Snow snippets: 16 April
The season is certainly going out on a wintry note, with heavy snowfalls reported right across the Alps. While it’s not surprising for April to be a good one for late season snow, what is falling at the moment is rather marvellous – scenes of resorts welcoming fresh powder tracks and some fine skiing to be had on quieter slopes, although mainly above 2000m. And there’s more to come this week.
It has been much colder than of late too, brought on by a north-westerly wind. In the past few days alone, parts of the French Alps have enjoyed as much as 40cm new snow. Elsewhere, eastern Switzerland and Austria are now forecasting further snowfalls over the next few days of about 25cm in general.
Briefly this week, the freezing levels are due to fall to around 1000-1500m, with poor visibility in the snow showers. In general, the week ahead is looking cold and unsettled, with periods of heavy snowfall and a few bright spells in between.
Val d’Isère (closes approx 1 May), Tignes, Val Thorens (closes 8 May) and La Plagne/Les Arcs (closes 28 April) are all welcoming new snow and have snow depths exceeding 2m on the upper mountains. The high, exposed slopes will be less pleasant to ski in the fog and low cloud but do have the best cover.
The only real choice in Italy now is Cervinia (closes 8 May), boasting about 40cm fresh snow; neighbour Zermatt is also looking very white today. In Austria, Ischgl, Obergurgl and St Anton are looking fine – with the latter definitely getting a ‘White Thrill’ this winter (the event takes places on 21 April).
And in Switzerland, while Arosa closed on on a snowy day, Laax remains open – it’s cold at minus 3 to minus 6, and the upper snowpack still measures 380cm, but runs to resort are now worn and patchy.
Looking across to North America, many resorts have now closed for the season. It has been a quieter week for snowfalls but Canada’s Banff trio of resorts had a moderate top-up of 20-30cm. The best place to catch late snow in the US is California, where Heavenly will open weekends until the end of the month due to the continued snowfalls there.