’ll be skiing in the resort until May 26.|