Andermatt ski area in Switzerland has posted a 20cm increase in its upper-slope base depth, measuring it at 5m (16.6 feet).

It’s the first ski resort in the world to hit the 5 metre mark this season, and the first half of January is an early point in the year for any resort to reach this depth.  The resort has had 50cm of snow in the past 72 hours.

Down at resort level the base depth is 65cm (just over two feet).  More heavy snow and strengthening winds are expected tomorrow which seems likely to increase the current avalanche danger level 3 (‘considerable’) in the area to level 4 ‘high’.

Loser, over the border in Austria, is close behind with a 4.9m base.  It has grown rapidly with the recent heavy snow in the region, and reports 70cm in the last 72 hours alone. St Anton on 4.5m, is close behind.

Depths are much lower in France and Italy which have had much less snowfall. In France La Rosiere (pictured above) currently has the deepest at 2 metres, with 23cm of fresh snow.

Across the Atlantic, after a slow start, bases have built fast at Mt Baker in Washington state, which on average gets the most snow each winter. These now sit at 3.5m (nearly 12 feet)