It has been a quieter week for snowfall than recently with most areas reporting steady accumulations. The biggest falls of the past seven days have been in areas of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where up to 1.55m (over five feet) has accumulated over the past week. The Zugspitz glacier by 2011 Alpine World Championships venue Garmisch has had the most of the internationally well known resorts with 1.35m of new snow. In North America there have been particularly good falls in New England on the East Coast but resorts in Colorado and elsewhere in the West are also reporting on-going big falls.
In Scotland a slight thaw has led to a small deterioration in conditions, but a new front is due to sweep in on Thursday, bringing a return to sub-zero temperatures. If Glencoe opens as scheduled this Saturday, 18 December, all five areas will be open for the first time this winter, but that is yet to be confirmed.
Elsewhere in the world Japan’s Niseko is reporting heavy snow and its legendary powder starting to accumulate after a nervous November and in Israel a big fall of snow last weekend led to the start of the season at the country’s only ski area, on land disputed with Syria, on Mt Hermon.
39 powder alarms were issued in Austria on Monday and it is still snowing with up to 25cm of new snow reported in the mountains. The glaciers report the country’s biggest snow depths with 190-220cm in Pitztal, Sölden and Mölltal. St. Anton has 175cm (nearly six feet) of snow on upper slopes. The popular resort reports more snowfall today and has 56 ski lifts and 135km of slopes open.
There’s been very little snow in France over the past week, with no resort reporting more than 30cm of new snow, the most for a big name centre, 15cm at Tignes. The avalanche risk off piste remains quite high at many centres – typically level 3 to 4 (out of 5). Most resorts have quite healthy snoiw depths though, with Alpe d’Huez and La Rosiere having the deepest snowpacks of around 1.8m (six feet) on upper slopes.
Italy continues to hold the top four places for the world’s deepest snowpack led by the Presena Glacier with 4.2m (14 feet) as last week. Owever this has slowed down a good deal in the past seven days, the biggest accumulation at Cervinia, which has had 30cm (a foot) in the past seven daysm but the most recent was 15m (six inches) back on Thursday 9th.
It has been snowing in Switzerland and there has been 10-20cm reported from numerous resorts including Disentis 3000, Adelboden, and the Aletsch Arena. There were 10 powder alarms in Switzerland on Monday with Lenzerheide getting 20cm of new snow in 24 hours. Engelberg (190 cm), Andermatt (180) and Saas Fee (176) currently have the most snow in Switzerland.
It’s quiet in the Pyrenees with little new snowfall in the past week and snow depths typically between 30 and 120cm (1-4 feet).
Scandinavian resorts have been cold and snowy over the past seven day. Voss has had some of the best new snow of Norway's big name ski areas, receiving 38cm of extra cover. It’s snowbase of 80m is among the deepest in the country.
Conditions are looking good on both East and west Coasts of Canada, with plenty of fresh snow reported on either coasty. In Ontario the leading resort of Blue mountain was closed yesterday as too much snow made access difficulty and closed lifts, in British Columbia Whistler has reported the most snow of the past week (75cm) and Mount Washington the deepest snow in the country – as last winter – now up to 2.1m (seven feet).
Big snowfalls on East and west coasts have brought several feet of well-timed pre-Christmas snow to US ski areas. On the East coast resorts in New York state have reported 60cm of new snow, on the West even bigger falls have been eported in Tahoe, where a fast moving storm dropped up to two feet of fresh, light powder on Squaw Valley (picture attached) Tuesday night, setting the stage for a classic 'bluebird' powder day and excellent conditions for the coming holiday weeks. Other western resorts in Colorado and Utah also looking good.