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Snow overview - our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Snow Overview

Our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Get the latest snow and weather conditions in all major ski areas updated on Monday and Thursday afternoons by the Ski Club's information department.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Summary

Those heading out for the impending half-term holiday break will have been given a boost over the course of the week, with plenty of fresh snow being reported across the Alps. 20-50cm of new snow has fallen in many regions, with some resorts reporting upwards of 80cm over the past week. Resorts across the southern Alps have also got in on the action, with powder riding being reported in select resorts. Base depths and snow coverage has improved across the region as a result, with excellent skiing to be had both on and off the piste. All this new snow does warrant caution, however, with the avalanche risk rising significantly as a result. Fresh turns will be in abundance but please take extra caution and be sure to check in resort for the latest information. 

The Pyrenees have seen some good improvements over the past week thanks to some light snowfall across many resorts in Andorra, France and Spain. Plenty more snow is in the forecast, so expect conditions across the region to only further improve. 

A light dusting of fresh snow has improved the pistes across much of Eastern Europe, with good skiing conditions to be found in many resorts on Thursday 11th February. Light snow is forecast over much of the weekend so conditions should remain good ahead of the busy holiday period.

Good skiing is still prevalent across much of Scandinavia. Sweden is offering some of the best of the current conditions after some good snowfall over the course of the week. The sun was shining across much of the region on Thursday, with light snowfall expected in many resorts over the weekend.

Scottish skiing continues to look promising. Up to 10cm of fresh snow arrived at Cairngorm on Thursday with Lecht also reporting some heavy snow showers. Nevis Range offered some good off-piste conditions in the Back Corries earlier this week and Glencoe has reported almost all of its runs as open for skiing. The forecast looks to be set fair for the weekend; sunny skies are the dominant theme with temperatures hovering around freezing mark.

Despite a lack of recent snowfall, conditions across the USA and Canada remain excellent across the board. The majority of lifts are currently in operation and pockets of fresh powder can still be found in some select resorts. Light snow is expected in many regions over the weekend, with plenty of sunshine on offer in the week ahead.

Good conditions are currently available on the east coast, having put the disastrous start to the season firmly behind them. Light snow over the course of the last week has ensured that slopes remain in good condition. Light snow is forecast over the much of next week so expect conditions to only further improve over the coming days.

Austria

There was some excellent skiing on offer across Austria on Thursday 11th February, with the sun shining brightly in the west of the country in particular. Further east some clouds from yesterday’s snowfall were lingering on the peaks, but some decent sunny breaks were seen in places.

Once again the Arlberg region was the place to be, especially as the skies were sunniest here on Thursday. Loads of new snow has been recorded at Lech (150/205cm) and St Anton (95/220cm) where base depths are very impressive. All but one lift was running in the Ski Arlberg region, so not only was the snow quality excellent but the variety on offer was fantastic.

Some great skiing was also to be found slightly further east at Ischgl (30/115cm), Galtur (55/105cm) and Serfaus (20/120cm) although here the avalanche danger hit Level 4 on Thursday – so off piste skiing was not advised herea.

Significant improvement in the piste conditions was also reported in the big linked areas in the east of the Tyrol and across in the Salzburg region. In excess of 10cm of fresh snow has been picked up at the likes of Ellmau (55/65cm) in the Ski Welt, Badgastein (40/120cm) in the Ski Amade region and at Kitzbuhel (56/85cm). The biggest winner however was the SkiCircus that includes the resorts of Saalbach (55/90cm) and Fieberbrunn (60/150cm) where 25cm fell on the upper slopes.

The outlook as we head towards half term is very positive, with fresh snow expected to land at all of our featured resorts in the country. As has been the case for much of the season, the Arlberg is in the firing line for some heavy snow, with around 50cm possible here by Wednesday 17th February. However the heaviest snow looks set for the Otztal Valley at the likes of Obergurgl (30/175cm) and Solden (15/263cm) where in excess of a metre of new snow is forecast.

France

This week has seen a good amount of snowfall across our featured French resorts. Of the resorts we feature around the world, French resorts fill 42 of the top 100 slots for fresh snow totals over the last seven days, eight of which are in the top ten.

The heaviest snowfall recently has landed in the resorts along the Chamonix valley, and in particular at Argentiere (40/250cm) where over two metres if snow has landed in the last seven days. The base depth at Lognan, often referred to as the lower skiing area at Argentiere, was 193cm on Thursday 11th February.

The conditions around Chamonix (40/360cm), as across France, should continue to improve with all of our featured French resorts forecast further snowfall over the next nine days. The greatest amount of new snow is expected to land in the Espace Killy ski area and in particular at Val d’Isere (134/235cm). La Grave (60/110cm) and Bonneval sur Arc (110/230cm) are also looking good. All three of these resorts could receive in excess of two metres of new snow over the next nine days. Even though the forecast for these three resorts is excellent, they are not alone. All of our featured French resort should get new snow, from 35cm over the same period at Font Romeu (35cm) up to over a metre of fresh at resorts further north, as well as in other resorts in the Pyrenees.

Switzerland

It was a sunny start to the day for many resorts across Switzerland on Thursday 11th February, with cloud expected to move in over the course of the afternoon. Plenty of new snow has been reported throughout many regions over the course of the past week, which has seen conditions improve significantly as a result.

The high winds of earlier in the week have abated for the time being which should make for a much more pleasant skiing experience over the coming days. Excellent conditions can be found across the majority of regions, with standout resorts including Engelberg (30/340cm) and Verbier (27/200cm), where 10cm of new snow has ensured that slopes were excellent on Thursday, with pockets of fresh powder to found on the upper mountain.

Cloud will move in over the course of Thursday afternoon, bringing with it the possibility of some light snowfall across many resorts. Snow is set to fall over much of the weekend, the heaviest of which will fall over the course of Saturday, with around 15-30m expected across northern Switzerland. Light snow is expected to continue falling over much of the week ahead, with visibility greatly affected as a result. Temperatures will remain low across many regions, with lows of around -5C expected. With lots of new snow in many resorts, the avalanche risk is expected to be considerable over the coming days, so be sure to take extra care and check with in resort for the latest information.

Italy

Changeable weather was affecting many regions across Italy on Thursday 11th February, with early morning sunshine giving way to light snowfall by the afternoon. Conditions across many resorts have seen dramatic improvement of late thanks to recent snowfalls.

The Dolomites saw some much need fresh snow, with totals in excess of 20cm falling in the majority of resorts in the region. The resorts of Arabba (40/48cm) and Campitello (15/80cm) saw the biggest gains, seeing around 40-60cm of new snow over the course of the week. Conditions have seen significant improvements as a result, with excellent slopes and pockets of fresh powder to be found off-piste. Base depths have seen significant improvements across the region, with good skiing now available across the entire mountain.

Resorts across the Aosta Valley typically saw some of the heaviest of the recent snowfall, with Courmayeur (90/190cm) seeing around 50cm of fresh snowfall throughout Wednesday. Elsewhere conditions across the region have seen vast improvements, with 20cm of new snow ensuring that excellent skiing is currently available in the resorts of Cervinia (50/240cm) and La Thuile (60/220cm).

The Milky Way region has seen some encouraging signs of improvement of late, with 20cm of fresh snow recorded earlier in the week. As a result, all links between resorts are now open, with 53 lifts currently in operation. Only 87km of pistes are currently open, although expect this to increase as conditions continue to improve.

Cloud is set to move in throughout much of the afternoon on Thursday, bring with it the possibility of some light snowfall. This is likely to continue over much of the weekend, with resorts across the Aosta Valley likely to see around 20-40cm by the start of next week. Plenty more snow expected over the week ahead, with the heaviest of this likely to fall over the course of Tuesday.  Temperatures will remain below freezing for the duration, with lows of around -5C across many regions. The avalanche risk is expected to be high for much of the week ahead due to the large volume of snow that has fallen over the past week. As a result, please take extra care if heading off-piste and be sure to check in resort for the latest avalanche information.

Andorra

Light snow was falling across Andorra on Thursday 11th February, adding to the good base that is in place before the half-term holidays kick off. The latest Ski Club Leader reports from the resort of Soldeu (35/65cm) suggest that surface conditions are excellent across the mountain, with all lifts spinning to soak up the building crowds. Across in the Vallnord region some very good skiing was to be found at the resort of Arcalis (80/115cm) in particular, where the deepest base in the country can be found.

The outlook is extremely positive for the weekend and in particular for the start of the half term week. Around 20cm of snow is possible by Sunday, before the temperature drops significantly at the start of next week as a cold front sweeps in. Up to 30cm of snow is forecast by Wednesday so expect some fantastic skiing.

Norway/Sweden

Thursday 11th February was a stunning day to be out in the Norwegian mountains, the sun was shining, temperatures were sitting at around -5C and thanks to recent snowfalls the snow conditions were exceptional. Fantastic skiing was on offer at all of our featured resorts, with some powder still to be found from Tuesday’s snowfall at the likes of Hemsedal (117/117cm) and Lillehammer (50/70cm) in particular.

The outlook for half term is excellent, with Thursday’s weather setting the template for the weekend and the start of the new week. Temperatures look set to remain very cold (between -5C and -10C during the day at mid-mountain) and the sun looks set to shine for much of the time. Oppdal (40/50cm) may see some cloudier weather at times and up to 20cm of fresh snow is possible here which is great news.

Germany

Snow conditions are steadily improving throughout many of our featured resorts across Germany thanks to some light snowfall over the week. Snow coverage and base depth have seen an increase and lift operations are improving daily. Spitzingsee (25/100cm) has seen the biggest gains of late, with 20cm of new snow in resort ensuring fresh turns both on and off the piste on Thursday 11th February. Garmisch (110/290cm) is still the place to head for the best of the current conditions, with excellent skiing available on the upper mountain thanks to recent snowfalls.

It was a predominately sunny across all resort on Thursday, with low temperatures affecting many areas. The good weather will continue into much of Friday, before light snow moves in over the weekend. Totals of around 5-15cm are expected across many resorts, with rain affecting Reit im Winkl (49/90cm) and Spitzingsee (25/100cm) due to mild temperatures on Saturday.

Bulgaria

The sun was shining on Thursday morning across Bulgaria, however high winds were impacting lift operations at Bansko (65/100cm) and Borovets (70/105cm) in particular. Sadly it was the highest lifts that were shut, limiting access to the best snow conditions as lower down the slopes have become soft and slushy in places.

Clouds are forecast to move in during the afternoon and may bring up to 30cm of fresh snow to the upper slopes by the weekend. Unfortunately the outlook is less favourable for half term, with the freezing level set to soar to 3,000m by Monday when sadly some light rain is also possible.

Scotland

Scotland continues to offer some very good skiing following the snowfalls of last weekend. Thursday morning started with a fresh blanket of up to 10cm of new snow at Cairngorm (40/50cm), who managed to get 6/11 lifts running. Elsewhere in the east, The Lecht (16/28cm) and Glenshee (8/28cm) have also had dustings of new snow, providing fresh conditions on a hard packed base and improving the on- piste coverage.

Nevis Range (30/50cm) and Glencoe (27/57cm) continued to look promising on Thursday with the odd snow shower refreshing the slopes. The snow level at Nevis Range was down to 650m and the access to the Back Corries has been available for one of the first times this season. However, as always Nevis Range recommend checking in with Ski Patrol for the most up to date information. At Glencoe all runs are open with the exception of the car park run with pockets of powder to be found for the canny skier.

Looking forward to the weekend, the weather for the Scottish ski centers looks to be fair. Sunny skies and temperatures hovering around freezing is the theme across the board, and this should provide weekend visitors excellent skiing conditions.  The good weather is likely to continue into next week with the odd snow shower predicted in the east on Monday.

USA

It was a beautiful day across much of Utah and Colorado on Thursday 11th February, with the sun shining across many of our featured resorts. Despite a lack of recent snowfall conditions across the region remain excellent, with good skiing still available throughout many resorts. Temperatures have been relatively mild of late, however, they are likely to drop below freezing once more over the course of the weekend.

The sun continues to shine across California, with spring-like conditions across many of our featured resorts due to rising temperatures. Conditions both on and off the piste in Squaw Valley (165/305cm) and Heavenly (210cm) are soft across the entire mountain, particularly during the afternoon. Such conditions look likely to continue over much of the week ahead, with temperatures to remain mild and the sun to continue shining.

On the east coast conditions are continuing to improve thanks to low temperatures and light snowfall during the week. The best of the conditions can currently be found in Sugarbush (25/81cm) after 23cm of fresh snow fell in resort over Wednesday night. Plenty more snow is forecast across the region over the week ahead. Temperatures are set to remain bitterly cold, with lows of -26C expected over the weekend.

Canada

Sticking to the upper slopes was the best option in British Columbia following some sleety weather lower down on Wednesday. Some fresh snow was recorded higher up at the likes of Kicking Horse (167cm) and Revelstoke (218cm) so as a result some good skiing was on offer, but elsewhere it was a partly cloudy and dry day. Unfortunately before the real snow arrives next week a further spell of sleety weather is forecast for Saturday, especially at Whistler (230cm) where rain is expected to fall below around 1,800m.

Some good skiing was on offer in Alberta at the resorts of Lake Louise (100/127cm) and Sunshine Village (145cm) in particular. The sun was out and the lower slopes were softening nicely into spring-like snow by the afternoon. This looks set to change as colder and snowier weather moves in for the new week, potentially bringing as much as 50cm of new snow to all levels by Thursday 18th February.

Conditions continue to improve on the east coast at our two featured resorts of Tremblant (60/60cm) and Mont Sainte-Anne (30/60cm). Thursday was bitterly cold and a little light snow was falling, and the forecast calls for more of the same with temperatures forecast to dip to as low as -30C on Saturday night. Further spells of snow are forecast for next week which is great news.

European Weather Outlook

Once again the outlook is a snowy one for the Alps as we head towards February half term. All parts of the mountain range can expect some heavy snow over the coming days which is excellent news. Firstly the northern and western Alps are set to see snow on Friday/Saturday/Sunday, when up to a 100cm of powder is possible in places. The focus of the heaviest snow is then set to move to the southern Alps, with southern France, Italy and southern Austria in line to receive the biggest falls on Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday. In excess of 150cm is possible in the Aosta Valley and around Monterosa, with up to 100cm forecast for the Dolomites. Further north lighter snow is expected but it looks likely that sunshine will be at a premium for the first part of half term week at least. Hopefully the new snow will make up for this but do keep an eye out on the latest avalanche forecasts as the risk is set to remain high with all of the new snow landing.

The forecast for the Pyrenees is also a very positive one. Up to 20cm is set to land by Saturday, but this could fall as rain or sleet on the lower slopes. From Sunday onwards much colder air looks set to move in, dropping the freezing level to around 1,000m, and bringing with it some good falls of snow. Spain looks set to receive the heaviest snow, but between 30 and 60cm is possible everywhere.

Eastern Europe sadly is not due to benefit from the wintry weather forecast for the Alps. Some snow is forecast in the areas close to the Alps (such as Kranjska Gora in Slovenia), but by Monday temperatures look set to rise across the region as the wind turns southerly. The freezing level may reach as high as 3,000m so expect spring-like conditions at most resorts as the sun gets to work.

Scandinavia looks set to see a stunning spell of winter weather, with lots of sunshine and bitterly cold temperatures forecast over the weekend and into next week. Temperatures look set to stay below -5C for the whole period. Friday and Saturday may bring a few snow showers to parts of Sweden and Finland, but also the Norwegian resort of Oppdal – where up to 20cm is possible.

The forecast for Scotland is very similar, with cold and mostly sunny weather forecast for half term week. Expect resorts to be very busy as result, but the cold should preserve the snow in great condition and the sun will provide excellent visibility. Some snow showers are possible at times too, particularly on Sunday and Wednesday which should further improve the conditions.

North American Weather Outlook

The outlook is very snowy for western Canada, with snow expected every day over the weekend and into next week too. The freezing level may nudge up to around mid-mountain on Monday so look out for some heavier conditions lower down. Temperatures are set to drop from Monday onwards and 30-60cm is possible at all of our featured resorts which is great news for half term.

The very settled weather across the Rocky Mountains of the USA looks set to continue until Saturday, when a weak weather front is expected to move through. Utah may only see a dusting on Sunday and Monday, whereas Colorado could pick up 10cm whereas further north at Jackson Hole and Big Sky up to 30cm is possible. More widespread snowfall is forecast for Thursday 18th February.

California’s early taste of spring looks set to roll through across the weekend and well into half term week. Daytime highs may hit +10C on the lower slopes but with such deep bases in place the skiing should still remain good. The weather looks set to break down on Wednesday when a storm sweeps in off the Atlantic, but this remains a long way off still.

Across on the east coast of both the USA and Canada a bitterly cold weekend is forecast. Daytime highs may struggle to top -25C on Saturday and then again -20C on Sunday. Some fresh snow is forecast to fall before the end of the weekend too which is great news. A much bigger storm looks set to sweep down from the north on Tuesday 16th February, potentially dropping as much as 75cm in a 24 hour period – certainly one to keep an eye out for.
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