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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 26 March 2015

latest Ski Club Snowcast

Summary

Thursday 26th March was changeable across the Alps, with many resorts catching some fresh snow. The focus of the heaviest snow was been southern Switzerland and western Italy. Unsettled weather is expected to continue through the rest of the week and into the weekend, with the potential for some good falls of snow in the northern Swiss and Austrian Alps.

It was quite a miserable day for weather conditions in Austria on Thursday. The clouds did bring traces of snow to higher resorts but at the same time rain was falling at a lower altitude.

Light dustings of snow were picked up across much of France overnight into Thursday and much of the country was covered by thick clouds for much of the day. Head high for the freshest snow and the best chance of catching some sunshine above the clouds.

New snow was recorded on the upper slopes of most Swiss resorts on Thursday morning, leading to powdery conditions up high but with mild temperatures some heavy conditions have been reported lower down.

Western Italy has seen fresh snow which fell overnight and into morning of Thursday, which was followed by sunshine and light cloud. The east was a different story with thick clouds bringing light rain and snow but also reducing visibility significantly.

The Pyrenees has seen some great falls of new snow this week, with regular top ups providing some excellent powder conditions across the mountain range.

Thursday was a snowy day across Scandinavia, with the heaviest falls expected in Norway. Some more snow is forecast over the weekend which is great news for the upcoming Easter holidays.

Bulgaria retains an excellent snow base and with most lifts operating, the conditions across the country are great for the time of year. Head high for the best snow.

Fresh snow fell across Scotland, with the most falling on the west coast where the conditions are excellent for the time of year. The Lecht and Glenshee are currently waiting for more snow.

The sun was shining over most of the Rockies following some great snowfall this week – the conditions across the mountain are excellent all round. California remains warm and sunny and the great season continues over on the east coast with great skiing at all resorts.

The upper slopes of western Canada have caught some big falls of snow, and whilst lower down the snow is heavy and wet, some good powder is to be found. The east coast remains in great condition, with some light dustings of new snow and fantastic snow across the mountain.

Austria

The mild temperatures have unfortunately brought rain to lower regions and resort runs, which has started to affect the snow conditions. Despite the rain, there have been traces of fresh snow at higher altitudes, which has freshened up the pistes a little.

The glacial resorts have seen light snowfall of varying amounts. Kaunertal (233/335cm) probably received the most snow with approximately 10cm being reported. The skiing conditions were very good but the weather was more on the negative side as the clouds were thick and visibility was quite poor. As a result of the weather conditions, some lifts were closed so 12 of the 16 were in operation.

The warm climate and rain has reduced some skiing capabilities in some resorts, St Wolfgang (0/37cm) being one of them. You can still enjoy good skiing here if you stick to groomed pistes but anywhere off the piste will be patchy or grassland by now.

The widespread cloud is forecast to stay around for another day but it should brighten up on Saturday, which should bring spring time skiing conditions too. Heavier snow and sadly rain lower down is currently forecast for Sunday and into next week.

France

Thursday 26th March was a mostly cloudy day across the French Alps, with the best chance of brightness for the southern resorts. Elsewhere some light snow fell overnight, with the most being on the upper slopes as the milder air led to a wintry mix falling lower down.

For the best sunny skies on Thursday, the southern Alps and resorts such as Isola 2000 (125/175cm) and Foux d’Allos (46/157cm) provided the best bet. Some new snow was recorded here earlier this week, leading to some good ski conditions across the mountain. Expect some slushier conditions lower down and the odd bare patch as the recent warm weather has reduced the snow depth somewhat.

Thick clouds were covering the Portes du Soleil on Thursday, with resorts such as Avoriaz (120/270cm), Chatel (65/165cm) and Morzine (25/110cm) remaining socked in. Some light dustings of snow were recorded at these resorts, but the tricky visibility led to some difficult skiing conditions.

Resorts with the very highest slopes were fortunate to see sunshine, but only above around 2,800m. For example, the Pic Blanc above Alpe d’Huez (78/170cm) was bathed in sunshine, as was the Roche de Mio above La Plagne (15/155cm).

Sunnier skies are forecast for Friday, but don’t expect brilliant blue skies as the clouds are not far away. These are set to return on Saturday and are set to bring 15-40cm of snow on Sunday with a freezing level of around 1,800m.

Switzerland

Thick clouds covered much of the Swiss Alps on Thursday 26th March, bringing snowfall to most of our featured resorts. The best conditions are up high as the temperatures of late have been relatively mild, resulting in some heavier conditions on the lower slopes.

Zermatt (5/270cm) and Saas Fee (70/340cm) have seen the heaviest snowfall this week, with the former reporting 30cm and the latter 40cm on Thursday morning. Some excellent powder conditions have been reported at both resorts, but sadly many of the lifts at Saas Fee were closed on Thursday – but are expected to open in time for the weekend.

Elsewhere, the snowfall was lighter and much of the precipitation fell as rain/sleet on the lower slopes. Verbier (1/215cm) caught 5cm of fresh snow to go with 40cm of snow in the past seven days. The leader in resort reported some great powder up high and on the itinerary slopes such as Tortin, Mont Gele and Mont Fort.

Some of the lower resorts have suffered in the recent spell of weather as all but the very highest slopes saw rainfall. Les Mosses (10/20cm) and Anzere (0/90cm) are examples of this, with some bare patches reported on the lower slopes.

Colder air is set to spread in during Friday, dropping the freezing level to below resort level and bringing some further light snowfall. Some sunny spells are possible later on Friday and into Saturday, before heavier snow returns on Sunday and Monday, with 20-50cm forecast for much of the country.

Italy

The recent snowfall in the west has certainly been welcomed as spring conditions were taking their toll on the slopes. It’s still fairly warm, with an average temperature of around 5C. The east is currently feeling the effects of the clouds that were present in the west earlier. This has brought rainfall to some lower resorts but up at a higher altitude there are snowflakes falling.

The Aosta valley, with Cervinia (45/270cm) and Pila (35/140cm) reported around 10-15cm of fresh snow on Thursday 26th March in the early hours, followed by sunny skies.
With the east currently sat under thick clouds, rain and snow has fallen but Cortina (10/90cm) has profited from the arrival of the snow as the resort team have reported up to a total of 35cm over the past 24 hours. From this you can expect excellent pistes higher up, with pockets of fresh powder. It continued to be cloudy and reasonably cold so the fresh snow remained intact. The avalanche risk has been increased to a dangerous level and around half of the lifts were closed, meaning 19 lifts were closed leaving 21 in operation. Once the mountain is completely safe, there should be fantastic conditions waiting to be hit.

The forecast so far is predicting the clouds, particularly in the east will start to fade thus joining the west in sunshine just in time for the weekend.

Andorra

The sun was shining brightly on Thursday 26th March following a spell of snowy weather that dropped around 30cm of fresh snow on the slopes. 10cm of new snow was recorded overnight at all of our featured resorts, leading to a great late March powder day. The base depths across the country remain excellent, with Arcalis (165/275cm) topping the charts. A great Easter holiday period is therefore in the pipeline and with sunshine expected to dominate the next seven days, it’s a great time to be heading to Andorra.

Norway/Sweden

Snow was falling across Norway on Thursday 26th March, with the potential for 10-30cm of new snow by Friday morning. Some excellent ski conditions are likely as temperatures are below freezing. The heaviest falls are set for Trysil (123cm), although some of the best skiing at present is at Oppdal (30/60cm) and Voss (85/180cm) following 8cm of new snow on Tuesday. After a sunny Friday, a further 10-20cm of new snow is expected over the weekend which is great news heading into the Easter period.

Snow was also dropping on our featured Swedish resorts, with Salen (85/99cm) expecting 20cm by the end of Thursday and Are (45/61cm) forecast a light 5cm dusting. Some more snow is expected over the weekend which is good news for Are in particular as the snow depth is somewhat down on average. The best skiing at present is up high.

Germany

Mild and wet weather was in place across Germany, bringing rain to all but the highest slopes of our featured resorts. Garmisch (25/355cm) benefitted its higher altitude to record 5cm of fresh snow on Thursday morning. Sadly elsewhere the rain was taking its toll, resulting in reducing snow depths and lift closures. For example Lenggries (15/85cm) was only able to run five of its 16 lifts and Spitzringsee (15/85cm) was struggling too with only eight lifts and eight slopes open. The freezing level is set to drop on Friday, bringing around 10cm of snow to all levels which should help repair some of the damage. Sadly however, the longer term outlook is less favourable with heavy rain forecast over the weekend at all but Garmisch, where the extra altitude could result in 50cm of fresh snowfall.

Bulgaria

Our featured Bulgarian resorts retain a very good base for the time of year, promising a good Easter period. Bansko (50/335cm) has extended its season by a week until April 12th following the huge snowfalls at the start of March. The best skiing is currently on the upper slopes, as the warmer weather has created some spring-like and slightly heavy conditions on the lower slopes. Some more unsettled weather is forecast heading into the weekend, although with the freezing level sitting at around mid-mountain level, expect some rain lower down.

Scotland

The west coast of Scotland continues to offer some fantastic skiing, with Glencoe (100/195cm) and Nevis Range (65/125cm) reporting 13cm and 10cm of fresh snow overnight respectively. Powder conditions are to be found both on and off piste, providing some brilliant skiing conditions. Expect a long season in the west as the base depths are above average. The weekend is forecast to bring yet more snow which is great news for the upcoming Easter holidays and at Nevis Range, the Braveheart chairlift is scheduled to run.

Over in the east, Cairngorm (15/90cm) was the only ski area open, with both The Lecht (0/20cm) and Glenshee (0/20cm) waiting for further snowfall as the runs are broken. Cairngorm was reporting 5cm of fresh snow on Thursday 26th March which nicely refreshed the pistes and with more forecast over the weekend, it looks promising for some good Easter sliding. The best runs are in the Top Basin and down Coire Cas.

USA

Utah saw lovely sunny skies and warm temperatures on Thursday 26th March, providing the perfect conditions to enjoy the new snow from this week. Some great conditions are to be found in both of the Cottonwood Canyons, with Snowbird (193cm) and Park City (145cm) at either end of the area reporting some fantastic skiing. Expect the strong spring sunshine to soften the lower slopes – leading to some great spring skiing conditions.

New snow was recorded across Colorado on Thursday, adding to the snowfall from earlier this week, taking totals to between 20 and 40cm for most resorts. 10cm was picked up quite widely at resorts such as Arapahoe Basin (127cm), Breckenridge (175cm) and Copper Mountain (170cm). The sun returned on Thursday and should continue throughout the weekend providing perfect conditions in which to enjoy the new snow.

Both Jackson Hole (180/218cm) and Big Sky (119/178cm) further north are in incredible condition for the time of year. Big Sky has seen 48cm of powder since Tuesday and Jackson Hole caught 30cm and some great powder turns have been reported from both resorts. Expect some great sunny weather this weekend, before yet more cold and snowy weather next week.

California continues to struggle as very mild and sunny weather further eats away at the limited snowpack. With mid-mountain temperatures set to reach as high as +10C at resorts such as Heavenly (99cm) then the snow is set to melt further. More sunny and warm weather is expected over the coming nine days.

Mild and cloudy weather was in place across the eastern states of the USA, bringing the chance of some light rain to our featured resorts. Base depths are still excellent at resorts such as Killington (76/102cm) and Sunday River (102/102cm) and the mild temperatures have resulted in some nice soft piste conditions. The weekend is set to be gloriously sunny before the clouds roll in again next week and bring up to 10cm of fresh snow by Wednesday.

Canada

Good skiing is on offer at present in Alberta, with the resorts benefitting from slightly cooler air than their neighbours in British Columbia. Light snow was falling at both Marmot basin (130cm) and the three Banff (165cm) resorts, although the very lowest slopes were seeing a wintry mix instead. Unsettled and mild weather is expected to continue this week, bringing similar conditions to Thursday 26th March – so head high for the best conditions and the chance of some fresh powdery turns.

Fresh snow has fallen across much of British Columbia, but with relatively high freezing levels, the snow is heavy and lower down was mixed with rain at times. That being said, some great gains have been made on the upper slopes at resorts such as Big White (228cm) which saw 24cm of new snow into Thursday, Silver Star (125/215cm) that caught 20cm and Sun Peaks (152/190cm) where 26cm fell. Whistler (188cm) also caught 12cm of new snow, taking the seven day total to 63cm. More of the same is expected over the weekend with snow falling up high but rain lower down, before colder conditions drop the snow level at the start of new week which is good news.

Thursday was a cloudy day in eastern Canada, where Mont Sainte-Anne (110/170cm) saw a nice 4cm top up but Tremblant (110/190cm) remained dry. Conditions across the mountain remain excellent, with some nice corn snow lower down and some good packed powder up high. Saturday is looking like a stunning sunny day before the clouds move in once more on Sunday, bringing some further light snow.

European Weather Outlook

The Alps are currently in a very unsettled spell of weather, with rain, snow and sun all being seen in the past few days. This is expected to continue over the weekend, with the best chance of brightness in the eastern and southern Alps on Saturday. More snow is expected for the northern Alps on Sunday/Monday, with between 20 and 50cm forecast across a wide area and possibly more in some favoured spots in Austria. Watch out as the freezing level is set to rise to between 1500-2000m, so rain may fall lower down.

Mostly sunny and settled weather is forecast for the Pyrenees, with some prolonged spells of warm sunshine expected over the weekend. Temperatures are set to rise slightly above freezing at mid-mountain level, but will rise further next week – potentially hitting double digits on Tuesday.

Unsettled weather is forecast for Bulgaria, with snow expected on the upper slopes of all featured resorts. Some big totals of more than 50cm can be expected, but sadly lower down rain is likely to fall.

Following a sunny Friday, more snow is forecast for Scandinavia over the weekend, potentially bringing a further 10-20cm to go with Thursday’s snowfall. Western Norway in particular is looking very snowy next week.

Snow is also in the forecast for Scotland, with snowfall likely every day heading into next week. The heaviest falls are set for the west coast but the east will not miss out either, hopefully bringing enough snow to reopen Glenshee and The Lecht.
 

North American Weather Outlook

Spring is forecast to return to the Rockies over the weekend, particularly in Utah where sunny skies and mid-mountain temperatures of between +6C and +8C. Expect some slightly cloudier skies in Colorado, bringing with it the chance of some light rain on Sunday/Monday. The next colder change is set for the second half of next week based on current forecasts.

Warm sunshine is forecast for California, with daytime temperatures hitting +10C at mid-mountain over the weekend. Some rain showers are possible on Saturday and Sunday which is not great news as the snowpack is already suffering.

Western Canada is looking unsettled over the weekend, with precipitation expected at all of our featured resorts. Sadly much of this is set to fall as rain in British Columbia on all but the highest peaks, and even in the higher altitude resorts of Alberta. Colder weather is currently forecast to arrive on Tuesday and much of the rain is set to turn to snow which is good news.

Slightly milder conditions have also finally become established on the east coast of both Canada and the USA, but temperatures are expected to reach maximums of around +2C rather than the double digits of the west coast. Some new snow is expected in colder spells, such as on Friday and then again on Monday, when a further 10cm of new snow is expected.

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