Published on Friday, February 2, 2018

Snow update from the Alps to the Rockies - and beyond

Europe definitely seems to be offering some of the best skiing at the moment, having enjoyed calm and mild, almost spring-like conditions this week.

In North America, there has been consistent snowfall for prolonged periods over the past month in many Canadian resorts, but resorts in the Rockies' resorts in Utah and Colorado and in New England are not offering especially good skiing right now.


Here's a more detailed breakdown, courtesy of the Ski Club.

Snow alert
Based on current weather forecasts for the next 9 days, the top three resorts for expected snowfall are:

1. Arabba, Italy, 144cm
2. Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, 156cm
3. Canazei, Italy, 141cm

After a week that began with near uniform sun and unseasonably warm temperatures, conditions took a turn across Austria on Thursday. Moderate to heavy snowfall was forecast across major Austrian resorts, with cloud at resort level limiting visibility in many resorts.

Some of the greatest snowfalls are expected in the Tyrol region, with Obergurgl (150/300cm) in particular expecting to see 50cm on Thursday. Elsewhere, the Gastein Valley also looks set to benefit from some of the largest accumulations with predictions just shy of 50cm across the slopes. More broadly, the glacial and higher altitude resorts are also forecast for significant snowfalls, though for other resorts especially lower down the new snow will have less of an impact. While refreshing the pistes, it is less likely to provide significant opportunities to ride powder given the conditions of the slopes the snow falls on.

The snow returned on Thursday after a prolonged period of sunny and mild weather, and a number of resorts have recorded decent snowfall which will definitely help the conditions. Pra Loup (110cm/260cm) has received the most so far with 40cm and more expected. Both Flaine (168cm/420cm) and Le Grand Bornand (55cm/240cm) noted 30cm of fresh.

The snowy conditions will continue for the rest of the week, with the largest amounts predicted in the French Pyrenees. Cauterets (80cm/140cm) is forecast for as much as 40cm over the next few days, whilst other noteworthy forecasts are in Puy St Vincent (125cm/240cm) and Bareges/La Mongie (70cm/100cm) which are expecting 30cm and 28cm respectively.

Snow was falling again in Switzerland on Thursday. Compared to recent days, the temperature has dropped significantly, with the thermometer reading as low as -11C at Engleberg (20/627cm) and Nendaz (20/360cm).

Davos/Klosters (130/248cm) was predicted around 30cm before the day was out, whilst on the Austrian border there was 31cm expected to fall at Samnaun (100/170cm). The band of low pressure is forecast to hang around for the foreseeable future, snowfall should ease off into the weekend, with light/moderate amounts predicted until Sunday.

Thursday saw temperatures dropping and snow falling across the majority of Italian resorts. Currently it looks as if the regions away from the western Alpine area are expected to see the most new snow, with both the Dolomites and northern Italian resorts seeing significantly higher predicted accumulations than those closer to the French border.

The Dolomites are currently expecting as much as 60cm of snow in 48 hours, for example over Cortina (50/120cm) the coming weekend looks like a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the fresh snow when conditions are expected to ease up slightly. The other resorts expected to see the largest snowfalls are those on Italy's northern border with Switzerland and Austria, with resorts such as Livigno (104/119cm), Madisimo (150/240cm) and Val Senales (150/260cm) all looking to benefit. For the western Alps, any snowfall coming is likely to fall most heavily on Sunday and Monday.

Andorra was expecting new snow across both the Grandvalira and Vallnord areas, which were under heavy cloud cover by lunchtime on Thursday. This is a noticeable change from the wall to wall sun earlier in the week, though a welcome one if it delivers the 25cm of fresh snow predicted over Thursday and Friday. Were this to materialise, Saturday is the day for some serious skiing as conditions look to improve alongside rising temperatures everywhere other than at altitude in Pas De La Casa (100/130cm).

It was bitterly cold in Finland on Thursday, with temperatures dropping as low as -20 in Levi (85cm). Though Ruka (60/85cm) and Yllas (100cm) have both seen a light dusting of fresh snow, this has fallen over a very hard packed base, so can only go a certain way to improving conditions.

Though there is more substantial fresh snow in Sweden, unfortunately high winds have impacted winds in both Are (91cm), which was down to 18 lifts. Far better skiing can be found in Salen (147cm), where all lifts bar one are running and 20cm of fresh snow had fallen on Thursday.~
Once again, the best Scandinavian skiing can be found in Norway.

There is substantial fresh snow across all resorts barring Oppdal (50/90cm), as well as considerably more mild temperatures than the rest of the region. Great skiing can be found in Hemsedal (155cm) with 31cm, and Trysil (170cm) with 20cm, but by far the standout is Voss (90/180cm), which has seen 128cm in the past seven days, more than doubling the overall snow base depth.

Eastern Europe
This coming weekend, Bansko (30cm/180cm) and Borovets (110cm/120cm) are forecast 16cm and 14cm of fresh snow, which will go a long way to improve the snow conditions that have been deteriorating with all the sunny weather and mild temperatures.

Over in Sochi-Rosa Khutor (123cm/372cm) they have woken up to 21cm of fresh snow and sunny weather with cloudy spells, to provide great skiing conditions. Another 27cm of fresh snowfall is forecast for Sunday.

In Jasna (30cm/50cm)~and Kranjska Gora (20cm/50cm)~it has been mainly cloudy with a chance of snow. Both Jasna and Kranjska Gora are forecasting relatively big fresh snowfalls until Sunday. Jasna is expecting 42cm of fresh snow and Kranjska Gora is forecast a mammoth 74cm.

Strong winds persisted across Scottish ski centres on Thursday, forcing Glencoe (100/130cm) and The Lecht (10/30cm) to close. However, there has been a decent amount of snow in the west, leaving some soft powder snow at Nevis Range (50/70cm), and good coverage at Glencoe when it reopens. Glenshee (15/50cm) was restricted to 4/22 lifts, where fresh snow was drifting over some rather icy slopes. At Cairngorm (20/40cm) there was top to Base Station snowsports via the Lower Slopes and Car Park uptrack, with some nice new snow around.

Resorts across the United States continue to see mild conditions across both the central Rockies as well as the New England resorts, with little sign of sufficient snow on the horizon to meaningfully improve conditions.

Though there was a light dusting of snow across Utah and Colorado, it has only made a marginal difference to conditions in some resorts. While areas such as Solitude (132cm) have been offering improving skiing this week, this is not the case across the board.~ Conditions in resorts such as Purgatory (53/91cm) and Telluride (76/102cm) are passable at best, with thin coverage, rocks and limited backcountry available across many resorts in the areas.

A prolonged lack of fresh snow, coupled with fluctuating temperatures and rain have led to icy conditions in much of the north east, especially Vermont, with very hard and challenging skiing reported in resorts such as Sugarbush (25/91cm) and Stowe (61/122cm).

Sunny skies across California are harming the snow that fell last weekend, with temperatures solidly above zero slowly eroding the past weekend's snowfall.

Light flurries are expected across Colorado in the coming days, with the possibility of a couple of CM over resorts in Utah as well, though really there is not a huge amount on the forecasts to indicate an improvement in circumstances for now.~

As we moved into February the situation stayed much the same in Canada; cloudy and snowy. The slopes at resorts in British Colombia such as Fernie (287cm) and Kicking Horse (195cm) have continued to receive fresh snow, and there are some nice pockets of powder across the mountain.
Quebec, and Tremblant (60cm) in particular have also benefited, where 19cm in the last 24 hours has vastly improved conditions. Nearby, Mont Sainte Anne (50/251cm) measured around 10cm of fresh.

The short term weather forecast is a familiar one. Moderate snow is expected across our featured resorts, with resorts in Alberta predicted around 15-20cm on Saturday 3rd February. Current forecast show no real let up in the weather until next Thursday, when some sun may finally start to break through.

Conditions are slightly mixed, with Hakuba (145/365) seeing only light dustings this week, and no new snow since Tuesday. The remaining cloud had moved away over the course of Thursday, with temperatures also rising slightly. Further north however in Hokkido, and Niseko (240/475cm) in particular, it shows no sign of stopping. Having seen 155cm of snow in the past 7 days, it is beginning to border on 'too much snow' territory, if there is such a thing.~

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