The view from The Grande Motte, Tignes - open until the 5th May
Our final weekly snow round-up of the 2018/2019 winter brings news of just about every kind of weather condition, as some resorts end their season (and a couple open!).
We'll be reverting to our monthly reports from 1st of May; have a great summer (or winter, if you're in the southern hemisphere!)
This Week's Snow Headlines - 18th April 2019
- More snow in the Alps; up to 50cm in 24 hours and 105cm in 7 days, reported.
- Up to 1.2m (four feet) of fresh snow reported in Utah; but most areas close.
- Norway's Fonna glacier opens for season immediately reporting Europe's deepest base.
- Quebec overtakes California for North America's deepest reported snow base.
- Japan's Gassan summer ski area opens for 2019 and posts the world's deepest snow depth.
- Heaviest snow in the Pyrenees for several months - up to 40cm in 24 hours reported.
- Portuguese ski area re-opens after the heaviest snowstorm of the season.
The ski season is in wind-down mode now and it's a little surprising to see that some big resorts have already closed a week or more ahead of the Easter weekend (although that is on one of the latest dates possible this year).
Conditions in the Alps and to an extent most of the resorts of the northern hemisphere's main ski areas are best described as 'mixed'. There have been plenty of classic, sunny, spring skiing days, particularly in the Western Alps, but also some fresh snow in many areas.
For most this has just been a few centimetres but there are a few resorts in both the Alps and the Rockies that have reported around a metre (40 inches) of new snow up high over the last seven days.
There's also been fog (as warm temperatures make mist out of melting snow), gales and rain to get quite a mix.
Remarkably we have two new ski area openings in the past week with the first of Norway's three summer glacier resorts opening for their 2019 season as has another cult classic, the little spring ski areas of Gassan in northern Japan, which also opened last weekend and immediately claimed the snow there was lying 10 metres deep – the deepest in the world. It should be open to mid-July.
Finally, the little (and only) Portuguese ski area of Serra de Estrella which was open six months ago after freak heavy autumn snow storms - but hasn't opened much all winter - is open again after heavy Spring snow storms and is looking good for Easter skiing!
In the Alpine Forecast
Temperatures will remain warm for the foreseeable, with a little snow at high altitude in a few places but generally sunny and clear conditions prevailing.
Many resorts are now closed, or are about to - so check before making any last-minute travel plans!
More snowfall expected, but please note that some ski areas have now closed for the season.
Re-publication :- our Snow Report Summary, being the text above this line, is free to re-publish, but must be clearly credited to www.J2ski.com with text including "J2Ski Snow Report" linked to this page - thank you.
Austria has seen the biggest snowfalls in Europe over the past week as the weather has switched between sun, snow and fog.
The country's glaciers are posting the deepest bases, most notably the Stubai which has reached 575cm (over 19 feet) – one of the five deepest in the world at present. It has reported nearly 90cm (three feet) of snow this week with 50cm of that falling on Saturday so Sunday was quite the powder day.
A large number of Austrian ski areas have now closed for the season but perhaps not as many as usual for this later in April with, it seems, a greater percentage deciding to stick it out to the late Easter this coming weekend, particular as a lot are sitting, still, on huge snowbases left from the massive January snow storms.
Most of France's ski resorts remain open to Easter too, although the majority will close for the season after this coming weekend. It has been a mostly sunny week on the country's slopes, with excellent conditions reported in the mornings following the fresh snow the week before last. There has been more fresh snow this past week too, but much less, just 5-10cm at some resorts, none at others.
Avoriaz and Morzine in the Portes du Soleil are posting the country's deepest base at 3.2 metres on upper runs, but most have good cover up top. This time of year it is lower slope depth that's more of an issue and it is indeed down to a few centimetres at some areas – 5cm for Morillon, 10cm for Serre Chevalier, 15cm for Morzine and so on.
Italian ski areas saw some fresh snow over the past week too with the biggest reported accumulation above Passo Tonale on the Presena Glacier in Trentino where there's still another month of the season to run - through to mind-May. It got 50cm of fresh snow at the weekend, equalling the biggest fall in Europe this past week.
The next few days could see more significant snowfalls on higher slopes in the Italian Alps and Dolomites with J2Ski forecasting up to 90cm (three feet) of snow in some areas by Easter Monday, however many of the ski areas likely to see the most snowfall have already closed for the season. However, 30-60cm is forecast for Cervinia which is due to stay open to the 5th of May.
Swiss ski centres also saw a mixture of sunshine, rain, fog and cloud over the past week as different weather fronts moved through. Overall the sunnier conditions were on the Western side of the country whilst there was more fresh powder to be found in the East, although when it was accompanied by thick fog at resorts like Davos, making it difficult to see where you were going on the mountain, this was a rather frustrating combination for skiers!
The base depth at Engelberg remains the deepest in the Alps, although it has dropped from 7.3 to 7.1 metres. As mentioned in the intro it has been overtaken in Europe by the Fonna glacier in Norway opening with an 8m base and on the world scale by the Gassan ski area in Japan opening and posting a 10m base there!
Perhaps the more interesting stat for many skiers is the lower slope base depth which has dropped to zero at Engelberg meaning top to bottom skiing is about over now although there's still five weeks of skiing left here.
Most of Scandinavia's ski areas are open at least to the end of April with more of the locals now taking to the slopes to enjoy the long sunny days but still fresh snow, whilst the foreigners who tend to visit in mid-winter are thinner on the ground.
Norway's Fonna summer ski area opened at the weekend immediately posting Europe's deepest base (and more than double that of nearest competitor Riksgransen in Scandinavia, which has dropped another 20cm to 3.4 metres) at 8 metres. No fresh snow has been reported in Scandinavia this past week.
The season is ending in the Pyrenees with more than half of the ski areas there now closed, but it has been snowing, continuing the April trend after a fairly dry March. The biggest falls were reported on the French side with a 40cm fall at Cauterets, but there was 10cm or so in Andorra at the weekend too for a bit of powder skiing there. The principality's ski areas will close for the season after Easter Sunday.
In the wider region the Portuguese ski area of Serra de Estrella, Europe's most westerly ski area, got a heavy snowfall and has re-opened for Easter skiing saying conditions are the best they've been all winter. There has also been some fresh snow for Sierra Nevada, Europe's most southerly major resort, down near Granada which will be open to the start of May.
Scotland's 2018-19 ski season appears to be just about over with only Glencoe still operating and temperatures set to be in double figures into the weekend.
Glencoe has three or four runs open and says their terrain is only really suitable for good skiers at the moment rather than novices. Most recently they've reported that they could stay open to May Day Bank Holiday Monday but think most likely Easter Bank Holiday Monday will be their closing day, not due to lack of snow up top they say, but due to a lack of skiers!
Bulgaria's ski season is now over and most of the rest of the ski areas on the eastern side of Europe have closed too, but there are a dozen or so – mostly the region's larger, higher ski centres – that are staying open for Easter weekend and indeed a few (Kobla and Vogel in Slovenia) have announced their intention to stay open through to the first weekend in May.
Most of Western Canada's ski areas are now closed but a dozen or so are staying open to Easter and several of the big names including Banff's Sunshine and Lake Louise and Whistler over on the Pacific Coast are staying open into May. There was up to 30cm of fresh snow here at the start of the week and up to 30cm more is forecast for the week ahead.
There's been a little more snow in the east, with up to 50cm more at some areas in Quebec, although this has sometimes fallen as rain. Mont Tremblant, which closed after Easter Sunday too, now reports its base is more than 6 metres, which following thawing to below 6m of previously bigger bases in California, gives it the deepest depth stat in North America this week.
US ski areas are closing thick and fast too although more than 100 resorts are open for Easter and some big names have extended their seasons. Breckenridge and Winter Park in Colorado are among those staying open into May and of course, Mammoth and Squaw Valley, with the deepest bases in the country at over 5.5 metres, have previously said they'll be staying open to July.
There has been fresh snow this week in parts of California, Colorado and Montana, generally 20-50cm on higher slopes. The biggest totals, of more than a metre, at Alta and Snowbird in Utah, were in the week that ended last weekend. The latter is staying open well into May.
There's been little fresh snow in the east, by contrast, more often rain, but several areas including Killington in Vermont have said they plan to stay open into May too.
And that's a wrap for Winter 2018/2019! It's been a blast... but we'll be back with a monthly summary from the 1st May...