World Snow Overview

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SNOW NEWS UPDATED 13 February 2019

INTRODUCTION Much of last week was fairly benign in the Alps with some great sunny days on fresh snow in the middle of last week. But the snow started to arrive on Friday/Saturday in the area and most resorts got at least 20cm of snow, some as much as 70cm by Monday.

FRANCE It was a snowy weekend in the French Alps with the snow starting to fall on Friday for many areas in the Northern Alps and reaching maximum intensity by Sunday. The biggest accumulations amounted to 50-60cm in 72 hours with some resorts like Flaine (80/310cm) (which is now posting the deepest base in the northern French Alps) reporting 30cm (a foot) in 24 hours through to Monday. The sunshine is now out again at many areas meaning conditions, with the fresh snow, are excellent at most French resorts, with the deep bases that have built up and the fresh cover on top. The only blips on the horizon to be aware of are rising temperatures looking set to go well above freezing by the end of the week and a fairly high avalanche danger (level 3) across the region at present.

Full moon rises over the Eiger   January 2018, Mürren

SWITZERLAND Swiss ski areas saw some of the biggest snowfalls of the past few days with several areas across the country reporting 60cm (two foot) 72-hour totals. In eastern Switzerland Elm (72/240cm) reported 65cm of snowfall since Sunday whilst in the Valais, on the west side, Les Marecottess - Salvan (35/189cm) posted a 56cm accumulation. This snow falling on top of what are already the deepest bases in the world, means the avalanche danger has risen back up to level 3 - considerable here too. Andermatt (73/600cm) continues to post the deepest base in the country and the world. But with no change to that upper slope base depth (claimed for over a month now), despite several fresh snowfalls with the latest being 20cm in the past few days. By contrast, Engelberg's (83/580cm) claimed depth has risen and fallen a few times and is now back up to close on Andermatt after another 20cm of fresh snowfall in the past few days here too.

Gressoney, Gressoney-Saint-Jean

ITALY Italian resorts too have seen fresh snowfall over the past few days. Although, not the volumes of the previous week, nor so much as further north in Austria, France and Switzerland. But most resorts in the country are also currently reporting excellent conditions and the new snow has pushed the bases of more Italian areas up, including three now past the 4m upper slope base depth mark. These include Passo Tonale (80/400cm) and the Presena Glacier (250/400cm). The biggest snowfall of the past 72 hours was reported at Cervinia (70/210cm) which received 25cm since the weekend. A little fresh snow in the Dolomites has improved snow cover conditions; adding to the snow storms at the start of the month. Arabba (112/161cm) is posting the deepest base there but the numbers are much better across the region.

Sol y nieve, Grandvalira-Pas de la Casa

ANDORRA Andorra has had a good week with mostly clear, sunny weather but temperatures remained low enough for the snow integrity to remain good. All of the principal ski areas are open and operating at capacity for the start of the February school holidays. They also have good bases, from top to bottom, thanks to the heavy snowfall of late January and early February.

NORWAY/SWEDEN The cold weather, with temperatures dropping below -20C at times, has been a factor at the FIS World Alpine Skiing Championships currently underway in Are (73/73cm), Sweden. Racers have also had to battle flat light, strong wind and snow showers at various times through the past week; the full range of mountain weather. Norway has seen some of the biggest snowfalls in recent days, however, with Bjorli (150/150cm) reporting a 35cm accumulation over the past few days and 25cm in the past 24 hours alone. Many other resorts in the country have posted 10-30cm since the weekend with the snow still falling.

Amazing mountain scenery, Garmisch-Partenkirchen-Zugspitze

GERMANY German ski areas have actually posted some of the biggest snowfalls in Europe over the past few days, particularly the Zugspitze Glacier which posted 75cm of fresh snowfall to start the week. Many other areas in the south of the country posted 10-30cm in the same period. As with Austrian areas to the south, it is brightening up and warming up now and the avalanche danger off-piste is considerable.

Mosta (The Bridge) Lift, Bansko

BULGARIA Not much fresh snow in Bulgaria for the past seven days. In fact, Pamporovo (265/295cm), which last week posted a base of over 3 metres, has reported a slight drop in snow depth. Cover remains very good across the country, however, with several metres of snow depth at all the main centre and almost all trails open. Only Bansko, which hosts World cup racing next week, is closing a couple of trails in preparation for the competition.

SCOTLAND Conditions have continued to improve across Scottish ski areas for a third week with all five areas still open and increasing the terrain available. This time last week there were 30 runs open between the five areas, this week that has doubled to 60 with Nevis Range (10/30cm) posting the most with more than 20 open. Strong winds have impacted operations at times over the past few days. However, Nevis Range closed on Tuesday and others opted to delay their start and opened later in the day.

View over The Sea of Japan, Chisenupurri

JAPAN It has turned more wintery in Japan over the past week with snow in Tokyo and some very low temperatures on Hokkaido, the country's northerly 'powder island.' After several weeks of merely moderate snowfall, Niseko (175/375cm) has seen more than a metre of snow in the past week (much more like normal!) and has passed the eight-metres mark for seasonal snowfall, to date (it's had nearly 8.5 metres).

USA Another very snowy week in the Western US with the deepest base on the continent at Mammoth Mountain (236/533cm) breaking through the 5-metre base depth mark with another 54cm of snow in the past 72 hours. This continues a very snowy theme. However, Mt Baker (368/445cm) to the north, in Washington State, holds the record for the most snow in the world in a season. The area has started to regain lost ground and posted more than double the Mammoth total with 128cm (over four feet) of snow in the past three days. These are just the highlights of a very snowy picture across the West, which shows no sign of easing down for the time being. Resorts in Utah, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and other Western states have reported good snowfalls too, just not quite so much. In the East, there's been no fresh snow so far this week but that is about to change.

CANADA Mostly modest snowfalls over the past week in Canada; much like the previous week. With perhaps the most significant climatic element on the slopes being the cold, rather than the snow, with temps dropping to -25C in Alberta at the weekend at times. What snowfall there has been has mostly happened in the west with ski areas in Alberta and BC posting 5-20cm of snowfall since the weekend; with nothing much in the East. After these calm weather weeks of late, however, things are about to change with big snow falls forecast across the country for the week ahead. Mount Tremblant (377/377cm), in Quebec, continues to have the deepest base in Canada.

EUROPEAN WEATHER OUTLOOK After a cold and snowy period the latter half of this week is looking dry in most areas of Europe. Unfortunately, it is warm too, with the chances of temperatures rising to more than double celsius figures down in the valleys in some areas. This should be a short-lived increase and the forecast may change to some degree before then. But it's currently looking warm into the weekend. Some resorts will also see temperatures above zero even at the top of their ski slopes. But here, where it happens, it should only be a degree or two above zero so not have a huge impact. In the Pyrenees, it's looking like a good week ahead with mostly clear skies and temperatures around zero, but no snow in the forecast at present. In contrast to Western Europe, where temperatures are now rising, it looks like it will stay sub-zero in Bulgaria for the rest of the week with light snowfall too. For Scotland, temperatures are warming up also, with the probability of valley temperatures reaching +10C or higher in the daytime in the latter half of this week. And above zero temperatures above the mountain tops too. What damage this does, or hopefully does not do, to the rather thin cover remains to be seen.

NORTH AMERICAN WEATHER OUTLOOK By contrast, the forecast for the USA is snow, snow, snow and lots of it. Another wave of huge snowfalls is expected to hit the West Coast on Wednesday/Thursday bringing over a metre of snowfall to many areas. The snowfall looks likely to be heaviest in California again. Indeed, we may see the snow depth numbers rise there ahead of the deepest in Europe for the first time this winter, by the end of the week. But snow will be widespread with large falls forecast for Utah, Wyoming, Washington state and the wider region too. The snow won't just be on the western side of the continent either. Resorts in New England and the US East coast should get around 20-40cm over Tuesday/Wednesday this week as well. The week ahead is looking snowy too in Canada with a big storm forecast to hit the west as well. But there are also big snowfalls expected in Quebec to the east. Accumulations in BC, in the west, may be as much as 90cm by the weekend and Quebec resorts look like they could get similar snowfalls too with snow pretty much non-stop all week.