After several weeks of dashed hopes, resorts are finally welcoming the forecasted snowfalls they’ve been hoping for. Several feet is expected in many areas in the Alps by the end of the weekend, with some small accumulations already on the ground. Some of the lower-lying French resorts, including Megève, have reported 20cm, giving the slopes a nice refresh. Resorts in Italy could potentially see half a metre of snowfall by Sunday – the biggest falls of the year so far.
Across the Atlantic, North America’s snowy February continues for all but the Pacific Northwest corner. Ski areas in California have now passed 2.5 metres of February snowfall.
Back in Europe, Scandinavia continues to offer the best winter conditions. The snow quality at Kvitfjell in Norway, where the downhill racing World Cup took place on the Lillehammer Winter Olympic course last weekend, was very different from that at recent races in the Alps. There was fresh, crisp white snow, helped by temperatures around –10C.
Sweden’s famous Arctic Circle ski area of Riksgränsen opens for its 2024 season this weekend, with skiing under the midnight sun in May and at midsummer in June. Unfortunately, the cold has not crossed the North Sea to Scotland, where mild weather has hit the thin snowpack hard, reducing the already-limited open terrain further.
It’s been warm once again in the Pyrenees, but there is cold, snowy weather forecast from this weekend onwards.
French resorts have had several snowfalls this week, with some of the lower-lying resorts, including Megève, reporting 20cm. This has given the slopes a nice refresh but has not impacted snow depths as thawing temperatures continue. Low slopes are still affected by warm temperatures; Morzine was refreshingly honest in describing it as “wet snow”. The slopes are still busy with half-term crowds but most French pistes remain open – 555km of them in the world’s biggest ski area, Les Trois Vallées (including Val Thorens, ​Les Menuires, Méribel and ​Courchevel).
The big snowfalls forecasted for several weeks now have been anticlimactic, but snow is now falling again and some areas may finally see 60cm by the end of the weekend. Although very welcome, this will send the off-piste avalanche danger levels up dramatically, so over-excited free-riders beware.
Snowfall returned to Austria midweek, with reports of up to 30cm of fresh coverage. Lech was one of the big winners, with 20cm up high, and it’s continued to fall on and off since. Longer daylight hours have allowed Kitzbühel to announce its opening earlier, from 8am each day to the end of the season.
More snow showers throughout the weekend, with some significant accumulations expected, but then back to dry, often sunny weather to start next week.
There hasn’t been much snowfall in Italy this week, again, but most of the country’s ski resorts remain fully open and temperatures are now falling and it is snowing. Cervinia’s linked area to Zermatt and the Via Lattea around Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx are posting the most terrain open in the country, both with 290km of slopes available..
A snowy end to the week with the potential of half a metre of snowfall by Sunday – potentially the biggest falls of the year so far – before the sunshine returns.
The warm temperatures at high altitude of recent weeks were evident last weekend in Crans-Montana, where World Cup races ended higher up the mountain than usual due to the conditions. At the same time, organisers of the famous White Turf horse races on the frozen lake, at 1,850m in St Moritz, cancelled last weekend’s races, noting “various cracks and damp patches that have not frozen overnight”.
But things have taken an upturn – Verbier’s webcams showed snow-covered streets on Tuesday morning. Temperatures have dropped, the snowfall has returned and Engelberg hit a 3m base depth for the first time this season after a 23cm snowfall.
There’s plenty of precipitation forecast over the next few days, delivering potentially significant snowfall on higher slopes, but with spring temperatures; some will see rain in valleys.
— Verbier (@VerbierResorts) February 20, 2024
We’re in something of a holding pattern in western Canada, with temperatures close to freezing and light snowfalls, but not much new to report. Whistler Blackcomb is back to having more than three quarters of its slopes open and the 11cm of snowfall there in the last few days has taken it to a 5m seasonal snowfall total so far. Fernie has Canada’s deepest snow, at 1.8m.
Light snow showers (2-8cm) are expected most days over the coming week, with the freezing point moving between an altitude of 800m and 1,800m.
Today's Weather & Snow Report, presented by @TELUS :
🌨️ Mainly cloudy w/ isolated wet flurries
❄️ No new snow, 151cm base
🌡️ Alpine temp high 0°c / 32°f & low -6°c / 21°f
🗻 1600m freezing level
🚜 Spring-like & machine groomed
🌬️ Light 20km/hr windshttps://t.co/upP3wDjexL
— Whistler Blackcomb (@WhistlerBlckcmb) February 22, 2024
Resorts right across the US have been reporting powder conditions this week after more significant snowfall. It has been heaviest again in the west, and has brought some of the best conditions of the season for resorts such as Stowe in New England in the east too. Vail passed the mark of 5m of snowfall this season at the weekend and Mammoth Mountain announced it had had 2.5m of snowfall in the first three weeks of February alone. Jackson Hole, meanwhile, posted the biggest jump in base-depth statistics this week of any of our top 50 resorts.
Sunny throughout the weekend with resort-level temperatures climbing up to 10C, then cooler with fresh snowfall expected early next week.