Issued: 03rd January 2019

By Patrick “Snowhunter” Thorne

Our latest roundup of snow conditions around the world. Each section that follows below goes into detail country by country. Clicking the map thumbnail will take you to our dynamic snow forecast map for the latest detail (where you can also overlay live weather & reported conditions). Weather outlooks for Europe and North America can be found at the end of this roundup.

INTRODUCTION:

There’s an East/West divide in both Europe and North America at present although the side getting the most snow differs on each continent. In North America it has been ski areas on the Westside that have seen the biggest accumulations, although not so much as in previous weeks this season. Unusually resorts in the southwest of the continent in southern Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico posted the biggest accumulations – with several reporting more than 40 inches (a metre) and one, Pajarito (190/190cm) in New Mexico 68 inches (1.7 metres).

In Europe the picture is reversed with little or no snow in the Western Alps, Pyrenees or the Dolomites to the south but good snowfall in the Eastern and northern Alps and up into Scandinavia, the latter seeing their snowiest week of the season so far at many areas. There’s been no snow in Scotland either and there’s little sign of any change to the picture over the coming week with more snow forecast in Eastern Switzerland, Austria, Germany and North Eastern European areas like the Tatra mountains but little or nothing on the horizon for the west and south.


INDEX:

Austria / France / Switzerland / Italy / Andorra / Norway/Sweden / Germany / Bulgaria / Scotland / Japan / USA / Canada / Europe / North America


Austria

Many Austrian ski areas have been enjoying a snowy start to 2019 and it is looking like it will be getting snowier still over the coming week. Uttendorf (30/154cm) in the Salzburgerland region actually posted the biggest snowfall in the Alps over the last week with 105cm but six of the ten areas posting the most snowfall in Europe this past week are in Austria and many of the country’s centres have had 30-60cm of snowfall since the weekend. A little ironically perhaps Austrian resort with the deepest snow base at present, Solden (15/331cm) hasn’t had the fresh snow and is in an area in the south west of the country that is missing the bigger falls further north and east, although it should see at least some fresh snow in the coming week. St Anton am Arlberg (50/285cm) reports the second deepest base in the country.


FRANCE

France Snow Map

There’s not a lot happening in terms of snow for France at present with no snow falling here in the past week and none forecast for the coming week. Fortunately for most of the country’s leading resorts this isn’t a huge issue in terms of providing groomed terrain at least as good November and December snowfalls up to Christmas had allowed them to build substantial bases and so they’re able to open all or most of their terrain. it’s more of a problem on lower slopes where the precipitation more often fell as rain in the autumn and some low altitude, smaller French ski areas are suffering with reports of more than 50 of this type of centre still unable to open for the season. Serre Chevalier (30/202cm) in the Southern French Alps and Bonneval sur Arc (50/200cm) in the Northern Alps have the deepest bases still with Val d-isere/Tignes (88/182cm) joint third and thanks to their high-altitude ski area almost fully open.


 

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland Snow Map

There’s been no fresh snow this week in Western Switzerland but some quite good snowfalls on the Western fringes of the country, particularly in the canton of Graubunden. Davos (37/153cm) reported 20cm in the past few days for example and the smaller resort of St. Antönien (40/60cm) a full 40cm. Conditions are reported to be largely good in the west, however, thanks to the big snowfalls in November and earlier in December which has built bases. The only issue, as in other areas, is for lower slopes at big resorts and all slopes at smaller, lower elevation ski areas, which didn’t get the autumn snow and, unless in the East of the country, aren’t seeing much now either. Andermatt (30/450cm) hasn’t reported any fresh snow but still has the deepest claimed base in the world (and the only one over 4 metres).


ITALY

Another fairly snowless week in Italy with the only significant snowfall reported up by the Austrian border in the South Tyrol, here Speikboden (58/105cm) reported 35cm of fresh snowfall. It has all runs open and all lifts operating. But so do most Italian ski areas (or just about), thanks to autumn snowfalls and snowmaking most of the country’s larger areas have all or most of their groomed runs open. San Domenico di Varzo (20/340cm) in Piemonte region in the west continues to have the country’s deepest reported base.


ANDORRA

Andorra’s ski areas have enjoyed another clear, dry week with temperatures generally sub-zero as the Pyrenees continue to wait their first significant snowstorm of the winter, following the unusual big snowfalls of early November that led to early openings of areas in Portugal and Spain two months ago. The Andorran ski areas continue to make the best of the conditions with the biggest, Grandvalira (0/45cm) reporting nearly 90, or about three-quarters of its ski runs, open. Vallnord (20/50cm) has a similar proportion of its terrain skiable.


Levi - Lapland
Mid-winter with short days is the best season to experience the breathtaking Northern Lights in Lapland, here’s Levi

NORWAY/SWEDEN

Andorra Snow Map

It has been a snowier week than usual, this winter at least, in Scandinavia with many areas reporting 10-30cm of fresh snowfall. Most are also now showing all or most of their terrain open and lifts turning. Bjorli (120/120cm) in Eastern Norway reports the most snow this week (105cm) and also the deepest base in the region. The area’s biggest resort, Are (49/49cm) has just had a few centimetres of fresh snow but now has about half of its terrain open, including some 50 groomed runs.


Bjori Skisenter
It doesn’t get a huge amount of daylight at this time of year but Norway’s Bjorli Skisenter has posted the most snowfall in Europe over the past week – 125cm (just over 4 feet) of which 60cm (2 feet) in the last 24 hours.

GERMANY

Germany Snow Map

A definite improvement to the picture in Germany for the new year with some of the first decent snowfalls for many of the country’s resorts. That said lower elevations are still decidedly snowless so still more snow expected over the week ahead should further improve things. The Zugspitze (0/215cm) glacier remains not only the country’s highest but also the one reporting the most snowfall this week 60cm), but whilst it was often the only German area posting snowfall over the past few months, this week has been very different with many areas reporting 20-40cm in the last few days. Reit im Winkl (15/100cm) in Oberbayern for example now has all runs open and all lifts running after 40cm of snowfall since the weekend. More than 30cm more snow is expected there (and at other leading German ski areas) over the next few days, much of it due to fall on Saturday. Germany’s ski areas are fully open and most have reports 5-20cm of fresh snow in the past 72 hours. Conditions are also turning more wintery so resorts that were getting rain are now seeing snow. Zugspitze (0/160cm) the country’s highest ski area has actually reported the biggest accumulation in Europe over the past week with 1.2m (four feet) of new snow. Some of its lower adjacent, jointly managed ski areas like Kreuzeck and Wank have opened recently for the holiday fortnight.


BULGARIA

Things have turned snowier in Bulgaria with 10-20cm of snowfall in the past day or so and 20-40cm forecast for the week ahead. Pamporovo (85/100cm) is reporting the country’s deepest base and Borovets (60/70cm) the most terrain open, at least in terms of terrain percentage (about 75%). Bansko (15/60cm) has about half of its runs open.


SCOTLAND

Three of Scotland’s ski area now have TechnoAlpin SnowFactory all-weather snowmaking units operating and were able to offer beginner lessons and €˜snow fun’ on short runs over the busy holiday period. They picked the right season to install them as it has been exceptionally warm and there’s very little natural snow still lying, except on the very tops of the hills, so they would not be open without them, as indeed the two that don’t have the machines, Glenshee and Nevis Range, currently aren’t. But Glencoe (0/5cm), The Lecht (0/20cm) and Cairngorm (0/20cm) each currently has a short nursery slope o[pen despite temperatures getting above +10C at times over the past week.


JAPAN

The snow is continuing to fall daily on most Japanese ski slopes, as it should at this time of year, and bases and building nicely. The country’s most famous international destination, Niseko (130/275cfm), has had 123cm (over four feet) of snow in the past week taking its season total to 4.4 metres already. The snowfall is not forecast to be so heavy over the coming week with Alta Banda (0/110cm) expected to get the most in Japan – about 40cm.


Angel Fire - New Mexico
New Mexico has reported some of the biggest snowfalls in the world in the past 24 hours. Angel Fire got the most at 23cm (9 inches).

USA

There have been some big snowfalls in the Western US There have been some big snowfalls in the Western US over the past few days, with some of the largest in the south west of the continent in southern Colorado and New Mexico. Here Purgatory (97/112cm) reported 56cm (nearly 2 feet) of snow since the weekend and Silverton (102/216cm) 87cm (nearly 3 feet). However the very deepest bases, following huge December snowfalls up to the past week, remain in the northwest corner of the county although Alpental (132/323cm) has just overtaken the ‘usual’ snowiest destination on Mt Baker (216/305cm) to post the deepest. Both areas are in Washington state where large snow deliveries are expected to resume very shortly. Conditions are still not quite back up to what they were in November and early December in the East but the unseasonably warm temperatures that hit more southerly states over the latter half of December are having less of an impact in more northerly ski states like Maine and Vermont where some resorts have reported fresh snow in the past few days. For example 10cm for Smugglers’ Notch (30/102cm) – it’s also down to a bracing -16C there.


CANADA

Canada Snow Map

Ski areas on Canada’s West Coast dominate the ‘deepest snow in the country’ table with Vancouver’s local hill Grouse Mountain (157/215cm) top of the table. But conditions did change over the first half of this week with a brief lull in the succession of December snowstorm deluges that brought up to 3 metres (10 feet) of snow to Western BC last month with the good news that it had turned colder again in Quebec on the east (where temperatures had been unusually high leading to temporary closures at some hills). Some of the country’s leading areas there including Tremblant (156/156cm) reported 20cm+ fresh snow, the first for a while. It’s about to switch back again though with more snow forecast for the west.


Hemavan Tärnaby
A snowy New Year in Sweden where Hemavan Tärnaby reports 20cm of fresh snow falling in the last half of the last day of 2018 and the first half of the first day of 2019.

EUROPEAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

The snow that has been falling predominantly in the north-eastern area of the Alps as well, as further east in areas like the Tatra mountains, should continue over the coming week and if anything intensify. Forecasts are currently projecting snowfall daily in some parts of Austria, Germany, the Czech and Slovak Republics and the wider region. Some resorts may see as much as 1.5 metres (five feet) of snow in the week ahead although forecasts become less reliable of course the further in the future they are. The forecast totals also vary tremendously from, for example, less than 30cm in the Austrian Otztal or Arlberg regions up to 1.5m in the Dachstein and some other areas. Eastern Swiss resorts should see up to 40cm of snowfall.

It’s a less promising picture in the Western Alps France and the French-speaking half of Switzerland plus much of Italy), as well as the Pyrenees, where there’s little or no snow in the forecast for the coming week.

Italy should see some snowfall in the coming week although, for most areas, the Dolomites included, it’s likely to just be a few centimetres. The biggest accumulations, possibly as much as 40cm, will be along the Austrian border in the South Tyrol and other northeasterly areas of the country.

In the Pyrenees there’s no sign of any fresh snow in the week ahead either.

For Scotland there’s no real sign of any significant snowfall unfortunately to bring the likelihood of one of the areas there being able to open without the all-weather snowmaking system any closer.


NORTH AMERICAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

North American Snow Map

The next huge dumps off the Pacific is heading into Western North America with the biggest snowfalls over the next few days expected in states from California to Alaska where up to 70cm of new snow is expected. Not much of this is currently forecast to make it to the Rockies. The East coast should see another 5-1`5cm of snow in the next 7 days.

In Canada, after a brief break in the cycle of snowstorms coming in off the Pacific, normal service looks set to resume in the next day or two with 40-80cm of snow forecast to hit resorts across Alberta and BC by this time next week. The forecast for Whistler Blackcomb (0/198cm) is even bigger with potentially up to 1.8m (6 feet) of snow falling there.


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