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Latest snow reports: our weekly ski round up

Update: 22/01/2016
views: 611

Europe has had excellent conditions lately with very cold air covering almost all ski areas and ensuring snow conditions at all altitudes have been dry. North America continues to offer fine conditions in all the premier destinations and even the eastern resorts now have fresh snow.

Most resorts in the Alps are in the best shape of the winter so far with snow depths now substantial across the western and northern Alps. The Pyrenees also has fresh snow but in Andorra snow depths could be better. Eastern Europe has been extremely cold in the past week and thanks to fresh snow plus snowmaking operations, the conditions are much improved. Scandinavia has also been extremely cold but skiers are enjoying decent snow depths and dry packed powder snow. All five Scottish ski centres are now open.

The USA is offering good conditions with resorts along the Rockies offering either packed powder or fresh powder conditions. In Canada, the west and the east have had big snowfalls recently and conditions are as good as they’ve been all winter, with further heavy snowfall in the forecast.

France

The French resorts are in good shape now, with most pistes and lifts operational in all the leading resorts. Skiing is typically on packed powder snow on piste and off piste the avalanche risk has reduced, so good opportunities exist for those exploring with a guide. Tignes (1,550m) now has a snow base of 190cm on the slopes of the Grand Motte with 73/78 lifts operating today. There are excellent conditions on offer thanks to almost 50cm of snowfall in the past week. The alpine forecast indicates recent extreme cold temperatures are now easing and next week will be most dry and sunny with daytime highs close to 0°C at resort elevation.

 

Austria

It is Hahnenkamm weekend in Austria, the highlight of the FIS World Cup Men's Downhill season, and conditions in Kitzbühel (800m) are excellent for the race. Recent very low temperatures have allowed race organisers to optimise snow cover on the course so it should be a great race. Indeed, conditions right across Austria are as good as they have been all winter. In the Vorarlberg, the resort of Damuls (1,400m) caught over half a metre of snow in the past week and upper slopes now hold a base of 160cm. There is excellent packed powder snow on piste. Next week Austria will be mostly dry and sunny with temperatures less extreme than they have been.

Switzerland

The Swiss Alps are offering excellent conditions right now with dry and powdery snow cover at all altitudes. Recent temperatures have been extremely cold but are now easing and the forecast for the week ahead indicates the daytime freezing level will rise to resort level in most ski areas and it will be mostly sunny. Some of the best skiing on offer, and the deepest snow depths, can be found above Engelberg (1,050m), which reported over 50cm of fresh powder over the past week – and the consolidated snow depths are now up to over 3m on the slopes of Mount Titlis. All 25 lifts are operating in the resort and all pistes are open.

Italy

The FIS Ladies World Cup Downhill event is in Cortina (1,220m) in the Dolomites this weekend and, despite a lack of significant snowfall, all looks set for a great weekend of racing. The ability of the Italian resorts to produce good conditions without much help from nature has been very clearly demonstrated by snow cannons this winter but snow depths here are still significantly lower than elsewhere in the Alps. Cortina’s upper slopes hold a base of 75cm, lower slopes much less, but skiing is decent on hard packed snow conditions and most main pistes are open with 33/41 lifts operating. The best skiing in Italy remains in the west by the Aosta Valley and closest to France where the snow is deeper and fresher.

Canada

There are very good snow conditions on offer right across Canada as the east of the country has finally caught significant snowfall. The best snow conditions, however, are in the usual suspects of British Columbia where Whistler (650m) received 70cm of snowfall in the past week. All 26 lifts are operational here and more or less 100 per cent of the terrain is open with skiing on the upper slopes mostly on powder snow conditions. Even better news is that western Canada will be exposed to further heavy snowfall over the next week, with over 1m of snowfall expected in Whistler.

USA

The premier ski resorts of the USA continue to offer top quality snow conditions with low temperatures and fairly regular falls of fresh snow helping maintain the substantial snow bases that were formed early in the season. Right along the Rockies skiing is on dry powdery snow conditions with trails offering corduroy conditions each morning. In Summit County, Colorado, the highest skiing is at Arapahoe Basin (3,286m) where trails rise to 3,978m. Skiing here right now is on packed powder snow with 100cm of base, and 20cm of freshies are forecast for the weekend. More good news comes from the other side of the country, where the resorts of New England have finally had heavy snowfall. Stowe (681m) now holds 80cm of base at mid mountain and the best skiing of the winter is on offer.

Andorra

There has only been light snowfall across Andorra in the past week and almost no snowfall is expected for the week ahead. Despite this, there is reasonable skiing on offer across the Grandvalira and Vallnord domains with firm packed snow conditions. At Arcalis (1,940m) the best conditions are on upper slopes which rise to 2,950m, where the consolidated snow depth is 80cm. Eleven of fifteen lifts are operational but most pistes are open. Next week average maximum temperatures will rise to 5°C at resort level and sunshine is forecast so almost spring-like conditions can be expected.

Eastern Europe

Extremely low temperatures and fresh snowfall in the past week have allowed the best snow conditions of the winter to develop right across Eastern Europe. Some of the best skiing can now be found in the Czech Republic where the resort of Spindleruv Mlyn (715m) holds 90cm of base on upper slopes rising to 1,310m. The past week has seen 30cm to 40cm of fresh snowfall and this has allowed many more pistes to open for the first time this season. Twelve of seventeen lifts are operating, providing access to skiing on packed powder snow. Next week the resort will be less cold but temperatures will remain sub-zero and 20cm of snowfall is forecast.

Scandinavia

Across Finland there are excellent dry snow conditions on offer in all resorts, with good skiing at all altitudes and almost all terrain open. In Norway and Sweden, very low temperatures are still being reported but for well prepared skiers there is packed powder snow to be enjoyed. Hemsedal (550m) has some of the best snow depths and conditions in Norway right now with 80cm of base at mid mountain. Almost all lifts are operational and all pistes are open. In Sweden the resort of Åre (400m) has ski slopes rising to 1,290m and base snow depths of 70cm are reported. Skiing is on hard packed snow with most pistes open and 35/42 lifts turning. Next week the resort has 10cm of snow forecast.

Scotland

All five ski centres in the east and west Highlands have been operational for the past week with some good Scottish skiing conditions on offer. Snow depths are modest, but where drifts have been groomed on to the pistes and alongside the snow fencing there is dry and firm packed snow to be skied. Unfortunately the forecast for the Highlands for the week ahead is not great as temperatures are set to climb and rain is expected at all altitudes, so it remains to be seen what pistes will still be open one week from now.

 

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