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Thursday April 6, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

There are warm temperatures across the mountains for the Easter week as the sun beats down but snow remains at altitude. While we have just heard about the first snowfalls in Australia. UPDATED

Here on PlanetSKI we like to keep a close eye on the snow across the mountains - the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Rockies and beyond.

We have a main snow report each Thursday looking at current condtions and the forecast. 

And we update it with details from our reporters and readers around the mountains:

Wednesday 12th April

The alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin, is in the French resort of Val Cenis.

Fraser runs the web site and provides our weekly snow report here on PlanetSKI.

He posted the following this morning:

"We are looking forward to another mostly sunny day. Indeed, it has been mostly sunny all week, with cold clear nights followed by warm afternoon temperatures (as high as +20°C at 1400m). 

"Elsewhere in the Alps there have been a few showers here and there - thanks to some weak weather fronts over the last 24 hours - but no meaningful snow, and many areas have remained dry.

"In short, spring snow conditions continue to rule with the most consistent snow quality in resorts with plenty of north-facing terrain above 2300m, preferably even higher."

Val Cenis photo c/o Cenis photo c/o
















Tuesday 11th April

Spring conditions in the mountains?

No, its more like summer!

PlanetSKI's chief reporter, Jane Peel, has been in Laax in Switzerland.

And we have this report from a reader in Val d'Isère, France.

"It's been good in the morning with some lovely skiing but getting slushy by lunchtime even high up. It's not even worth skiing down at the end of the day because the slush is so heavy and it's very busy," said PlanetSKI reader, Vivien Pivcevic.

Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isère, France
















Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isère, France
















Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isère, France
















Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isère, France
















Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isère, France
















Meanwhile across France in the Pyrenees there are similar conditions.

"Snow still very good at top of runs, starting to get slushy lower down by lunchtime. Hence closing pistes at 1445. Daily lift pass now reduced to 31€. North facing slopes here seem to be key," said one of our readers, Ian Anderson.

Cauterets, French PyreneesCauterets, French Pyrenees
















Cauterets, French PyreneesCauterets, French Pyrenees
















Cauterets, French PyreneesCauterets, French Pyrenees
















Monday 10th April

There have been the first falls of snow in the southern hemisphere.

Ski resorts in New South Wales in Australia saw up to 15cm of fresh snow - the season does not start in most resorts for another 2 months.

Thredbo Resort said about 10 to 15 centimetres of snow fell on mountain tops overnight, while Perisher resort recorded about five centimetres.

"It actually did look like a winter wonderland when we woke up this morning with big fat snowflakes floating all the way to the village," spokeswoman Susie Diver said.

"There are a few kids this morning on the toboggan sliding down the ninth hole of the golf course. There's also a community of snowmen that's popping up around the village."

"Snowing fat fluffy flakes all the way to the village," said the resort on Facebook

Thredbo, AustraliaThredbo, Australia













Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia















Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia















Mount Hotham, AustraliaMount Hotham, Australia













It does of course have no impact on the approaching ski season.

It will all melt, but it is a taste of what's to come.

It has also come at a cost.

900 people were left without power in Sydney and there was some flash flooding.

Winds reached speeds of 90 km/h in places.

Sheep farmers were also warned about cold temperatures and asked to consider moving some of their livestock into barns.

And we have to ask this question:

Is this the first snowman of the winter in Australia?

Perisher, AustraliaPerisher, Australia














Sunday 9th April

One of our readers, Vanessa Fisher, is in the Grand Tourmalet area of the French Pyrenees.

"Hot day on the slopes under blue skies but pistes holding up really well. Loved the north facing Sapins run down to La Mongie and typical spring snow if you time it right off piste," said Vanessa.

"Great to be able to ski all the way back to the main car park at Tournaboup above Barèges. Looking forward to exploring more of the ski area this week, the final week of the season in Grand Tourmalet." 

French PyreneesFrench Pyrenees
















Saturday 8th April

We have received this latest video from our chief reporter, Jane Peel, who is currently in Laax in Switzerland.

Seems Spring has sprung!

Jane is having a very well-deserved ski after covering The BRITS this week on PlanetSKI - see here for her final report.

Meanwhile the snow continues to fall over in North America.

Whistler has had another 65cm of snow this week taking it past its average annual snowfall.

The Canadian resort has now received a total of 1,188cm this season and has officially surpassed its 10-year annual average snowfall of 1,170cm.

Whistler Blackcomb received 320cm of snowfall in March alone, making March 2017 the third snowiest March on record for the resort.

There have been huge snowfalls across many parts on North America as PlanetSKI reported in this earlier story.

Whistler Mountain's last day of winter operations will be April 23rd, but Blackcomb Mountain will remain open for skiing and riding through to May 22nd.

"We are once again lucky enough to boast one of the longest ski seasons in North America," says Doug Macfarlane, director of mountain operations at Whistler Blackcomb.

"We have received consistent consecutive storm cycles combined with low temperatures throughout the winter, priming the mountains to deliver excellent spring conditions."

Whistler, CanadaWhistler, Canada















Thursday 6th April

Our chief reporter, Jane Peel, is currently in Laax in Switzerland.

She sent this report at the start of the week.


Jane is reporting on The Brits event that is taking place this week as GB's freestylers, pro and amateur alike, battle it out - see here for her latest report.

"There has been dense low cloud for much of the time since the competition started on Tuesday, which has caused a little disruption to the schedule," Jane said on Thursday.

"There was also some rain earlier this week down at base station, which is at 1,100 metres, and a light dusting of snow further up the mountain.  Generally the snow at the higher altitudes is holding up pretty well."

Laax halfpipeLow cloud over the Laax halfpipe
















Elsewhere across the Alps it remains good at altitude in places, but poor lower down.

Our senior reporter, Katie Bamber, has been in Les3Vallées this week.

She has been ski touring and sampling the spring snow.

Going up...Going up...
















Coming down...Coming down...
















See here for Katie's article on ski touring.

"We had spring conditions with some icy pistes first thing but they softened up as the morning wore on. Obviously it was a bit patchy low down but otherwise the pistes were in good condition for the time of year and we had some great skiing across all the resorts," said Katie.

And she skied all the resorts as she took part in this event:














See here for her report on Enduro 17.

Over in North America there are some good conditions after a bumper winter - Aspen in Colorado has just announced it is extending its season as we have reported here.

So, what about the detail?

Our full and detailed snow report below, that was filed on Thursday 6th April comes from Fraser Wilkin at

Snow conditions in the Alps are typical for early April. There is some good skiing to be found, especially at altitude, but many low resorts are now struggling and some have even closed.

The very best snow conditions are in the higher resorts of the western Alps where the most snow has fallen in recent days/weeks.

These include (but are not limited to) Val d'Isère, Tignes, Val Thorens, Val Cenis, Montgenèvre, Sestriere, Cervinia, Monte Rosa, Saas-Fee and Zermatt.

Lots of other resorts are also offering enjoyable skiing, but the lower you are or the less north-facing terrain you have at your disposal, the shorter your window for good quality snow will be during the daily freeze-thaw cycle.

Note also that the freeze-thaw cycle depends on skies being clear and that at this time of year, cloudy nights will often mean soft or mushy conditions right from the word go.

As for the forecast, apart from the odd shower here and there (mostly in the east, there will be lots of fine and generally quite warm weather in the Alps over the next few days, which means that spring-snow conditions will continue to be the order of the day.

Colorado is currently the place to be across the pond, with new snow in many resorts, though attention will shift towards California this weekend where a very potent storm is expected...



Some places will see a little new snow today but, generally speaking, spring-snow conditions apply in Austria, with the higher resorts such as Hintertux (80/210cm) and Obergurgl (20/100cm) offering the most consistent snow quality.

Lower down, snow cover is very patchy, and some areas (such as the Ski Welt) are now closed.

Saalbach has just 40cm left up top, while Alpbach has 60cm. 

Still plenty of snow at altitude in Ischgl – 6 April 2017 – Photo: ischgl.comStill plenty of snow at altitude in Ischgl – 6 April 2017 – Photo:















Snow conditions are generally very good in the higher French resorts though even here slushy lower slopes are evident later in the day.

Val d'Isère (80/195cm) has healthy base depths of 80/195cm, while Courchevel has 70/160cm.

Snow cover is patchier in lower resorts but some enjoyable skiing is still possible in the likes of Châtel (15/40cm) and Valloire (10/110cm), if there has been a good overnight refreeze and you time your runs correctly. 

Great snow conditions in Val Thorens – 6 April 2017 – Photo: valthorens.comGreat snow conditions in Val Thorens – 6 April 2017 – Photo:
















The best snow conditions in Italy are at altitude in the west, where Cervinia still has base depths of 30/200cm and Alagna has 0/220cm.

Generally speaking, however, spring-snow conditions rule and natural snow cover is patchy lower down.

Cortina now has 0/50cm depending on altitude, while Arabba has 20/70cm. 

Superb skiing still possible high up in Cervinia – 6 April 2017 – Photo: cervinia.itSuperb skiing still possible high up in Cervinia – 6 April 2017 – Photo:














As with most other parts of the Alps, you need to aim high for the most consistent snow quality.

In this respect, you cannot beat the upper slopes of Zermatt (0/190cm) and Saas-Fee (20/280cm).

It is still possible to find some enjoyable skiing lower down, but natural snow cover is patchy in the likes of Grindelwald (0/140cm) and Champéry (0/90cm). 

Still looking like winter up top in Saas-Fee – 6 April 2017 – Photo: saas-fee.chStill looking like winter up top in Saas-Fee – 6 April 2017 – Photo:














Rest of Europe

Snow cover is still respectable in the higher Pyrenean resorts, with base depths of 80/150cm in Andorra's Soldeu and 15/270cm in France's Cauterets.

Expect freeze-thaw conditions, however.

Some Norwegian resorts saw a little top-up of snow recently - with 5cm in Geilo, for example, where the upper base is around 70cm deep.

The season is still on hold for Scotland, however, with only a few patches of snow remaining in any of its five main ski areas.

However, colder and snowier weather could return next week, so there is still a glimmer of hope.

Fabulous spring skiing in the high Pyrenees. This is Cauterets – 6 April 2017 – Photo: cauterets.comFabulous spring skiing in the high Pyrenees. This is Cauterets – 6 April 2017 – Photo:















North America



The resorts of western Canada continue to impress, with lots more snow expected in Whistler (356cm upper base) over the next few days.

Further east, Revelstoke won't see as much new snow but is still in good condition for April, with nearly 3m of settled snow at altitude. 

Plenty of snow left in Lake Louise – 6 April 2017 – Photo: skilouise.comPlenty of snow left in Lake Louise – 6 April 2017 – Photo:















Many Colorado resorts saw a significant fall of snow yesterday - with nearly 40cm in Breckenridge where the upper mountain base is still 218cm deep.

Over in California, a big storm cycle is expected to deliver over 1m of new snow to some resorts over the next few days.

Mammoth is currently posting the most impressive figures, claiming 838cm of settled snow on its upper pistes.

For daily weather bulletins  from Fraser then follow it all at

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.

PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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