Here is our weekly guide to where to ski or board over the coming Easter Week – the first of the school holidays in most cases.
Easter is earlier than it has been this season and that’s in theory good news if you’re looking for quality snow. Snow depths are largely good to great across most ski areas and on piste conditions excellent. The less good news – if you’re looking for off piste powder – is that there has been very little snow, except in Sweden, the Pyrenees and western North America over the past week. Better news though is that snow is arriving in the Western Alps about now – just how much is open to debate.
Austria This Week
It had been a fairly dry week in Austria until Thursday when it started snowing and the Stubai glacier reported 20cm of fresh snow, most other areas, including the Skiwelt above, rather less. Conditions are pretty good across the country though on the pistes.
(Meribel snow report from Inghams)
French slopes are looking good for the start of Easter, the thinnest base up top is a perfectly adequate 1m deep, and most areas have healthy snow down to resort level too. Chamonix claims 7m on its upper slopes – more than 23 feet and the deepest in the world by some distance – only 10cm down in resort though. More snow is forecast across the country this week.
There’s been no snow in the past week in Italy but some glorious sunny days on the pistes. Thanks to heavy snow in the Dolomites at the start of the month and previous snow in the Alps conditions are good across the country now as we enter April. More snow, particularly in the West, is forecast for Easter week.
(Davos) There’s been no fresh snow in Switzerland either for the past 8 or 9 days but again fresh snow – up to 50cm of it – is in the Easter forecast. And again, even without it, conditions on the pistes are pretty good to excellent almost everywhere thanks to the accumulated base and pleasant weather – great spring skiing conditions.
The Pyrenees have seen the most fresh snow in Europe over the past week with up to 60cm (two feet) of fresh accumulating on the Spanish side and smaller but still significant 10-30cm accumulations in Andorra and on the french side. Again there’s more in the forecast and Easter conditions are excellent.
There’s been some quite heavy snowfalls in parts of Scandinavia with a lot of fresh powder in Sweden at the leading resort of are and up in the north at Riksgransen (above) in the Arctic circle. Less fresh snow reported elsewhere in the region but bases remain good so most areas look safe to stay open to the start of May as usual.
Challenging times on Scottish slopes as areas struggle to stay ope through the Easter holidays. Forecast fresh snow should help but the thaw of the past fortnight has led to The Lecht having to close and lower slopes losing snow cover at the other four areas. Upper slope conditions remain good though the centres say. Glencoe, pictured above, has the highest percentage of its terrain still open – virtually every run.
There’s been some fresh snow across the region this week, even down in Bulgaria where Bansko has had a few inches on Thursday. Bases are typically in the 50cm-1m bracket which should see them through to the end of the season here in a few weeks.
(Lake Louise, photo Ben Bradgley) The usual story in Canada this season snow in the West, dry in the East. Not quite as snowy as last week, but Revelstoke got a foot of snow and is looking good whilst Whistler, which has just extended its season to the end of may, got another six inches and now has a base of 3.5m – nearly 12 feet.
(Squaw Valley above) Still more big snowfalls in the Western US with up to 60cm reported in the last week at areas in California, Colorado and Utah and bases up to 5m at Mammoth. There has been some fresh snow in the East too, causing great excitement at resorts like Stowe in Vermont although for some it was too little, too late.