Last season in the Alps was not exactly a snow bonanza but there were snow winners. These were mainly in the high altitude resorts of the south-western and western Alps, where November saw the best early season dumps for a decade. Sadly the dreaded Foehn effect kicked in, with the southerly wind thawing the northern resorts. The silver lining was that the same effect meant healthy dumps on the south western Alps, on the likes of Sestriere, Val d’Isère, Montgenèvre and Val Cenis.
With the warm conditions prevailing all the way through the holiday period, a true white Christmas was only really unwrapped at the higher south-western Alp resorts of Monte Rosa region, Cervinia, Val d’Isère and Val Cenis, as well as Val Thorens, Montgenèvre and Sestrière.
By mid-January the north-western resorts such as Chamonix joined the party and by February half term almost everywhere – even in the southern and eastern Alps – managed decent piste skiing.
But who won the snow lottery? Not a south-western resort but in fact, for the second year in a row, Austria’s Warth-Schröcken.
Meanwhile, across the pond North America was enjoying a bumper season that would rank in the top five since the early 80s. Even Vermont breathed a sign of relief after a poor 2015-16. In California so much snow fell (Northstar 14.9m, 191% of season average) they were able to stay open weekends into the summer. Utah, Colorado and US Northern Rockies resorts also beat averages, as did Canadian resorts such as Whistler (13m, 122%) and Whitewater (12.3m, 123%).