27 April 2019 from Danielle in Mountain weather

Snow, snow and more snow! It's been one heck of a ski season this winter, with January breaking one snow record after another.  After a warm and dry start to the season in most ski resorts, Austria was blessed with 7 metres of snow in just 7 days! France, Switzerland, Andorra and Italy eventually got their share of snow as well. Did you go skiing this year? Did you get lucky with the snow conditions? Join us as we reminisce once more about the ski season before admitting defeat for the summer!

Snowing as early as August

Anyone who watched the alpine weather forecast as eagerly as we did last summer will remember the first snowfall of the season back in August. Another couple of snowfalls and the higher-altitude pistes were snowy white and set to go for the winter season, although slopes below 2000m and 2500m were at altitudes too low to capture much snow. At the end of October, Sölden-Hochsölden was forced to cancel its World Cup races on one of the two competition days because of an unexpected dump of 50cm of fresh powder. By early November when the Snowplaza team visited Sölden, skiing conditions on the glacier were top-notch (although in the valley it was still autumn). November and December saw occasional snowfalls, providing a solid base for the ski season in many resorts. 

Pistes Sölden
Beginning of November in Sölden: perfect snow conditions 

Perfect Christmas holidays

The northern Alps received plenty of snow right before the Christmas holidays, and who can forget the wave of fresh snow that swept the French Alps shortly afterward and caused multiple avalanches, including one at La Plagne where a very lucky 12-year-old boy was rescued from under the snow after almost an hour? But that snow didn't last long, with skies soon clearing. The French Alps would suffer from icy slopes and no fresh snow for a good while after that. Meanwhile, in Austria...

Austria: have you ever seen this much snow?!

January broke snow records, with elderly locals in the villages saying they had never seen so much snow. Skiers and snowboarders watched in disbelief as one snowfall after another fell in the Austrian Alps. It was no longer a question of how many feet, but rather how many metres! As an example, Hochfilzen, in the Pillersee Valley, received 451cm of snow during the first two weeks of January, something that was unheard of in the last century. Dedicated staff in the Austrian ski resorts spent 24 000 hours and 34 000 tons of salt to clear the roads. In fact, there was SO much snow that it caused road closures and even ski area closures, with some disgruntled skiers and snowboarders being trapped in the chalet all holiday due to the avalanche danger. France and Switzerland watched jealously as most of the snow headed towards Austria. Despite the massive mess caused by the snow, anyone who was in the Austrian Alps during this time will agree it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience - especially for those who were lucky enough to ski in the powder!

Snow-covered chalet
January saw insane amounts of snow fall in Austria

Skies clear in February

France and Switzerland finally did get their fair share of powder, as did Andorra, although the snowfall in these countries was nothing compared with the snowfall in Austria. In February after a few small snowfalls the skies mostly cleared, leaving bluebird conditions on the higher slopes and warmer weather down below. Some low-altitude ski areas saw a few days of rain in the valleys but by most accounts, February was a great month to go skiing. Scotland also had some great skiing this month.

wintersportterras
Shedding layers on the mountain terrace in spring

Fresh snow in early March and a surprise snowfall in April

The second week of March brought another dump of powder to the French and Austrian Alps, followed by several weeks of sunny conditions. Temperatures ranged from far below zero degrees on the slopes to up to 23 degrees in the valleys! Depending on the day, you could either ski in a t-shirt or huddle by the fire clutching a mug of mulled wine. Just when it looked like ski season was over and Mother Nature was gearing up for full-blown spring, the beginning of April brought a surprise snowfall, bringing another metre of powder to delighted ski resorts in France, Switzerland and Italy. 

Skier in powder snow
Livigno, April 4, 2019: skiing in fresh snow

Overview: the 2018/19 ski season

It was a bizarre winter and one for the record books. From one week to the next, conditions ranged from warm to icy to snowy! Apart from the year-round glacier ski areas, the 2018/19 winter ski season is now over. You can continue to monitor the weather conditions in your favourite ski resorts by navigating to the resort page and clicking the "snow forecast" tab - or go to the general snow forecast page to get an overview of conditions in the Alps. And don't worry, we're just as excited as you are for next year's ski season to start! We'll keep you posted as soon as the powder starts falling. Have a fantastic summer!

Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!

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