It’s almost over. Five key spring-skiing hubs – Val d’Isere, Verbier, Cervinia, Obergurgl and the Grands Montets above Chamonix – shut their lift systems yesterday, and turned their thoughts to the summer season.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t ski anymore. Tignes and Val Thorens in France are open until next Sunday, May 11, and above Engelberg, Switzerland, the season runs until May 25. Beyond that there are several glacier skiing areas to chose from – including the one above Zermatt in Switzerland, and the Hintertux and Stubai glaciers in Austria, too.
What’s more, conditions at the weekend were superb, given the time of year. Spring started early in the Alps – and the weeks from early March to early April were marked by brilliant sunshine and steamy temperatures. But since Easter the weather has been cooler and wetter – and that’s brought plenty of snow at altitude. The latest top-up came on Friday, with 10-30cm of the white stuff reported at the top of the highest lift systems.
Pictured above is the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes yesterday, posted by Val d’Isere chalet specialist YSE. Note the dry, wintry quality of the powder. Note, too, how empty the slope is. Bliss…
They’ll be skiing up on the Grande Motte for six more days – and again from June 21 once the summer skiing season starts.
Meanwhile, here’s a short and exultant burst of video from Val Thorens at the weekend, showing just how wintry it was on the upper slopes in the wake of the latest snow.
This morning, conditions remain gorgeous at altitude – but sadly they won’t last. The chill is being chased away by mild south-west winds, and the soon the sunshine will be gone too. Our snow forecast for the Alps predicts some snow showers at altitude on Wednesday, but they won’t be significant, and it’s likely to be cloudy for much of the week. Still, it’s worth noting that snow depths on the glacier are pretty good for the time of year, which should keep them skiing well into early summer at least.
Here’s a quick survey of the morning webcams – starting with Val Thorens, where 61 pistes are still open, and there’s 85-190cm of settled snow on the slopes. Remember, the lifts here close on May 11.
Below is Zermatt today, where – weather and snow permitting – the skiing will continue right through to the summer. Today, only a handful of pistes are open, though.
Finally, here is the terrain park on the Stubai Glacier today. The snow here is up to 365cm deep. Skiing will continue here until July 4, conditions permitting.
Don’t forget Les Deux Alpes in France will also be open for summer skiing from June 21.
Heavy late-season snow in the Canadian Rockies
Lake Louise, pictured above, has reminded us again how wintry the end of the season can be in the Canadian Rockies. On Friday and Saturday it notched up 50cm of fresh snow. Yesterday’s high was expected to reach 3C – so up top, and in shaded areas, the snow would have stayed cold and soft all day. The ski are shuts on May 11.
Neighbouring Sunshine Village stays open until May 19. It too had a powder day on Saturday…
Meanwhile, in the southern hemisphere…
Pictured below is Coronet Peak, in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, on April 27.
Check out guide to the best places to ski in New Zealand if you’re tempted by the thought of skiing there during our summer.
Below was how it looked at Perisher in the Snowy Mountains of south-east Australia on Saturday.
Both resorts are due to open for winter on June 7.
|France: see our main report. It was a lovely weekend to be skiing at altitude in France, thanks to fresh snow, brilliant sunshine and cool temperatures. This morning is almost as good – although the tip-top conditions won’t last, thanks to rising temperatures and gathering clouds. Of the regular resorts, only Val Thorens and Tignes remain open – and both close on May 11. However, Tignes, Val d’Isere and Les Deux Alpes will all be opening their glaciers in June for summer skiing.|
|Switzerland: There’s roughly 2m of snow bedded down up on the glacier above Zermatt at the moment, thanks to several snowstorms which have really favoured this part of the Alps.Engelberg has even more – up to 390cm on its glacier.|
|Austria: there was more fresh snow on Friday and Saturday on the Austrian glaciers – which is setting them up nicely for the rest of spring. For example, the Stubai glacier has settled cover up to 365cm 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 400-500cm of settled snow, after an exceptional winter.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are now closed.|
|Western USA: the season is winding down fast in America – although there’s no lack of cover in resorts still open. In Utah, for example, Snowbird currently has 256cm of settled snow mid-mountain, thanks to heavy snow last week. There should be more over the next few days. Other ski areas still open include Timberline Lodge in Oregon, Mammoth in California and Loveland and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.|
|Western Canada: Whistler reports just 6cm of new snow in the last seven days. Its mid-mountain snowpack is currently 180cm deep. They’ll be skiing in the resort until May 26. Meanwhile, in Lake Louise, the mid-mountain snowpack is 174cm deep, mid-mountain. The resort reported 50cm of fresh snow on Friday and Saturday.|
May 5, 2014@welove2ski
Superb conditions on the Alpine glaciers at the weekend. Deep powder in the Canadian Rockies, too… https://t.co/1hoQT7ceAk
May 6, 2014@AlpineProp
Snow Report via @welove2ski You can still Tignes and Val Thorens until next Sunday & above Engelberg until 25/5 https://t.co/eo5hht6L1i