The past few days have seen some huge snowfall totals in both the Alps and Western North America.

Some ski areas in California have reported receiving more than three metres (10 feet) of snowfall since Tuesday. Donner Ski Ranch is pictured above. In the Alps ski centres have posted up to two metres (nearly 7 feet) of snowfall in the same period. Mammoth, below, has had one of the biggest snow totals.

The snow in the Alps has been accompanied by warm periods bringing rain to high altitudes creating a highly unstable snowpack and sending the avalanche danger to its highest level. Some ski areas, including Zermatt pictured below) were temporarily cut off as access roads were closed due to the avalanche danger. Even without the avalanche danger the snow caused operational issues for ski areas on both continents as lifts needed to be dug out and access cleared.

In California resorts appear more concerned about the danger of skier suffocation in all the snow, particularly in tree wells. Resorts have only just been allowed to have ski holidaymakers after COVID restrictions were eased in the state. A two day storm-warning followed but now resorts are reporting their pandemic-limited capacity has been reached with advanced bookings.