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Mid-winter snow hits across North America and Europe

Passo Tonale, Snow, Dolomites, Ski, Italy

Passo Tonale has the best ski base in the world right now.


It’s been yet another snowy week in most of Europe and large swathes of North America. French ski areas seem to have performed the best for fresh snow in the last week with some reporting as much as three feet/90cm of new snow in the last seven days and more areas now reporting 3m+ (10+ ft) bases, although this has been accompanied by stormy weather at times.


In North America, which is receiving yet another icy blast down its middle, the main news has been huge snowfalls along the West Coast which have transformed the drought stricken ski areas in the region.

Europe – Alps and Dolomites


Conditions remain good in Austria as things gradually return to normal following the huge snowfalls of 10-12 days ago. The snow is still falling  Obergurgl reports more than 40cm (18”) in the past week and most other areas 10-20cm (6-8”), but it’s a lot more ‘normal’ looking accumulations. The glaciers still have the best snow depths in the country up at nearly 3m/10 feet at Pitztal, Kaunertal and others. Some of the lower resorts around Innsbruck as well as Mayrhofen and the Skiwelt could still, ideally, do with more but most have 20-30cm (6-12”) at resort level and 50-60cm (2′) up top.


A long list of French resorts can boast about big snowfalls in the last week, and while the falls have slowed and the skies at least partially cleared in the last 24-hours, it has been fairly constant all week. The Grand Massif around Flaine has broken through the 3m/10 foot base level (now at 325cm) but resorts in the southern Alps including Isola 2000 still top the depth league at 3.4m (11.5′). Chamonix, Tignes, Montgenevre, Val d’Isere, Alpe d’Huez all among the areas to report at least two feet/60cm of fresh snow this week.



For once Italy has not had the most snow in the past week, which is probably a relief for many resorts there after the deluge last week, and topping Europe’s snowfall tables for weeks before that. Nonetheless the continues to fall and Courmayeur clocked up 20cm (8-10”) of fresh in the last 24 hours. But elsewhere the Dolomiti Superski is stressing the snow has eased and pistes are opening a rare occasion when an area is more pleased to say it has stopped snowing, than been dumping down. Nonetheless Italian snow depths continue to rise, in some cases faster than the amount of snow they’re reporting falling. Passo Tonale now claims a 5.5m (25′) base  the world’s deepest, followed by Madesimo on 5m (20′)  in second place.



Another relatively good week in Switzerland with many resorts getting 20-40cm (10-18”) of fresh snow and average snow depths somewhere around the metre mark at resort level, two metres on the mountain tops. Andermatt has the deepest snow base in the country (and in Europe outside Italy) at 4m (12′), and it reported another foot of snow this week, most of it falling over Monday/Tuesday. Other big winners included Saas Fee and St Moritz, each reporting nearly a foot of fresh snow last weekend.



Conditions remain excellent as they have been all season in the Pyrenees. There’s been more heavy snow leading to powder conditions. St Lary on the French side reported about 50cm in the 24 hours to Wednesday. Only slightly smaller accumulations had been reported the previous 24 hours by nearby Cauterets and Peyragudes. On the Spanish side bases are 215cm to 285cm (5′) at the leading resort Baqueira Beret.



Conditions are great in most of Scandinavia. Once again Norway has seen the most fresh snow with accumulations of 10-30cm (5 – 12”) across the country over the past week. Lillehammer still reports the deepest snow in the region at 2.1m (7′) with Hemsedal on 1.6m. Over in Finland and Sweden the depths are more modest, typically 50-70cm (24 – 28”), with a few centimetres of fresh cover.


Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe has not seen much snow in the past seven days, although conditions remain better than a few weeks ago thanks to late January/early February snow. No snow was reported in Bulgaria or Romania where bases are typically 50-90cm (10 – 30”), but further west there was snow in Slovenia, which has also been extremely cold, ski areas have reported up to 30cm (12”) of new snow.



Scottish ski conditions are now being described as ‘historic’ with the founder of Nevis Range ski area near Fort William saying that he believes the snow is the deepest it has ever been in the centre’s history. The resort also reports that they have had some snow (usually a lot of snow), every day since Christmas. Good conditions are reported at all five areas, the main issue for anyone visiting most likely to be occasional storm closure days as the extreme weather hitting Britain moves north (such as today).


North America


Western Canada is looking good after a deluge of snowfall which Mt Washington on Vancouver Island has referred to as ‘Winter 2.0’ after the abject failure of winter 1. Whistler reports two foot of fresh cover and conditions much improved and closer to normality. Most other ski areas in the west of Canada have had at least a foot of fresh snow in the past week, Big White reports the most accumulated in the region with a 2m (6′) base. However the east coast ski area of Mont Ste Anne, although reporting no fresh snow this week, has Canada’s deepest base at 275cm.



There have been huge snowfalls in California over the past week with Squaw Valley reporting nearly six feet (1.8m) of new snow and now has more terrain open, they say, than any other resort in the Tahoe area. The snow has been falling further north and further East too, with Mt Baker in Washington State, officially the recipient, on average, of the most snow in the world each winter, getting back on track a bit with 90cm/32 feet in the last four days. Moving inland Colorado and Utah have continued to be dumped on with resorts reporting a foot of snow or more every 24 hours or so in recent days including Crested Butte and winter park ion Colorado, Alta, Brighton and Snowbasin in Utah, Sun Valley in Idaho, and Grand Targhee and Jackson Hole in Wyoming. It’s powder all the way.



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