Issued: 29th 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.

Snow-Forecast Insurance

INTRODUCTION:

The snowfall never really went away in the Alps after the massive accumulation on the eastern side of the range up to a fortnight ago. But the past week and the past few days, in particular, has seen the rate of accumulation gather strength. This time the Western Alps is seeing the heaviest falls; some areas reporting more than a metre of fresh snow since Sunday.
However, the biggest snowfalls of the past week on the continent have been in the Pyrenees, which have seen some massive dumps. The biggest of all, so far, have been on the French side where several areas claim more than two metres of snow has fallen since this time last week.

Elsewhere, Eastern Europe remains fairly snowy. The Dolomites look set to get a big dump and there’s been more snowfall in Scandinavia, particularly in eastern Norway. Whilst Germany has posted the biggest accumulations of the past 24 hours. Scotland edged closer to opening properly for the season at the end of last week but then had a damaging 26-hour warm spell. But the snow and low temperatures are back now so not all hope is lost.
Across the Atlantic, it’s a quieter week with, unusually, some ski areas on the eastern side of North America seeing more fresh snowfall than resorts on the west.


INDEX:

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


Austria

The rate of snowfall may have slowed in Austria since the three-week snowy deluge between Christmas and mid-January but it hasn’t stopped snowing with ski areas in Carinthia and Salzburgerland reporting up to 70cm of fresh snow in the past week. Although, for many areas around the country the totals were lower: more like 20-40cm.

At Kitzbuhel, Austria’s biggest sporting event of the year: the Hahnenkamm festival had to be re-arranged with the Blue Ribband downhill (traditionally on a Saturday) moved to Friday to avoid the worst of the snowfall and low visibility that moved in on Saturday. A dozen or so Austrian areas now have more than 4 metres of snow lying on upper runs with St. Anton am Arlberg (95/495cm) posting the country’s deepest upper slope depth.


FRANCE

France Snow Map

France has had its snowiest week of the year, topping the snowfall totals for Europe over the past seven days in both the Alps and the Pyrenees. The latter has actually posted the most dramatic totals with a dozen French areas there posting 1.2 metres (four feet) of fresh snow or more over the last week, topped by La Mongie / Barèges (120/180cm) reporting 2.8m (over nine feet) of snowfall. In the Alps, the really heavy snow started at the weekend and we’ve seen lots of areas posting at least 60cm (two feet) of snow already, with the classic resort of Megeve (80/180cm) reporting the biggest 48-hour fall of 110cm. So there’s powder everywhere but also a high avalanche danger to be noted off-piste with the danger level in many areas moving up to level 4, just one below the highest possible. 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

It has been an often snowy week in Switzerland too with the heavier snowfall now in the west rather than the east as it was from Christmas to mid-January. So whilst Andermatt (80/600cm) in the east continues to post the deepest base in the world, it has not had much fresh snow. Whilst areas in the Valais to the west have posted up to 80cm of snowfall in the last week with the heaviest snow falling over the past few days. The Central Switzerland canton has benefited from snow first coming from the east and more recently the west and it too has seen some big snowfalls in the past few days. Engelberg (50/520cm), for example, now has the country’s (and the world’s) second deepest base after 55cm (nearly two feet) of fresh snowfall in the past few days.


Italy snowfall
There have not been many big snowfalls in Italy so far this winter. But currently the snow in southwestern Europe is moving east and has come over the border into the Piemonte region, north of Nice: 45cm for Limone Piemonte overnight.

ITALY

It has been the snowiest week of the month, and indeed for much of the winter so far, in parts of Italy, and it looks set to get snowier. The biggest accumulations have been reported on the western side of the country with La Thuile (25/170cm) reporting 40cm of new snowfall since the weekend. There’s been snow further east too, just not so much this week with Madesimo (60/265cm), which has one of the deepest upper-slope base depths in the country, getting 15cm since Saturday. Temperatures are currently low with many resorts at double-digits below freezing, even down at village level, which should mean the snow is great for skiing and boarding as it continues to accumulate.


Pyrenees Snowboarder
The 7 day snowfall totals in the Pyrenees (Andorra, France and Spain) are now up to 2.3 metres (7.7 feet) and conditions have totally transformed in the region. The Grand Tourmalet region, around the resorts of La Mongie and Bareges, in France (pictured) reports the biggest accumulations but they’re huge everywhere.

ANDORRA

It has been a remarkable week for snowfall in the Pyrenees. Definitely €˜the big one’ for the season so far with several resorts in the French Pyrenees posting more than 2.1m (7 feet) of snow in the last seven days. At times this heavy snowfall has been accompanied by strong winds and low clouds giving blizzard conditions on the mountains, blocking access roads and ramping up the avalanche danger. But once these issues have eased there’s deep powder waiting after two months with little fresh snowfall in the region. Grandvalira (40/140cm), in Andorra, reported 50cm of snowfall on Sunday/Monday alone.


NORWAY/SWEDEN

Andorra Snow Map

A fairly quiet week in Scandinavia which is the region set to become the focus of world attention next week as the bi-annual Alpine Skiing World Championships kick off in Are (70/70cm), Sweden, the biggest resort in the area. There’s been snowfall across Sweden bringing 5-10cm of fresh snow over the past 72 hours. But the biggest snowfalls of 15-20cm since the weekend have been reported in Eastern Norway, with one of the country’s biggest resorts, Hemsedal (85/85cm) posting a 19cm accumulation, with 14cm at nearby Geilo (53/85cm).


GERMANY

Germany Snow Map

It is snowy once again in Germany where conditions have completely transformed through January after the warm, dry December. The past month has been one of the snowiest in years in Bavaria and the wider area though and there’s no real sign of it easing off much. The past 24 hours have, in fact, seen the biggest snowfalls in Europe reported in Germany with Baiersbronn (110/150cm) posting the biggest: 50cm/20 inches. The Zugspitze glacier (0/390cm), Germany’s highest, continues to post the deepest base in the country with 40cm more fresh snow in the past few days. But bases are good across the country and the problem continues to be the clearing of snow to open roads and make the slopes safe, rather than any lack of snow. Most of the country’s larger areas have at least 2-metre snow depths. Oberstdorf (60/210cm) reported 30cm more in the past 24 hours and Balderschwang (50/200cm) another 45cm in the same period.


BULGARIA

It’s continuing to look good in Bulgaria with a healthy base and most lifts operating and runs open across the country – temperatures are hovering at around zero in resorts and colder in the mountains. There was a big dump at the largest resort: Bansko (80/160cm) at the end of last week which brought the main gondola lifts to a standstill on Friday, but conditions were then great for the weekend. Pamporovo (215/235cm) continues to report the deepest base in the country.


SCOTLAND

A typical weather roller coaster week in Scotland. Over a week of cold weather allowed Glencoe (15/25cm) and Nevis Range (0/0cm) to finally open a few runs last Thursday, just before temperatures leapt up to well above freezing, wiping out much of the thin cover. Since the weekend temperatures have dropped again and there’s been more snow leaving centres storm-bound on Sunday and allowing The Lecht (10/5cm) to open some trails on Monday.


JAPAN

It remains a snowy picture across Japan and the vigilance of the authorities there to minimise avalanche risk sadly proved as valid as always when a French skier died on Saturday skiing off-piste near Myoko in Niigata Prefecture after he and two friends skiing with him, who survived, were engulfed in a 300 metre long slide. The rate of snowfall has slowed compared to the previous week in Niseko (125/310cm). But with another 55cm (22 inches) in the last 7 days it has gone through the 3m/10 foot base depth on upper slopes this week and is just a few centimetres off the 7-metre season-to-date snowfall total.


Alta Utah Skier
It’s been a very snowy week in the USA with Alta in Utah posting the biggest 7 day total at 1.6 metres (63 inches). Jackson Hole, pictured, is not far behind with 1.2 metres (45 inches).

USA

After some decent dumps last week it has been fairly dry in the US since the weekend with little fresh snow reported on East or West coasts. The biggest accumulations since Sunday have been reported in Colorado with one of North America’s highest altitude areas: Loveland (142/142cm), in Colorado, saying its had 21cm/7 inches of fresh. Nearby, Breckenridge (147/147cm) has had 11cm in the last few days but recently announced it was extending its ski season from its usual late April end to the end of May this spring and, conditions permitting, every spring moving forward. Conditions are good across most of the country with Californian areas posting the deepest based thanks to the huge snowfalls there in recent weeks. Soda Springs (462/462cm) currently claims the deepest in the country and indeed in all of North America.


CANADA

Canada Snow Map

The eastern side of Canada has seen more snow than the west since the weekend and, compared to a week ago, more resorts in the east have moved to the top of the snow depths table ahead of western areas. Mont Tremblant (318/318cm) has taken the country’s deepest base for 2018-19 through the three metre/10 feet mark. Conditions are good across the country. However, with nearly every lift running and every trail open at every Canadian ski area, Whistler Blackcomb (245/245cm) has one of the deepest bases in the west after its big December snowfalls.


EUROPEAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

It is going to stay snowy this week in the Western Alps with ski areas in France and Western Switzerland likely to see another 50cm to as much as a metre of snow by the end of Saturday keeping the powder conditions going through into February. The Chamonix Valley looks especially snowy. In the Eastern Alps of Austria and Eastern Switzerland, it is looking fairly wintery too with regular light snowstorms and the occasional day of heavy falls. We expect most areas to see 20-30cm of snow over the coming week and some in the Western Tirol as much as 50cm or more. If things pan out as currently forecast it looks like Italian ski areas should see their snowiest week of the winter so far with the northern Dolomites likely to see 50-80cm of snow by the weekend, with the heaviest falls later this week; that’s as much as many ski areas there have seen all winter. There’s no clear sign of an end in sight to the snowfall in the Pyrenees with snow expected to keep dumping right through the week, bringing another 70cm or so to Andorra by the weekend and much more on the Spanish side of the mountains where some really huge accumulations are possible. The French side will see more fresh snow too but probably less than the past week. After the unfortunate 24-hour temperature leap up 10 degrees at the end of last week it’s back to mostly sub-zero temperatures in the Scottish Highlands and this should continue for the week ahead. There’s not much snow in the forecast, however, but temperatures are low enough for snow-making.


NORTH AMERICAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

North American Snow Map

There’s due to be a resumption in snow deliveries to Western North America from the middle of this week with California and Oregon likely to see some of the biggest falls in the US (up to 70cm) with the heaviest accumulations expected Friday/Saturday. The snowfall should continue East and arrive in Utah around then too. Other parts of the US will see small 10-20cm accumulations over the coming week with most of the snow in the East looking likely to arrive over the next day or two, before skies clear ahead of the weekend. Over the Canadian border, it’s looking cold and clear for much of the country with most of the significant snow forecast likely to hit coastal ski areas on the east and west sides of the country. That could mean 10-20cm in Quebec but it’s coastal V/BC resorts like Whistler and Mount Washington (220/220cm) on Vancouver Island that could see significant snowfalls of 50-70cm respectively.