Friday, 24 January 2020

Most of Europe will experience low temperatures but little snow over the next few days. This has been the case for much of this week, with a few exceptions such as the French Pyrenees and Andorra where snowfall has been plentiful. The winds that have been preventing the snow from settling in Scotland recently should subside by the end of the weekend, hopefully enabling fresh snow to settle as we head into next week.

The best conditions are currently found in North America. The USA has seen huge amounts of snowfall over the past month but respite from this is expected over the weekend. Whistler will again see the heaviest snowfall in North America over the next few days, adding to the significant snowfall that it has seen over the past few weeks.

The base depths of snow in Japan remain abnormally low and there will be little snow in the next few days to rectify this. The weather system that has been causing the lack of snow is, however, due to move away from the region in the next couple of weeks, potentially bringing an improvement in conditions.

Snow Alert

Based on current weather forecasts for the next 10 days, the top three resorts for expected snowfall are:

Whistler (Canada) – 178cm

Geilo (Norway) – 109cm

Kuhtai (Austria) – 97cm


Austria saw heavy snowfall over the weekend and this sustained the ski areas throughout a week of no snow in most areas. Temperatures have been low this week which has led to some excellent skiing conditions. The weather will be little changed over the weekend – there will be little snow but temperatures will be low, ensuring that ski conditions on piste will remain good for the weekend. If you’re heading to Austria this weekend, you’ll experience plenty of sun on Friday and Saturday and there will be a chance of light snowfall in parts on Sunday.


The French Alps have seen a lot of sun over the last month which has led to hard-packed snow. Last weekend, however, up to 40cm of snow fell in some areas, meaning that the conditions in most areas of France are good. Most resorts have the vast majority of their lifts open and despite little snow being forecast for the next few days, the snow will remain good with temperatures predicted to stay well below freezing. Great base depths of snow can be found in many resorts, with Montgenevre now having a base depth of three metres on the upper pistes.

The French Pyrenees experienced very different weather this week to the Alps. Some resorts were forced to shut due to high winds and Les Angles saw over 1.5m of snow over two days!

This weekend temperatures will be well below freezing in both the Alps and Pyrenees but there will be little snow. Most areas of France have good base depths of snow and therefore it is not a struggle to find good conditions wherever you go.


The picture in Switzerland is very similar to in France and Austria – most resorts are operating most of their lifts, off piste skiing is limited but on piste skiing conditions are good, there was heavy snowfall last weekend but little snow has fallen this week and little snow is forecast this weekend. Engelberg is offering the pick of the conditions this weekend with uninterrupted sunshine and low temperatures.


Italy received some of the heaviest snowfall in Europe during the early part of the season and thanks to this, conditions in most regions remain good despite a lack of snow over the past month. The Presena Glacier in Passo Tonale has a base depth of snow of 4m, rivalling the world leading base depths currently found in the USA.

As with France, Austria and Switzerland, Italy is experiencing a dry January and little fresh snow is forecast over the weekend. Cortina is forecast to receive a smattering of snow on Sunday but most resorts will not see any fresh snow until we head into next week.


Andorra, unlike most parts of Europe, has seen significant amounts of snowfall over the past few days. As with the French Pyrenees, some areas saw over 1.5m of snow in just a couple of days. As a result, some fantastic powder conditions can be found in Andorra currently. This is a welcome change to the hard packed snow that skiers in Andorra have been experiencing for most of the season.

There will be no fresh snow over the weekend in either Grandvalira or Vallnord but the powder and sunny forecast will make for excellent skiing conditions


Scandinavia saw a smattering of snowfall during the middle of this week and further snow is forecast over the coming days. Geilo in Norway will receive 21cm of fresh snow and other areas will see a light covering of fresh snow, helping to top up the hard packed snow.


Germany has been struggling for snow all season and no fresh snow is forecast by the end of this week. To find decent skiing, the best bet is on the Zugspitze Glacier in Garmisch.

Eastern Europe

Snowfall has eased off in Eastern Europe since Christmas and resorts in the region are struggling for snow. There was, however, enough snow for the world cup race in Bansko to go ahead on Friday. Base depths of snow are well below a metre even on upper pistes but most resorts have managed to keep a majority of their lifts turning. Jasna in Slovakia will receive very modest amounts of snowfall over the next few days. A bigger dump is much needed in Jasna and other parts of Eastern Europe.


Scotland received fresh snow last weekend which helped to provide some reasonable conditions during the early part of this week but the resorts in the country are still light on snow. Strong winds have been sweeping the mountains over the past week, and will continue to do so, meaning that snow is struggling to settle. There are hopes of a reduction in the wind speeds from Sunday onwards.


The deluge of snow that the USA has experienced for the most part of January has eased off this week in most parts. This is great news for those wanting to get out on the slopes as there is already plenty enough snow in most parts.

The western parts of the USA have seen huge snowfalls over the past month. Timberline now has a whopping base depth of almost 4m on the upper pistes! As with other parts of the USA, the snowfall has eased off for now and no fresh snow is expected this weekend.

Over in Utah there has been light snow and sunshine for the majority of the week. This weekend temperatures are set to hover around freezing and there is a chance of some more light snow. All in all, there should be some excellent skiing conditions on offer.

Northern parts of California have received more snow this week than most parts of the USA with up to half a metre of snow falling in some areas. Relatively little snow fell in southern California but skiing conditions in the area remain good as temperatures have been well below freezing. Heavenly is indicative of most resorts in the area for the weekend and will receive just 4cm of snow while temperatures remain below zero.

Further west in Colorado, great skiing is on offer after a record breaking January. Jackson Hole broke its snowfall record for the first half of January with 340cm of snow falling on upper parts in the first two weeks of the month. Over the weekend there will be plenty of sun in the resort, making for perfect skiing conditions.

Over on the east coast, conditions are the best that they have been all season. Up to 50cm of fresh snow fell last weekend and in the early part of this week. Some areas are forecast to receive reasonable amounts of snow this weekend. As we head into next week, conditions should be excellent in the region.


The recent heavy snow is due to continue in Canada over the weekend, particularly in Whistler. The resort is set to receive almost 60cm of snow over the weekend. The lifts are now all open and the renowned off piste is now finally coming into its own for the first time this season.

Continuing the recent trend, further to the east, snowfall is set to be more modest but the majority of lifts in the area remain open and temperatures have remained low which has helped to preserve the snow.


Japan’s uncharacteristic lack of snow unfortunately continues despite a fresh dump of snow last weekend. Niseko has the best conditions currently in Japan and has had 80cm of snow in the last week. There will be very little new snow over the weekend but temperatures will remain below freezing which will help to preserve the snow that is currently there.