Issued: 22nd 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.

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INTRODUCTION:

‘Quieter’ perhaps best describes the weather in the Alps this past week after the heavy snowfall that lasted for three weeks from Christmas to mid-January in the Eastern Alps. The snow there is now lying up to six metres (20 feet) deep and should be enough to last most of the resorts in the region through to the spring; even if there’s no more snowfall this winter (but don’t worry, there’s some in the forecast!).

Utah
Big snow totals in Utah over the past three days. Snowbird has reported the most with just under 4 feet (117cm) of fresh powder. Pictures taken today are from nearby Park City Mountain, the largest ski area in the US, which reports 2.3 feet (71cm) of fresh powder.

INDEX:

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


Austria

Austrian ski resorts are breathing something of a sigh of relief after three weeks of exceptionally intense snowfall (which some have claimed to be the heaviest in a century) has ended for the time being. There’s been very little fresh snow for a week now in most of the north and west of the country which saw the brunt of the extreme weather. All ski areas have now reopened, including little Hochkar (120/500cm) which made headlines when it was abandoned due to extreme avalanche danger. Now it’s posting the deepest base in the country. With the temporary end of the heavy snow in North-Western Austria, it’s worth noting that Carinthia and the south east of the country, which in contrast had little snow this winter, has had some decent snowfalls in the past week too. Franz Klammer’s home resort of Bad Kleinkircheim (15/120cm), down near the Slovenian border, received 30cm at the weekend.


It looks like the snowiest week of the season so far coming up in the Pyrenees. Biggest accumulations so far on the French side with up to 30cm in the last 24 hours. Here’s Grandvalira in Andorra. Snowfall expected all week.

FRANCE

France Snow Map

After a snowy end to last week there’s been quieter weather in the French Alps since the weekend. The part of the country that has been seeing fresh snow all week is down in the French Pyrenees. Most resorts have had a good dose of fresh snow since last week though, with some reporting as much as 60cm of fresh cover and there’s a new name posting the deepest base in the country, up nearly half a metre on the previous leader last week. That’s Samoens (70/245cm) in the Grand Massif. Bonneval sur Arc (60/230cm), that previously held the title, has seen a 30cm increase on its stats for seven days and Val d’Isere (100/215cm) and Tignes (100/215cm) have moved through the two-metre level. Conditions remain excellent across much of the French Alps with most runs open and fresh snow on the ground.

 

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland Snow Map

After the huge snowfalls in Eastern and Central Switzerland, followed by good snowfalls in Western Switzerland too, the snowfall rate has slowed considerably on Swiss slopes over the past week. As with Austria, this has meant more terrain open, a reducing avalanche risk, easing access, low temperatures and some great powder skiing with the fresh snow lying metres deep at some resorts. The deepest base in the world is unchanged from last week at 6 metres claimed by Andermatt-Sedrun, although unlike this time last week, you can again ski the new connection between the two resorts which had opened just before Christmas but was closed last week due to avalanche risk.


ITALY

Italy had its fair share of fresh snow in many parts of the country including the Dolomites in the east where it was perhaps most needed to freshen up the cover after around 6 weeks with little snowfall. However, most of the groomed runs were open anyway thanks to the near 100% snowmaking cover in the region. Otherwise, it continues to be a less than memorable winter so far in terms of the abundance of snow. But, that said, most of Italy’s destination resorts have good, or at least adequate, top-to-bottom cover with all runs open and all lift turning so there are few complaints. Madesimo (45/250cm) continues to post the deepest base of the country’s larger ski areas.


ANDORRA

It’s the snowiest start to the week for some time in Andorra with ski areas reporting up to 30cm of snow in the past 48 hours. Some resorts on the French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenees have posted bigger snowfalls still. The Andorran ski areas say that, like the Dolomites, they didn’t really need the snow as everything was pretty much open anyway. But skiers and boarders have been delighting in the fresh powder.


NORWAY/SWEDEN

Andorra Snow Map

Scandinavian ski slopes have seen some of the biggest snowfalls of the past week and things have quietened down in the Alps. Resorts in Norway have posted falls of up to 30cm in 24 hours and in Sweden, it’s been up to 20cm in the same period. Voss (40/100cm), on the Norwegian coast, has seen its conditions really transformed by the fresh snow after a slow start to the season there. It is now back towards it’s normal ‘powder pocket’ reputation. Bjorli (150/150cm), in the east of the country, was another winner reporting regular 20cm falls for several days over the weekend. It has one of the region’s deepest bases.


GERMANY

Germany Snow Map

After a poor start to the season for most German ski areas in December, the south of the country was hit hard by the huge snowfalls that impacted Austria and Eastern Switzerland from Christmas to mid-January. Many ski areas were closed due to avalanche danger and in some cases cut off by road too. Again, like Austria and eastern Switzerland the snow has now mostly stopped falling (a few centimetres only were reported at some areas in the last few days) and most areas are open and their slopes fully accessible. The Zugspitze Glacier (0/400cm) continues to report the country’s deepest base but many of the country’s larger resorts have at least three metres of snow lying on their upper runs after all the snow. For example Reit im Winkl (108/310cm) and Sudelfeld (80/300cm).


BULGARIA

Bulgaria’s ski areas have had a snowy week which has further improved conditions there. All of the main areas are now posting bases of at least a metre, and all are either fully open or almost so with just a run or two still closed. Pamporovo (160/180cm), in the Rhodope mountains, has the country’s deepest base but the other areas aren’t far behind and almost all runs are open.Bulgaria has had its snowiest week of the season yet with some significant accumulations and more on the way. Almost all runs are open across the country with the base depth at Pamporovo (160/180cm) the deepest in Bulgaria and looking likely to pass the 2m mark by this time next week.


Nevis Snowfall

SCOTLAND

Conditions are continuing to gradually improve in Scotland with predominantly low temperatures allowing overnight snowmaking and some natural snowfall too. The main road past Glencoe (20/20cm) was closed by snow and ice on Tuesday morning (22nd January) but then opened three lifts before noon; the most skiing offered in Scotland yet this season.  Nevis Range also offered ski touring. Otherwise, as of Monday this week all five Highland areas have some skiing possible, albeit mostly short beginner and snow play areas, thanks to all-weather snowmaking machines and dry slopes under the snow. Cairngorm (20/10cm) has the largest beginner area open including a 200m run and some terrain park features. It reported 4cm of fresh snow overnight on Monday/Tuesday this week.


JAPAN

A very snowy week in Japan with Yuzawa (340/340cm) reporting 63cm of snow in the past 24 hours. 170cm in the past week and 3.6 metres of snow so far in January so you get the picture. It is posting some of the biggest snowfall numbers but they’re not hugely different from many other Japanese areas as it’s a snowy January there. For Niseko (150/310cm), the numbers are not quite so big. A metre of snow has fallen in the past week and 2.2 metres so far this month (6.6m this season to date).


Magic Mountain
The largest fresh snowfalls have switched from West to East Coast of North America in the past 24 hours with Vermont’s Magic Mountain posting the biggest 24 hour accumulation (38cm/15 inches). Here’s Stratton Mountain Resort (28cm/11″) this morning.  More falling in the west again now!

USA

It has been a snowy week in the USA with first the West Coast then the East Coast and now again the West Coast hit by big snowfalls. Resorts in California and Utah posted three-day totals as high as 1.2 metres (four feet) of snow and on the East Coast, some areas in Vermont got 60cm (two feet) of snow in 24 hours. The snow in Utah caused a road closure due to avalanche temporarily cutting off Snowbird earlier this week. If anything, it has been too cold recently in the east. Jay Peak (66/112cm), in Vermont, was one of those closed for the day on Monday describing conditions as dangerously cold and pointing to wind chill temperatures as low as -60 Fahrenheit (-51 Celcius). Resorts in California have now got the deepest bases in the US, overtaking areas in Washington state to the north which had held the honour for the past month. Boreal Mountain (462/6462cm) and Soda Springs (462/462cm) are posting the deepest with Squaw Valley (178/378cm) in third place on the deepest depth measurement.


CANADA

Canada Snow Map

Unusually, it is Eastern Canada rather than Alberta and BC that has been posting some of the biggest snowfall tallies of the past few days with Quebec’s Massif du Sud (173/273cm) reporting 70cm of snowfall since the weekend and now posting the deepest base in the country. Fellow Quebec ski area Tremblant (254/254cm) has the second deepest, just a few centimetres above Whistler Blackcomb (246/246cm) on the opposite coast. It has been snowing across the country with moderate (5-10cm) accumulations almost daily in the west and temperatures remaining low.


EUROPEAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

Following the heavy snow from Christmas to mid-January in the Eastern Alps, it’s looking much quieter over the coming week with most areas in the Alps (East and West) expecting 10-30cm from mostly small accumulations through the week up to the weekend. There’ll be a small amount of fresh snow for many areas on Wednesday and for some on Thursday before clearer weather arrives into the weekend. It’s a similar picture in The Dolomites where 10-20cm of fresh snow is expected by the weekend. In the Pyrenees, it’s a snowy picture for the middle of this week with some ski areas on the Spanish side possibly seeing up to a metre of snow; more like half that amount for Andorra’s ski slopes. For Scotland, the forecast is for temperatures to stay low, mostly sub-zero on the hills in fact, through to at least the start of next week. There’ll be some snow but probably rather light showers on the whole. But with snowmaking guns running it should mean more terrain can open.


NORTH AMERICAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

North American Snow Map

It’s looking like something of an East/West split for the week ahead in North America. There are no big accumulations in the forecast, but ski areas on the east coast look likely to receive regular snowfalls most days which may accumulate to 20-40cm over the course of the week. The picture on the West is more mixed with some snowfall expected in Wyoming, Colorado, BC and Alberta but not much if any in California or Utah which saw the biggest accumulations over the past week.