Big Bear Mountain, California got snow... again!
Big snow, both side of the Atlantic, and a bit more more coming.
The mountains are waiting for us... be patient, stay safe and follow your local advice and rules on travel.
The Snow Headlines - 4th February
- Deepest snow base in the world this season passes 5-metre mark at Engelberg.
- Ski areas in California report over 3 metres of snowfall (11 feet) in 3-days.
- Avalanche danger hits highest level following up to 2 metres of snowfall in the Alps.
- French and Scottish ski centres to stay closed through February but Slovenia re-opens slopes.
- Bi-annual Alpine Skiing World Championships start in Cortina d'Ampezzo this weekend.
The snowiest week of the season so far has seen accumulations of over two metres reported at several resorts in Austria and France and over three metres in California.
The upside of this has been powder skiing for those lucky few who can get to the slopes and (slightly tenuous perhaps), bases building for late-season skiing if more of us can ski by Easter.
The downside is the avalanche danger being exceptionally high and, particularly in the US, the danger of snow suffocation if caught in a tree well.
Away from the Alps and Western America, it has been a fairly snowy story in Canada, New England, the Pyrenees and Scotland too. The latter is reporting their best season in terms of snowfall and consistently cold temperatures since 2010, so it's a little ironic the centres have to stay closed due to the pandemic. Drier, but cold, in Scandinavia.
In pandemic news, France and Scotland have confirmed they're keeping ski slopes closed into March although Slovenia has allowed theirs to re-open. Austria has delayed a decision to the middle of the month when Italy still hopes to re-open their slopes, at present.
In the Alpine Forecast
Most of the alpine region will see more snow over the next few days, with some heavy falls expected on Sunday for the Swiss and Italian Alps in particular.
Snow heading for Japan and the US in the next 48 hours (and Swiss and Italian Alps on Sunday)...
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.
Austrian ski areas saw some of the biggest snowfalls of the huge storm that hit the Alps in the latter half of last week. Resorts in the Tirol posted up to two metres (80 inches) of snowfall and the avalanche danger hit maximum level in many areas.
Austrian skiing has also been making headlines away from the winter sports sector with the country's police raiding St Anton to find more than 90 skiers staying 'illegally' from a wide range of national origins. They now have to quarantine and pay a large fine.
Austria, which has its slopes open to local people but not ski tourists, has begun easing some lockdown restrictions on day-to-day life. However, a decision on easing ski tourism restrictions, or not, has been delayed to mid-February.
Bases on glaciers are now past the three-metre mark thanks to all the new snow so that could be good news for late spring/summer glacier skiing if that's when travel is allowed again.
France too saw huge snowfalls at many of its Alpine resorts, some like Val Thorens posting 1.5 metres (five feet) totals.
Many ski resorts remain open - with the lifts shut - but the French Government has this week kicked the can down the road again on when lifts might be allowed to open, confirming it will now not be until at least the start of March.
The mood in ski areas appears to have gone from anger and despair to resignation, although some ski area workers did block the Frejus trunnel into Italy in protest at the hardship resulting for them.
The snow was back at the start of the week with still more heavy snowfalls reported.
The ski racing world's focus will be on Italy and specifically Cortina d'Ampezzo over the coming week or two with the bi-annual Alpine Skiing World Championships due to kick off in a few days time, the second biggest event in skiing after the Winter Olympics.
There's also heightened anticipation of ski areas re-opening after three months - subject to the state of the pandemic of course - in just over a week's time on the 15th of February. So far that date is holding.
Italian ski areas have had fresh snowfall this past week. Conditions, from what we can tell at closed areas, would be great if resorts were open.
Swiss ski areas remain defiantly open and the biggest issue this past week has been the huge snowfalls over the weekend, perhaps overshadowing the pandemic for a change.
Up to two metres (80 inches) of snow was recorded at some areas in Valais and it has been snowing again in the past few days too. Lötschental claims 2.9 metres (nearly 10 feet) of snow has now fallen there in the past week.
All the snow has taken Andermatt's upper slope base depth past the five-metre mark, the first resort in the world to reach that this season so far. But it also brought the avalanche danger to maximum level 5 and a number of resorts were temporarily cut off due to the avalanche danger over access roads and rail routes.
The Scandinavian picture has been dominated by cold weather over the past week, with temperatures in places down to -20C or even -30 Celcius. This has come with clear skies so not much fresh snowfall to report.
Most areas have enough snow lying and are fully open, or thereabouts. Unlike down in the alps most ski areas are open to all in Finland, Norway and Sweden, within national pandemic restrictions in each country of course.
The news from the Pyrenees is little changed on the position for the past month now. Ski areas in Andorra and some in Spain are open, but to local skiers only.
As these are mostly destination resorts reliant on tourism, their operations are reported to be losing money in the present scenario so they're opening only a fraction of their terrain to try to cut costs. Resorts in the French Pyrenees are closed of course.
The weather has been warmer but another 20-40cm of fresh snowfall has been reported in the past week.
Frustratingly, but somehow typically, Scotland's ski-season-that-isn't just keeps getting better and better and with consistently cold snowy weather for the past six weeks now. So the snow is lying several metres deep and conditions are now widely being compared to the last really good winter of 2009-10.
But on Tuesday the Scottish Government said pandemic spread prevention measures will keep the country's ski centres closed to at least the end of this month. Ski touring is proving ever more popular with the great conditions but lifts are shut. A number of skiers have been fined for travelling too far from home to go skiing in the lockdown.
After very cold temperatures and then heavy snowfall in the latter half of January conditions are excellent on Bulgarian ski slopes as we enter February. It has warmed up a little and there's been less fresh snow this past week but bases are pretty healthy now and even the long run down to resort from Bansko's slopes is reported to have an unusually healthy half-metre of snow lying on it.
A promising picture across Canada with the west seeing more good snowfalls (40-50cm in 48 hours reported for Kicking Horse and Whistler in BC over the start of this week). So it is a case of ever more terrain open (Whistler is already fully open) and powder conditions.
The East continues to look 'much improved' too with some fresh snow and, equally important after the warm autumn, consistently cold temperatures.
Even the virus news is improving in that Ontario, the only province or state in North America where the regional government has decided to close ski areas due to the pandemic, has decided to open centres there again 'ASAP'.
The biggest snowfalls in the world of the past week have been recorded in California, where one resort (China Peak) posted a 3.2-metre accumulation,
Mammoth said they got ten feet (three metres) during the three-day storm from Tuesday/Wednesday to Friday/Saturday. There was some digging out (an understatement!) and avalanche mitigation measures, before 'amazing conditions' from Sunday.
Further north in Washington state heavy snowfall took Mount Baker's base past the 4-metre mark, the deepest on the North American continent at present. Some snow in Colorado too but snow depths remain below average.
A big storm hit the Northeast after California's ended, running from Monday to Wednesday this week, with some resorts in New York state posting more than three-feet (90cm) of snowfall.