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Fresh snowfall in the Alps brings excellent conditions for spring skiers

Les Arcs, where snow levels at 2,000m are currently 485cm
Les Arcs, where snow levels at 2,000m are currently 485cm - Getty

The long-heralded snowstorm in the Alps has finally arrived – and really delivered with the biggest falls of 2024 so far, sending the snow stats on a steep upward trajectory after weeks of slow decline. Some resorts have now had more than a metre of fresh snowfall this week.

The snow is providing a great start to the spring skiing season which is now officially here, by the meteorological measure of the season, despite winter capriciously finally making an appearance now, after weeks of “springlike” weather through the actual winter. Les Arcs notes that its snow levels at 2,000m are currently 485cm compared to 130cm at this time last year.

The fresh snowfall has brought joy to previously powder-starved freeriders, but also the inevitable warnings of rising off-piste avalanche danger. That’s now widely up to level 3 or “considerable” on the scale 1-5 after being low for months. Level 3 is statistically the most dangerous as more skiers tend to carry on when most will avoid heading off-piste at 4 or the rare 5.

Beyond the Alps, the Pyrenees has also had lots of fresh snow, greatly improving things there, it has continued snowing in Scandinavia, and Scottish centres managed to re-open some terrain, with Glencoe reporting the biggest turnaround, from closed a week ago to half its slopes and its full vertical open this week.

There’s been lots of snowfall over the last few days in North America too, with Western Canada, including Whistler, seeing a badly needed deposit.

France

Courchevel was one of the big winners for snowfall, reporting 48cm in 24 hours to start the weekend, while 50cm in Alpe d’Huez took its base to 4.8 metres, the world’s deepest at present. However, Les Menuires had the most snowfall in 48 hours with 73cm up top. That was just the first course though, with the snow continuing all week and areas posting 1m+ accumulations.

The forecast

Remaining cold and snowy across the country into next week. Drier, sunnier weather returning on Monday/Tuesday.

Discover the best ski resorts in France with our guide


Austria

Austria’s glaciers, where the ski season is set to continue into May (June for the Kitzsteinhorn near Zell am See and year-round for Hintertux in the Ziller valley) posted the biggest snowfalls in the Alps initially, the Stubai Glacier reporting 80cm on day one of the storm, Soldewn 50cm. But there was snowfall at lower levels too; Saalbach Hinterglemm, which peaks more than 1,000 vertical metres below the glaciers, also posted a 70cm weekend snowfall total.

The forecast

Remaining much colder than it has been in recent weeks with more light to moderate snow showers continuing into next week.

Discover the best ski resorts in Austria with our guide


Italy

Italy enjoyed a snowy weekend too with good accumulations across the country. Aprica got 60cm,  Cervinia and Passo Tonale posted 50cm, Madonna di Campiglio 40cm and Livigno 32cm. In the Dolomites it was 15-30cm. The second wave of snowfall in the last few days more than doubled those totals. “It’s been a while since we’ve seen a snowfall like this,” said a Passo Tonale spokesperson as it passed the metre mark.

The forecast

Remaining cold and snowy through the weekend, then sunny weather returning next week.

Discover the best ski resorts in Italy with our guide

Cortina D’Ampezzo
Resorts in Italy will see some light snow showers bubbling up - Getty/E+

Switzerland

Swiss ski areas also got their fair share of the fresh snow, Glacier 3000 near Gstaad delayed opening for a few hours after it received 60cm in 24 hours to allow staff to dig out lifts and make slopes safe. As with the rest of the Alps, the snow has kept falling and intensified again in the last few days. St Moritz is the first resort this winter to see its base depth jump over a metre in the last seven days.

The forecast

Snowfall will continue through the weekend with 10-20cm accumulations likely most days, with drier weather returning next week.

Discover the best ski resorts in Switzerland with our guide


Canada

There’s been some excitement in Western Canada with some of the biggest snowfalls of the year at resorts including Lake Louise, Kicking Horse and Sunshine near Banff. Jasper’s Marmot Basin topped the lot though with 25cm in 24 hours to start the week. But the snowfall has intensified further west with Whistler Blackcomb issuing a severe weather warning after it posted 48cm in 12 hours.

The forecast

Temperatures remain colder than they have been, well below freezing to the valley floors, with daily snowfalls of 5-15cm into next week.

Discover the best ski resorts in Canada with our guide


USA

Weather data from the Western US indicates that February snowfall totals of over 4 metres in places have more than doubled the snowpack, meaning spring looks set to bring the best skiing of the 23-24 season at resorts like Palisades, Heavenly and Mammoth. However, Utah is posting both America’s largest open ski area at Park City and deepest snowpack, at Alta. The snow is dumping again, heaviest in the west, with the Northwest corner which has had a warm dry winter, finally seeing significant snowfall.

The forecast

With Europe posting metre-plus snowfall totals, North America has to go one better and the US National Weather Service has a severe weather warning forecast for over 2 metres accumulating by Monday in the west. There are warnings of travel disruption and off-piste dangers from avalanches and tree wells (voids that can open in deep snow by tree trunks you can fall in with the same issues as a glacial crevasse) from resorts.

Discover the best ski resorts in the US with our guide

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