What are the snow conditions like in Europe right now?
The winter season of 2023 kicked off with a bang, blessing European ski resorts with abundant snowfall, promising an exhilarating season for skiers and snowboarders alike.
And if you got to the mountains in Europe between the start of the winter season and early January, you probably enjoyed some excellent conditions.
However, as January 2024 rolled in, milder conditions crept upon us, leaving patches of snow cover in its wake. Indeed most of February has been hit or miss to say the least, with some reasonable conditions higher up, but mostly patchy or even sparse snow on lower slopes.
So how does it look in late February into the end of the Winter 2024 season?
Current Conditions and Forecast
Updated 26th Feb 2024.
1. Northern Alps
The Northern Alps have been experiencing fluctuating conditions in recent weeks. While early-season snowfall provided a solid base for skiing and snowboarding, mild temperatures in January have led to some melting and patchy snow cover.
However, there’s good news on the horizon. A series of cold fronts, propelling from the Atlantic, could potentially dust the peaks with a more stable snow foundation. Expect a mix of light and heavy snowfalls, potentially consolidating the base layer and pleasing those in search of powder days. The conditions into early March indicate a potential for significant snowstorms, which could serve as a timely boon for the Alpine regions.
Ski resorts such as Chamonix, Courchevel, and Verbier are expected to see improved conditions, with excellent opportunities for powder skiing and snowboarding.
We’re currently (as of 26th Feb) seeing a consistent dusting of snow across the Northern Alpine resorts, so now is a great time to book a last minute ski break to one of the high and snow sure resorts.
2. Southern Alps
Contrasting its northern counterpart, the Southern Alps have faced a leaner pickings scenario. Sunshine and bluebird days have been a treat for some but have also raised some concerns around snow depth, particularly on south-facing slopes. Italian resorts such as Sauze d’Oulx have been pretty patchy in recent weeks, although the higher sections of Alpe d’Huez and Les Deux Alpes remain well covered.
The forecasts introduce a cautious optimism with sporadic snow showers making an entrance across the Southern Alps. As March arrives, there is potential for these systems to strengthen, specifically targeting the higher elevations.
At present (26th Feb 2024), the forecast is for a solid dump of snow across resorts such as Serre Chevalier, Isola 2000 and Pra Loup. So those looking towards the southern reaches could find some good conditions into March and hopefully towards the end of the Winter 2024 season.
Ski destinations such as St. Anton, Kitzbühel, and Ischgl have enjoyed abundant snowfall so far this season, providing excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts. Despite some milder temperatures in January, many Austrian resorts have maintained solid snow cover, thanks to their high-altitude locations and advanced snowmaking capabilities.
Looking ahead, March promises a return to colder weather, with forecasts indicating significant snowfall across the region. This bodes well for Austrian ski resorts, ensuring optimal conditions for visitors seeking thrilling alpine adventures amidst stunning mountain landscapes.
If you’re looking for a solid Austrian ski holiday, the usual suspects will be a good pick. This means resorts such as Ischgl, St Anton, Solden, Kitzbuhel, Obergurl and the Zillertal valley.
Resorts like Zermatt, Verbier, and Davos Klosters did well during the early-season snowfall, establishing a solid base for winter sports activities. While January brought some warmer weather and occasional rainfall to lower elevations, Swiss ski resorts have largely maintained good snow conditions, particularly at higher altitudes.
Looking forward, March is expected to bring colder temperatures and increased snowfall, rejuvenating ski resorts across Switzerland and offering visitors unparalleled skiing and snowboarding experiences amidst the breathtaking Swiss Alps.
Currently, in late Feb 2024, we’re seeing great conditions in resorts such as Flims-Laax, Verbier, Saas-Fee and Crans Montana, amongst others.
As usual the higher the better, but there are plenty of options out there for some enjoyable and even (at this stage of the season) affordable skiing in Switzerland.
The Pyrenees have experienced a mixed bag of weather patterns this winter. Early snowfall provided a promising start to the season, but mild temperatures in January have led to some deterioration of snow cover at lower elevations.
However, resorts such as Baqueira-Beret and Grandvalira have managed to maintain decent skiing conditions, particularly at higher altitudes.
A plume of moisture-rich air could enhance snowfall totals in the coming weeks, with some periods of intense snowfall expected, particularly around the central and western Pyrenees. A word of caution, however – in the wake of these snowy interludes, clear skies may follow, and the risk of avalanches is likely to increase.
6. Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe has seen a varied winter season, with some regions experiencing ample snowfall, while others have struggled with milder conditions. Resorts in countries like Austria, Slovenia, and Bulgaria have benefited from consistent snow cover, providing excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities for visitors.
However, warmer temperatures in January have impacted snow conditions in parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Like much of the rest of Europe, February is expected to bring colder weather and increased snowfall to the region. So we could see a return to optimal conditions for winter sports enthusiasts across Eastern Europe.
The coming month brings a dynamic shift, potentially favoring snow accumulation in Eastern Europe. A sustained cooling trend with Arctic blasts may drop temperatures significantly, leading to a series of snow events even at lower heights. This could markedly improve conditions heading into the later stages of winter. Skiers and snowboarders should keep an eye on updated forecasts as this region could transform into a winter playground on short notice.
6. The Nordics
Thanks to their more northerly aspect, the Nordics have enjoyed a solid winter season thus far, with resorts in Norway, Sweden, and Finland boasting plentiful snowfall and excellent skiing conditions. The colder climate of the region has helped maintain snow cover, ensuring consistent quality on the slopes.
Ski resorts such as Åre, Trysil, and Levi continue to attract visitors with their pristine pistes and breathtaking scenery.
Looking ahead, February promises more of the same, with cold temperatures and regular snowfall expected to keep Nordic ski resorts in prime condition throughout the remainder of the season.
And March could potentially herald in some of the best skiing conditions of the season, with bouts of heavy snowfall interspersed with clear skies. For those seeking cross-country experiences or backcountry exploration, the forecast is particularly promising.
If you’re looking for snow sure, with zero mushy patches in sight, the Nordics are a safe bet.
The 2023/24 winter season certainly started well, and anyone who got to the slopes so far this year will have had a great experience. Although the mid to end of January has seen some milder conditions, the forecast looks very promising for skiers and snowboarders across Europe.
Keep an eye on those snow forecasts!
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