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Latest snow report: Easter snowfall prompts resorts to extend the season

This week snowfall has been heaviest in the southern Alps
This week snowfall has been heaviest in the southern Alps - Getty

Easter has arrived and with it fresh snow in the Alps. Snow has been falling all week in European resorts and many other mountain ranges across the northern hemisphere, with North American resorts doing particularly well this week too.

Resorts in the Pyrenees have had more fresh snow for the final weeks of the season. Eastern European centres also posted some good weekend snow accumulations and Scandinavian centres including Norway’s Geilo and Hemsedal have reported 20-30cm more over the last few days. Scotland has also had its coldest and snowiest weather for a while. Cairngorm and Glencoe have the most slopes open, with one skier at the latter on Tuesday saying the conditions in the Main Basin were the best of the season.

It is now a question of how long that snowfall stays pristine. At this late stage in the season, skiers must go high, or travel north, for it to stay powdery longest.

France

French resorts have had some fresh snow, heaviest in the southern Alps where Alpe d’Huez, Les 2 Alpes and Serre Chevalier posted up to 75cm accumulations in just 24 hours. The latter also posted the world’s biggest jump in its published upper slope base depth this week. Freeriders should note that the avalanche danger has jumped from moderate (level 2 on the scale to 5) to high (level 4), as a result. Some ski areas have announced that snow conditions merit extended seasons. Chamonix says higher pistes in its Brévent sector, where the snow is 2.9m deep up top, will stay open an extra week to April 21.

The forecast

Continuing cool for the time of year, temperatures from +10C in valleys in the afternoons down to -15C up high overnight. More light to moderate snow showers through the Easter weekend and into April.

Discover the best ski resorts in France with our guide


Austria

It’s been a snowy end to March in Austria, leading to the cancellation of the last World Cup downhill ski race of the season in Saalbach on Sunday – 25cm of fresh snowfall up high put pay to that. The snow showers have kept coming, with sunny spells in between, Ischgl and Solden among those part-closed by the conditions midweek. The fresh snow has led to avalanche danger levels rising to considerable (level 3) in areas including the Arlberg, around Lech and St Anton.

The forecast

Snow showers continue into next week with fairly cool temperatures for the time of year, especially when compared to recent weeks.

Discover the best ski resorts in Austria with our guide


Italy

There’s been fresh snowfall across Italy. The heaviest was reported in the Aosta Valley, with Pila posting a 67cm accumulation on Thursday morning. Cervinia, now offering year-round access to the glacier ski area it shares with Swiss neighbour Zermatt, was another big winner. Further east, most ski areas in the Dolomites including Alta Badia and Val Gardena report their slopes 100 per cent open for Easter week.

The forecast

There’s a lot of precipitation in the forecast into the first week of April, the altitude at which it falls as rain rather than snow will move between 1,000m and 2,000m.st.

Discover the best ski resorts in Italy with our guide

Cortina D’Ampezzo
Resorts in Italy are enjoy fantastic conditions - Getty/E+

Switzerland

Swiss centres have seen some big snowfalls this week, with Gstaad’s Glacier 3000 closed midweek as the storm blew through and Saas-Fee posting the world’s deepest snowpack up top, approaching 5 metres, after another 45cm accumulation. Most of the country’s big areas remain 75-95 per cent open with nice conditions up high thanks to the fresh snowfall. Adelboden, Engelberg, Zermatt and St Moritz have announced plans to keep slopes open into May.

The forecast

Mixed conditions, the freezing point moving between approximately 1000 and 2500 m, plenty of sunshine, reaching +12C down at 1000m, but snow showers continuing too on higher slopes.

Discover the best ski resorts in Switzerland with our guide


Canada

It was a snowy weekend across Canada, with Eastern resorts like Tremblant celebrating powder conditions and more snowfall for Alberta and British Columbia too. Daylight hours are stretching away at these northerly latitudes and Banff’s Sunshine says its lifts will run later now, some to 5 pm daily. Its season runs there to May 20 this year.

The forecast

A mostly sunny week ahead with occasional snow/sleet/rain showers, and temperatures ranging between -10C and +10C.

Discover the best ski resorts in Canada with our guide


USA

There has been heavy snowfall to the end of March on both the East and West sides of the US. Maine’s Sunday River ski area, one of the biggest ski areas on the East Coast, described the 90cm of snowfall it received in 48 hours to start this week as a “March miracle” and conditions as the best all season. Similar falls were reported on the West Coast too, with California’s Palisades posting 79cm in 72 hours. It’s been powder from coast to coast and Deer Valley, Park City and Steamboat have all extended their seasons into late April.

The forecast

Another big storm is hitting The West Coast and will continue through the easter weekend with storm totals of 1m+ for some. A mix of sunshine and snow/sleet/rain showers further inland through the coming week.

Discover the best ski resorts in the US with our guide

When do ski resorts close?

April 7

Italy: Alta Badia

Spain: Baqueira Beret

April 14

Italy: Champoluc

Switzerland: Crans-Montana

April 21

France: Alpe d’Huez, Courchevel, Flaine

Switzerland: Mürren, Saas Fee and Verbier

USA: Alta and Deer Valley

April 27 

France: Les Arcs and La Plagne

April 28

Norway: Myrkdalen

Switzerland: Glacier 3000 and Grindelwald

May 1

Austria: Ischgl, Obertauern and Sölden

France: Chamonix

May 5

France: Tignes, Val d’Isere and Val Thorens

Italy: Passo Tonale and Sella Nevea

Japan: Furano, Shiga Kogen and Zao Onsen

Slovakia: Jasna

May 19

Canada: Whistler Blackcomb