Exceptional April snow cover in Tignes, France, open until 6th May.
As the number of open ski resorts dwindles, it's still snowing...
J2Ski Snow Report 12th April 2018
This Week's Snow Headlines
- Fresh snow in the Alps for the final weeks of the season for many areas.
- Around 30cm of fresh snow forecast for the Dolomites by Friday.
- Heavy snow in Colorado with resorts receiving more than a metre of new snow.
- Mt Baker in US overtakes Engelberg for world's deepest base at 7.5m to 7.1m.
- Snow in New Zealand with 2018 season a few months away.
The ski season in the northern hemisphere is really winding down now with a large swathe of resorts closing for the season at the end of last weekend. Around 75% will be closed by this coming Sunday.
But mother nature being the capricious character that she is, closing lifts doesn't end the snowfall and it has been snowing hard on ski slopes already closed or soon to do so. The heavy snowfall of the past week in Colorado – with many areas receiving more than a metre of fresh snow – may be seen as particularly ironic with the state struggling to open runs for much of the main ski season until the start of March due to a severe lack of natural snowfall.
More recently it has been snowing in Europe – first in Scandinavia at the start of the week and now in the Alps, with snow also expected/beginning to fall in the Dolomites and Pyrenees too.
Of course although the ski season is winding down at many areas, several dozen will be staying open in to May and some in to June, July or beyond – so the fresh snow for them is just a bonus.
And as the season north of the equator nears its end, the 2018 season in South America, southern Africa, Australia and New Zealand comes closer with several ski areas in NZ reporting fresh pre-season snowfall this week.
In the Alpine Forecast
A little more snow at altitude is forecast for the next few days in some parts, with a few localized falls likely to be substantial. Temperatures are on the rise, however, and powder is likely to be short-lived on any but the highest slopes.
Into next week, warm Spring conditions will prevail. Precipitation is likely to give way to clearer, sunnier weather in much of the Alps and the abundant snow cover should give classic Spring skiing conditions at those ski areas still open (see our forum reports for who's open until when).
See where it's expected to snow this week...
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About a third of Austria's main ski areas have closed for the season already and most of the rest will close after this weekend. There are notable exceptions like Obertauern and Ischgl which stage big end-of-season events in to the start of May and a chunk of Austria's eight glacier destinations – more than any other country – which will stay open still later in to the spring.
There's not been much fresh snow reported in Austria the past week and the snow forecast for the Alps looks like it will be heaviest in other areas but there should still be some fresh Austrian snow by the weekend and those areas planning to stay open longer all have deep bases which put them in a strong position for their later spring ski seasons. Most of the glaciers have 3.5m or more lying with the Dachstein still deepest at 5.8m (nearly 20 feet).
It is snowing again in the French Alps with the first powder alarms for 20cm or more of fresh snow in 24 hours issued by ski areas in the south like Isola 2000 (which reported 45cm of snow on Monday –Tuesday, Bonneval-sur-Arc 25cm on Tuesday-Wednesday) but many resorts expecting up to 80cm of fresh snow by the weekend. More than 50 of the ending ski resorts in France are open until at least a week more up to the 20th and ten at least a week later until 27th or 28th April or later. They include Bonneval, Les Saisies, Les 2 Alpes, Montgenèvre, La Plagne, Les Arcs and La Clusaz to the last few days of April; then Val d'Isère until 1 May, Tignes until 6 May and Val Thorens until 8 May.
Several of Italy's best known ski areas, including Val Gardena, have already closed for the 2017-18 ski season last weekend, whilst others will be open until this Sunday and some – including Cervinia and Cortina, will have at least some terrain open in to May. Cervinia in fact has one of the deepest snow depths in Italy with 2m on lower slopes and 4m up top. Significant snowfall is forecast for the Dolomites over the latter half of this week with Arabba, Cortina and San Martino amongst those expected to get 35-55cm of fresh snow by Friday. Further West in the Alps at ski areas like Bardonecchia, Pila and Courmayeur there may be as much as 50 - 80cm of fresh snow.
Although Engelberg has lost its position held most of this season for the deepest snowbase in the world to Mt Baker in the US this week, it's still the deepest in Europe by some distance at 7.1m. More snow is expected in Switzerland by the weekend although for most resorts the forecasts are smaller than for France, typically 20-40cm, although for some like Saas Fee (which closes this weekend until July) and Zermatt (open for snow sports year round) it's still 50-60cm. Saas Fee reported the snow started falling on Tuesday with a 10cm accumulation then. As with the rest of Europe, although Swiss resorts have their best bases for many years, most of the country's resorts will be closing this weekend or next with just a few staying open in to May.
It's the final few days of the 2017-18 ski season at most Eastern European ski areas that are still open. At Bansko temperatures are well above freezing – in double figures above zero in fact and the snow cover is thawing fast. There's nothing left in resort but still 1.5m on upper slopes with most runs still open and the best conditions in the mornings.
Scotland's incredible 2017-18 ski season continues with all five ski centres open (few other countries can claim all centres open this late in the season), and all areas operating with all or most lifts running and pistes perfectly groomed and open. Officially reported snow depths range from 40cm at The Lecht to 150cm (five feet) at Nevis Range but locals report the snow is in fact much deeper and that conditions are exceptionally good. With more snow forecast, the season is likely to continue into May with some, if not all, resorts open daily until customer numbers dwindle, a statement from the centre's managing body Ski Scotland has said.
The end of the ski season is very definitely nigh in the Pyrenees with most centres due to close at the end of this weekend. The good news is that fresh snow is falling/forecast at many areas with accumulations of up to 30cm expected ready for closing weekend. Piau Enaly reported 23cm on Tuesday-Wednesday. Not all centres in the region are closing on Sunday though, Sierra Nevada to the south has already announced it will stay open to May 1st.
The snow is back in Scandinavia too where quite a lot of the ski areas will stay open; at least two until the last week of April with some open in to May. Snow accumulations of up to 35cm were reported in the past few day with Hemsedal in Norway, which is open to May 1st, reporting 25cm in 24 hours up to Tuesday.
The Western Canadian resorts that are still open have seen rain on lower slopes, fresh snow on upper runs (if rather heavy, wet stuff) in the past few days. Whistler had rain and fog on lower runs on Saturday with heavy snow fall up in its Alpine region but much better conditions since. Inland at Sun Peaks there was less precipitation but what did fall was mostly snow. There are typical freeze-thaw conditions with otherwise with the best skiing between 10am and 2pm. Over on the East Coast some ski areas like Mont Sainte Anne have announced extended ski seasons.
There has been plenty of fresh snow in Western North America where resorts in Colorado, which has been particularly snowy, have reported up to a metre of snow since the weekend. A chunk of the ski areas in the famous ski state had already closed the previous weekend unfortunately but others are enjoying a powdery final few days of their seasons whilst some including Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are open in to May or June. Generally though it is getting warm across the country and most of the ski areas on the East Coast have closed, whilst resorts in California have seen rain at lower elevations. There are exceptions though with resorts like Killington in Vermont or Mammoth in California already announcing their intention to stay open at least in to May.