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There’s no real let-up in the snow this week, as another storm sweeps through the Alps bringing a mix of heavy snow, rain at low altitude and some high winds. Freeze levels will be very up and down, particularly in the north and west, so it will be a few days before things settle down. When it does, expect to see around a metre and a half of fresh snow above 2,000m.
Today and tomorrow are the heaviest snow days in the north and west although southern Alpine resorts will likely miss out altogether and enjoy a few days of amazing conditions with clear skies and sunshine. Snow depths are impressive everywhere and with some much more snow in the forecasts, we could be in for a record-breaking season.
By the time today’s blizzard eases in Les Contamines (50/180cm) for example, the resort will have added 128cm of fresh snow at altitude, but seen a lot of heavy rain below 2,000m.
Nearby Chamonix (60/210cm) will see 120cm of fresh snow on the highest slopes by the time the skies clear on Friday night, but will also have had a lot of rain in the valley.
Val d’Isere (130/210cm) is expecting around 122cm over the next couple of days, and similar totals are due at Flaine (95/250cm) and La Rosiere (110/220cm) while Les Menuires (90/22cm) in the Three Valleys will have to make do with a mere 66cm.
Morzine and Avoriaz are the perfect illustration of the rain/snow divide. At 1,000m Morzine is decidedly rainy and the lying snow is officially ‘wet’. A few miles away, but an all-important 800m higher, Avoriaz already has four times as much snow depth and is hovering on the freeze point, so what falls as rain down the mountain in Morzine is far more likely to fall as heavy snow in Avoriaz. Though when the freeze point drops a few hundred metres tonight, there will be a decent top-up for the higher slopes above Morzine town.
Further south, three days of sun are forecast for Isola 2000 (110/160cm) but it gets its turn on Sunday and Monday with a 33cm top-up…
Honours for the most snow forecast in Italy go to the tiny Piedmontese resort of Macugnaga just over the border from Zermatt and not far from Cervinia. Its current depths are a modest 40/150cm, but these totals are set to double by this time next week, with snow today and tomorrow, but with a metre due overnight Sunday into Monday, totally 172cm in all.
West is best in Italy over the next week with Arosa valley and cross-border areas such as Courmayeur doing well. Gressoney (60/160cm) is typical with well over a metre due Sunday/Monday. The Dolomites will miss most of this week’s snowfall but Sunday/Monday top ups of around 20-30cm will prove welcome for Alta Badia (60/150cm) and Cortina d’Ampezzo (40/120cm).
Some heavy snow today and tomorrow in the Arlberg will see St Anton (85/200cm) and Lech (130/160cm) benefitting to the tune of nearly half a metre, but things will then settle down with a lot of clear skies and sunshine over the weekend. Similar pattern at Solden (95/230cm) in the Tyrol, but with snow reappearing at the beginning of next week, there’s no real sign of any bluebird days.
The further east you go in Austria the more likely you are to see the sun after today and tomorrow’s snowy top-ups. So Kaprun, for example, which still has the deepest snow in Austria at 305cm on its upper slopes, will see plenty of sun from Saturday, into next week.
Ischgl (50/120cm) is also enjoying fresh snow today and tomorrow before the sun comes out allowing skiers to make the most of the new powder.
Again, the western side of Switzerland is set to catch the most snow. There’s fresh snow forecast every day for Zermatt (30/150cm) with the heaviest falls tonight/tomorrow and again on Sunday/Monday, with a total due of 172cm. Wind will be a problem today/tomorrow.
It’s snowing in the Bernese Oberland resorts of Gstaad and Murren, though the yo-yoing temperatures and freeze-point means in low-lying Grindelwald (50/150cm) that could mean rain by day then snow tonight.
Saas Fee (50/180cm) is catching the same snowfall pattern as north west Italy is is due 130cm with more than half of that coming Sunday/Monday.
Engelberg continues to pile up the snow with 430cm at the top of the mountain and another half metre to come by the end of Friday.
Andorra sounds like the place to be if you like sunshine with your skiing. Wall to wall sunshine over the next week, apart from Sunday when up to 38cm are anticipated to freshen up the slopes.
Plenty of sunshine in the French Pyrenees too, though a mix of snow (half a metre up high) and rain (in resort) is due for St Lary (80/190cm) from Saturday through to Monday. And that’s the story in the Spanish Pyrenees resorts too, with Formigal (50/130cm) expecting 60cm but with a mix either side of mist, fog and some sun!
Norway’s expected snow materialised over Christmas and New Year but the week ahead will be quiet with some good sun and a flurry or two of new snow. Geilo (60/160cm) now has some of the best conditions in the country, along with Voss (50/140cm)
Photo: Fredrik Steen Foto
Sweden’s main resort of Are, Sweden (50/60cm) will see a little light snow – and will be cold. As will Finland, with decent snow depths of 80/90cm at Yllas and 60/70cm at Levi.
The season has kicked off in The Balkans, and Kranjska Gora (50/70cm) and Vogel (80/130cm) both have decent snow on the upper slopes. After a couple of sunny days, the snow returns again early next week, with up to half a metre forecast.
There’s still not a lot of snow in the forecast across Canada, but after some snow for Christmas, conditions remain good in most Western resorts. On the coast side, Whistler (185cm) is likely to get some flurries over the coming days to boost its levels.
Photo: Mitch Winton - Coast Mountain Photography
Over the Rockies in Alberta, Lake Louise (104/135cm) is enjoying some good winter sunshine.
It’s still bitterly cold in the east, after the usual lively New Year celebrations. In Tremblant (61cm), for example, on-mountain daytime temperatures will drop to -32C on Saturday. Their snow is going nowhere any time soon… and there are signs of a bit more snow in the forecast for early next week.
America is still pretty mixed heading into the New Year, but some pre-Christmas snowfalls have topped up the pistes at resorts such as Jackson Hole (79/135cm).
The most snow is forecast out East, where Wild Cat in New Hampshire is expecting around 30cm – with most of that coming tomorrow and early next week. Oh and it’s cold here, just like in eastern Canada!
Sunshine and only a little light snow in Aspen. Vail (66cm) despite some snow flurries depositing a few inches over Christmas is still searching for that big dump that will enable it to open all its runs. Not much in the current seven-day forecast, but you never know…
And in Washington state, Crystal Mountain (61/119cm) is looking at steady but light snow but still has only a third of its runs open.
And it’s clear skies and sunshine all the way in California, where Northstar (46/74cm) is expecting some double digit temperatures this weekend as well, so no need to layer up if you're heading up the mountain.
Not such good news here as unusually mild temperatures have not been kind to the snow. The resorts here remain closed awaiting the next big snowfall. Fingers crossed!
Make the most of the outstanding snow right now with Alpine Elements for as little as £345pp for 7 nights, half-board including flights and transfers to the likes of La Plagne, Les Arcs and St Anton.
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