Issued: 13th March 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.

Squaw Valley recently announced they were staying open this season to July 7th, They now report the world’s deepest snow base at 6.17m (20.5ft).

INTRODUCTION:

Most of the Alps has seen the heaviest snow for two months over the past 72 hours. Some Swiss ski areas have reported up to 90cm (3ft) of fresh snow to start the week.

The good news, for those still hoping for powder this late in the season, is that it’s due to keep snowing all this week and there could be another metre on the way by the weekend, at some areas. It is approaching mid-March, however, and the season is changing so the weather is on a bit of a roller coaster. This isn’t just gentle powder drifting down, but coming in sometimes on strong winds, sometimes with zero visibility due to fog and sometimes, as rain down in the valleys. Temperatures down low are getting above zero regularly. Whilst up in the mountains figures are in double digits Celsius below freezing at about 3000m. But there are still some perfect days with breaks in the weather, after the latest snowfall, when conditions are near perfect.

Elsewhere in Europe, there’s been the first fresh snow for the best part of a month in the Dolomite and Pyrenees too, transforming conditions there.

We are heading towards astronomical spring (as well as the meteorological version we’ve already started) and so it’s no surprise that base stats are starting to look a bit meagre at some lower ski resorts like Chamonix (5cm). There’s still plenty up high though and the vast majority of areas are still offering top-to-bottom skiing.

In Northern Europe, it has been snowy in both Scandinavia and Scotland with some areas in Norway and Sweden posting up to 50cm of fresh snow in the past week. Scottish ski areas are gradually re-opening terrain previously closed by the big thaw, caused by last month’s record February temperatures.

Things have settled down for the start of this week in North America after yet another very snowy week last week. This time it was Colorado getting the brunt of it with Breckenridge (262/262cm), reporting 1.5m (5ft) of snowfall in just a few days and severe avalanche danger reported in many parts of the state. It kept snowing in California too where Squaw Valley, which recently announced it would stay open into July this year, announced it had reached a 617cm (20.5ft) base, overtaking the long-standing deepest base in the world for most of this season, claimed by Andermatt (43/600cm) in the Swiss Alps.


INDEX:

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


Austria

It has been snowing across most of Austria and the accumulations of the past week, in particularly the past 72 hours, are the biggest since the west of the country ground to a standstill in the huge snowfalls during the first three weeks of January. One of the resorts that really got dumped on then, Saalbach Hinterglemm (90/210cm) is seeing huge snowfalls again, reporting more than 60cm (2ft) of new snow since the weekend. For most other Austrian resorts the numbers are 20-50cm of fresh snow, so far. Up on the glaciers, base depths have crept back up to 5m for the first time since January. Although the Dachstein, the area posting that number, was closed on Tuesday due to fog and heavy snow. The temperature there were -15C.


FRANCE

France Snow Map

There have been snowfalls across the French Alps over the past week too with some of the heaviest snowfalls since the weekend. Typically, resorts have reported 10-30cm so far and bases are getting progressively deeper for the first time in several months. Les Arcs (147/295cm), which has had 25cm of fresh snow since Sunday, is currently posting the deepest base in the country. But it is a fast changing picture with more snow falling and lots of resorts posting totals close to those in Paradiski.  Chamonix (5/205cm) is actually posting the biggest snowfall in the country in the past 72 hours with 35cm (14″) but skiers in resort say this has been falling as rain in town at times.

saalbach
A number of ski areas in the Alps have now reported 60cm (2ft) of fresh snow in the past 72 hours including Davos Klosters, Galtür, Zugspitze and Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn (pictured). Anzère, Les remontées mécaniques reports 90cm! Hundreds more report 30-50cm…

SWITZERLAND

Switzerland Snow Map

Swiss ski areas have reported the biggest snowfalls of the past week with one resort Anzere (60/220cm) reporting 90cm (3ft) of snowfall in the past 72 hours and a total of 98cm, just under a metre, in the last week; the biggest fall by some distance in the country for almost two months. The biggest accumulations have been in the Valais region. Besides Anzere, Leukerbad (35/220cm) reported 55cm of fresh snow in the same period. But resorts across the country, including in central Switzerland and Graububnden to the east, have had heavy snowfall too. Andermatt (34/600cm) has lost its ‘€˜deepest base in the world’ title but is still deepest in Europe, although Engelberg (54/586cm) is edging closer.


ITALY

Italy has seen its biggest snowfalls of the past few days along its western border with France, particularly in the Piemonte and Aosta Valley areas. In this area there was up to 35cm of fresh snowfall reported. San Domenico di Varzo (40/400cm), in Piemonte, reported 25cm in the past 24 hours and has the joint deepest base in the country. There was some snow for the Dolomites at the end of last week too.  Passo Tonale (60/400cm) on the Lombardy/Trentino border region equals the country’s deepest base and is expected to remain open to late spring, as usual. At long last it has been turning snowier once again in Italy after a mostly dry February. Indeed, the last big snowfalls in the country were four weeks ago; at the start of last month. So far, the fresh snowfall has only brought 5-15cm of fresh cover. But that new snow is very welcome on the established bases and it’s also widespread, covering most of the country’s ski areas. This includes resorts down in the Dolomites. The country’s deepest snow base continues to be on the Presena Glacier (70/400cm), near Ponte di Legno in Lombardy, where the ski season usually continues late into spring.


ANDORRA

There have been several periods of light to moderate snowfall in Andorra over the past seven days, bringing to an end a period of predominantly warm, dry weather. These conditions saw bases slowly decrease, although not to any serious degree that threatened the opening of slopes. The new snow, in the middle of last week and the start of this, has refreshed cover and there’s more on the way this week. Base depths remain good across the principality with Arcalis (160/220cm) posting the deepest.


Geilo
Some big snowfalls in Norway over the past few days with reports of up to 70cm in 48 hours and 45cm in the last 24 hours. Geilo (pictured) has had 30cm (1ft) since the weekend.

NORWAY/SWEDEN

Andorra Snow Map

It has been one of the snowiest weeks of the season so far in Scandinavia with heavy snow reported across much of Norway and Sweden. So, there has been plenty of powder to enjoy, especially at more northerly resorts like Kåbdalis (120/120cm), in the Jokkmokk area of Northern Sweden, which reported 20cm of fresh snow at the weekend. Over on Norway’s coast, Voss (50/100cm) was another snowfall winner with 42cm of fresh snow in 72 hours.


GERMANY

Germany Snow Map

Some good snowfalls in the southern Oberbayern region of Germany as well as in Bayrischer Wald, with the resort’s highest ski area: the Zugspitze (0/400cm) once again posting the biggest snowfall totals with 60cm (2ft) in the past few day; 50cm of that fell in the past 24 hours alone. There were good snowfalls across much of the country’s ski regions though with Oberstdorf (40/190cm), in the Allgau region, reporting 20cm of fresh in 24 hours for example. The resort has all lifts running and all of its slopes fully open.


BULGARIA

Temperatures have dropped in Bulgaria to mostly sub-zero from resort to the mountain top and some ski areas including Pamporovo (220/260cm) are seeing fresh snow after several weeks of thawing with warm temperatures (Pamporovo’s upper slope base depth was 290cm a month ago). Snow depths look good for the rest of the season with the area’s largest resort Bansko (100/160cm) still with a metre lying on lower slopes and almost all runs open.


Glencoe Resort
Western Scottish ski areas: Glencoe Mountain Resort and Nevis Range are re-opening terrain this weekend after snow fell through the week and more in the forecast. Both areas now have several runs open plus off-piste opportunities. More snow is needed at the other centres before they can open more terrain.

SCOTLAND

Another week of improving conditions in Scotland as the cold spell that began with the start of spring continues and the snow keeps falling, on the hills at least. The biggest improvements, after almost all the snow on the hills was wiped out by the February-thaw, has come in the west with Glencoe (5/45cm) and Nevis Range (5/45cm) both able to open terrain on their upper mountain slopes at the weekend. The other three areas say they need more snow before they can re-open runs but it is still coming down.


JAPAN

It has been a third successive week with little fresh snowfall to report in much of Japan, particularly on the famed ‘powder island’ of Hokkaido to the north. Niseko (120/320cm) has finally seen its season snowfall stat tick over from the 899cm, it has been for most of March, to 900cm. But with not much snowfall on the horizon still, it’s not looking good for hitting the annual average. Although, that said, there’s still nearly two months of the season left. Further south, in Nozawa (80/300cm), there was a 20cm snowfall last Friday but rain has fallen more recently.


Parts of Colorado are at a standstill today as huge snowfalls continue. Aspen Snowmass reported nearly 2ft of snow overnight, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area just announced they won’t open due to extreme avalanche danger. An avalanche is reported to have taken out a gas pipeline near Copper Mountain leading to road closures in the area (on top of closures due to the snow) and a delayed start to the ski day there.

USA

Last week was another very snowy one in the US with Colorado making the headlines for big accumulations there (most resorts got at least a metre of snow in just a few days, some as much as 1.5m (5ft) of snow. This caused plenty of logistical issues but also racked up the avalanche danger to ‘€˜extreme’.  Arapahoe Basin (239/239cm) was one of those resorts that closed completely because of this level of risk and nearby Copper Mountain (218/305cm) was temporarily closed when an avalanche took out a nearby gas pipeline, causing a leak. Several avalanches hit roads too trapping drivers in their cars. In California, and most of the rest of the west of the US, it kept snowing too with ski areas on the Pacific coast overtaking Switzerland to post the world’s deepest bases at over 6m (20ft). There was snow again in the east. But it has also been windy and warm at times. However, bases are still holding up.


Alaska
There has been more than a metre (40″) of snowfall (107cm/43″ to be precise) in the past 72 hours in Alaska; at Alyeska Resort.

CANADA

Canada Snow Map

It’s eastern Canada that has again been seeing the biggest snowfalls in in the country over the past week. Tremblant (537/537cm), in Quebec, is one of several resorts reporting more than 40cm of fresh snow in the past few days. It has moved further ahead of its west coast competitors on the ‘deepest-snow-in-the-nation’ table. That’s not to say the west has stared dry and Whistler Blackcomb (268/268cm), where there’s still two months of the season left to run, reported 29cm in the same period.


EUROPEAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

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There is no immediate end in sight to the predominantly snowy weather in the Alps with most of the region expected to see more snow through the rest of this week; intensifying by Friday. Many areas may indeed see 30-60cm of snow on Thursday and Friday before a weekend lull in the weather, then the snowfall resumes on Monday. Seven day totals could be as much as a metre in some regions, including Austria’s Arlberg and Otztal areas and at Andermatt, in Switzerland, Italy’s Ortler Ski Arena and the Chamonix Valley, in France. Many other ski regions could come close to these numbers and most should see 30-60cm more snow at least. There’s less snow expected in the Dolomites where the weather conditions are a little more marginal in terms of the likelihood of snowfall. However, it’s possible some areas will see some small to moderate accumulations. In the Pyrenees, a few more light snow showers are expected later this week and at the start of next. But we’re most likely talking 5-10cm in total, at best, so nothing to get too excited about; better than nothing though. For Scotland, it’s a snowy but still stormy picture too which basically means bases should keep building and hopefully, the snow fences will stop the fresh snow from blowing off. It will be a case of keeping an eye out for non-stormy days, when it will be first-come-first-served with the fresh powder.


NORTH AMERICAN WEATHER OUTLOOK

North American Snow Map

After the massive snowfalls of recent weeks and months many Americans will be relieved at a fairly benign picture for the week ahead when they can just enjoy the world’s deepest snow bases without fear of a blizzard hitting them. Most of the country is looking dry with just the odd inch of snow expected here and there. A few places may bet another foot over the coming week but not many. Potentially, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Alaska are looking like the snowiest spots. Over the Canadian border it’s not looking a particularly snowy week ahead and what snow we do get will predominantly be in the west, with 20-30cm of snow likely in BC and western Alberta. Quebec looks like it will get a few centimetres more snow and temperatures will remain below zero on the slopes. However, it may get as high as +5C, at times, down in the valleys.