Suddenly, the long cold spell of late April and early May is over. The sun’s blazing, and temperatures have jumped: but it’s not so warm that the snow in the high-altitude resorts has turned to mush.
This was Val Thorens in Les 3 Vallées in France, first thing this morning. Looking up…
And looking down…
Regular followers of our snow report will know Val Thorens had 30cm of new snow at the weekend, and the cover is exceptional given the time of year. Each night, the temperature drops through the floor, so the snow refreezes, and then it softens slowly through the day to give near-perfect spring-skiing conditions. It’s a lovely way for the resort to finish its season. (Val Tho closes on Sunday, as does Tignes, bringing the curtain down on the French “winter” season – unless of course you’re a ski-tourer.)
Further east, on the Austrian glaciers, conditions are even better – thanks to yet another snowstorm on Wednesday. Since April 8 the snow’s been coming think and fast in Austria and on the Stubai glacier, south of Innsbruck, there’s now 280cm of snow packed down on the slopes. Here’s how the terrain park is looking today. The glacier closes on May 29.
With the closure of Val Thorens on Sunday, Alpine skiing will shrink back to just a handful of glacier resorts. For details of what will still be open, check out our feature, Where Can I Ski Now?
The weekend forecast is for more sunny weather, though there will be a few more clouds about, and a mild southerly wind. Next week will be very different. An area of low pressure is expected to move in across Spain and across the Alps, bringing bouts of heavy rain in the west, and snow at altitude. So if you want to soak up some mountain sunshine, you’d better hit the slopes before Monday.
|France: see our main report. It’s going to be another cracking day to ski Tignes and Val Thorens, complete with a relaxed, end-of-term atmosphere. Both resorts shut on Sunday.|
|Switzerland: as in France, there’s great spring skiing in the handful of high-altitude ski areas still open – which include Zermatt and Engelberg. On the latter, there’s a whopping 430cm of settled snow on the glacier.|
|Austria: Austria did very well from cold spell that settled over the Alps in late April, and the glacier ski areas are in excellent condition – especially the Hintertux and the Stubai glacier. Currently, the former has up to 325cm of settled snow on its pistes.|
|Italy: Cervnia is opening its lifts to skiers each weekend through May and reports 40-235cm of snow on its slopes.|
|Andorra: in Andorra, the shutters have come down on the ski season. All eyes are now on the summer…|
|Western USA: in Colorado, Arapahoe Basin had another dump last weekend – although it’s been much warmer this week. Currently the settled snow depths are around 180cm deep. The resort will stay open into June. Meanwhile, in Utah Snowbird (weekend openings until May 30) has 255cm of settled snow, and in California Squaw (closes May 30) has 314cm.|
|Western Canada: in Whistler, Whistler Mountain has now closed, although on Blackcomb they’re hoping to keep skiing till May 30. The mid-mountain snowpack is now 167cm deep, and they’re expecting a high of +15C on the mountain.|