Chilly with new snow on its way

19th January 2013, by Abi Butcher

Skiing in Courchevel this week, photo © Andy Lloyd (

Skiing in Courchevel this week, photo © Andy Lloyd (

The cold weather blanketing the UK at the moment is extending across the Alps — with Geneva airport closed earlier today due to heavy snow.

Many resorts in France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland received snow on Thursday 17 January, with a brief respite before more cold weather and snow due next week.

WTSS editor Chris Gill, currently in Alpe d’Huez, reports rain up to 1,500m tonight. WTSS blogger photographer Andy Lloyd ( reported excellent conditions in Courchevel on Wednesday — and sent us the photograph above. There are more on our facebook page. Tignes and Val d’Isère are enjoying good conditions, too, thanks to the cold and recent snow — upper base depth reported in the Espace Killy area of 289cm. And last week red alerts were released after heavy snow fell in the Pyrenees.

The freezing temperatures have bitten Switzerland, too. WTSS web editor Abi Butcher has been skiing in -20c in Klosters this week, though rain is expected in the resort tomorrow. Conditions were excellent with light snow last Thursday combining with cold temperatures to give fluffy, light powder. Heavy snow is forecast over the next two days — one reader reports a blizzard already coming down in Gstaad. Zermatt is expected to receive up to 50cm.

Snow last week helped improve conditions in Austria — with cold temperatures bringing excellent skiing both on and off-piste in many resorts. Snow is forecast across the country tomorrow and Monday, with moderate falls in resorts such as Obergurgl, Söll, St Anton and Schladming.

Conditions are similarly good in Italy — with more snow forecast this week. Courmayeur, Sestriere and Alagna are among Italy’s resorts reporting great powder conditions.

In contrast, North America has been warm this week, with no significant new snowfall to report.

There’s been only a dusting of snow in Colorado this week — with little in store to improve conditions next week. Vail has had 5cm of snow in the past seven days, giving a mid-mountain base of 53cm, keeping 96 per cent of its terrain open. Breckenridge has 81 per cent of its terrain open, with a base depth of 79cm. There is no snow on the horizon for Jackson Hole in Wyoming, though Vermont ski areas are fairing slightly better with a dusting a snow this week.

Whistler’s currently warm and sunny weather will be displaced halfway through next week as a cold front moves through — with snow flurries expected. Current base depth of 181cm, Temperatures are currently around 4/5c, with freezing level at around 2,400m. It’s unseasonably warm in Fernie, too, which hasn’t had any fresh snow for the past week — though the snow pack remains 190cm.

If you thought Europe was cold, try Norway — temperatures have dipped to -30c this week.

And if you’re planning to ski in the Himalayas next week, avalanche warnings were issued this week after heavy snowfalls in Kashmir. Traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway was stopped on Thursday after continuous snowfall in Kashmir valley.

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