Storm Eleanor has impacted a number of resort openings across France, Austria, Italy and Switzerland, while some fresh snow has been recorded in Norway, as well as further east in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, according to the Ski Club.
Based on current weather forecasts for the next nine days, the top three resorts for expected snowfall are:
Zermatt, Switzerland – 630cm
Macunaga, Italy – 533cm
Saas Fee, Switzerland- 477cm
Since Wednesday afternoon, there has been a big snowfall throughout Austria, which has provided plenty of fresh snow, with more on Thursday.
Obergurgl (114cm/287cm) recorded the largest snowfall so far with as much as 48cm. Other notable recordings were in Serfaus/Fiss/Ladiss (80cm/180cm), Lech & Zurs (135cm/195cm) and Neustift/Stubai (70cm/300cm) which reported 45cm, 35cm and 30cm respectively.
The heavy snow conditions led to the closure of lift operations yesterday in Kaurnertal (192cm/297cm). Additionally, Ischgl (50cm/120cm) is operating limited lift operation, and also closing connections to Samnaun (60/130cm).
Storm Eleanor has delivered extreme weather conditions across the French Alps, with high winds of up to 200kph, mild temperatures and rain falling even at very high altitudes yesterday.
All of these conditions have led to extreme avalanche conditions, impacting lift operations in many resorts, including forcing some to pause operations completely.
Skiing conditions in different resorts have been impacted in different ways: those at lower altitudes have been more heavily impacted by rain, leading to wet and heavy skiing conditions, with rain reported all the way up to 2000m.
Above that, expect severe winds to have blown any loose snow from pistes, leaving exposed icy conditions as well as extreme avalanche risks. In the most extreme cases, roads into and around resorts such as Val Thorens (240/300cm), Tignes (170/270cm) and Les Arcs (155/270cm) are completely inaccessible.
While the storm is expected to ease over the course of the day, poor conditions and safety risks are likely to continue as the mild temperatures remain over the coming days, with significant heavy snow expected to continue until at least Monday January 8.
Though the weather has not been as severe weather in the Southern French Alps or the Pyrenees, even more mild temperatures will continue to impact snow quality.
There has been a large snowfall across Switzerland. Saas Fee (50cm/180cm) had an unprecedented 100cm of snow in the last 24 hours. Andermatt (80cm/330cm) and Films/Laax (55cm/295cm) both had large snowfalls in the last 24hours of 50cm and 40cm respectively.
Heavy snow led to the closure of lift operation for the day in Anzere (60cm/240cm), Nendaz (50cm/150cm) Pomtresina (76/88), Leysin/ Les Mosses (50cm/180cm) and Saas Fee.
Additionally there was limited service in both Samnaun (60cm/130cm) and Adelboden/Lenk (25cm/129cm). There are great skiing conditions in Arosa (90cm/130cm) which has managed to keep all lift operation open and has had fresh 30cm of snow to further freshen up the conditions.
The snow is set to continue with Gstaad (105cm/230cm) and Les Diablerets (40cm/160cm) both forecasting over 10cm by today.
Wet and windy conditions dominate the resorts closest to the Swiss and French borders in the Aosta Valley, including Courmayeur (110/160cm) experiencing potentially moderate snowfalls at altitude but rain in the valleys. At the most extreme, Cervinia (100/220cm) forced to close due to avalanche risks while lift operations are significantly impeded in La Thuile (100/210cm) by snow and rock falls.
Situation also a lot calmer further south, for example around the Via Lattea area, though forecasts show these resorts are also in line for potentially huge snowfalls over the weekend, giving the Milky Way some welcome fresh snow.
Conditions are more consistently below freezing in the Dolomites, where cloud cover has reduced visibility across many resorts, though some such as Cortina (60/110cm) and Kronplatz (25/100cm) have received some fresh snow. Given this, these resorts most likely provide the best skiing available in Italy over the coming few days.
In the Vallnord area, it was a largely sunny start to the day at both Arcalis (100/120cm) and Pal/Arinsal (100/120cm) yesterday, where the slopes remain in good condition and almost all lifts were operating. Today is expected to be another bright day across the resorts, with the current forecast then predicting huge amounts of snow over the coming weekend.
In the Grandvalira area the best conditions can be found on the upper slopes, as the snow lower down has become slightly wet and patchy lately. Yesterday saw temperatures sitting around +6C at mid mountain, but like Vallnord, fresh snow is expected over the weekend.
4cm of fresh snow has fallen at Salen (115cm) in Sweden, where conditions continue to move on an upwards curve. The current weather is snowy and cold, which is likely to continue into the weekend.
Hemsedal (83cm), Norway, recorded 23cm of new snow yesterday. All 20 lifts were running across the resort, offering access to some lovely powder conditions off the groomed trails. Further east, there was 10cm of fresh at Lillehammer (45/100cm).
In Finland the sun shone bright over Levi (70cm) and Yllas (85cm). However, the temperature at both resorts was around -10C; with hard packed pistes the order of the day.
Feldberg (30/100cm) reopened yesterday with 19/38 lifts spinning, after temporarily closing on Wednesday due to inclement weather. Snow on the lower slopes is heavy due to rain, but up high some good turns are still available. At Garmisch (35/280cm) 20cm of fresh snow has fallen at Zugspitze, where there are some good pockets of powder.
The freezing level is expected to be above 2,000m over the next couple of days, but there continues to be the possibility of some rain for most areas. Respite should come over the weekend, when plenty of sun is forecast across our featured resorts.
In Bulgaria it was cloudy and snowy across our three featured resorts. Visibility up high was somewhat limited at Bansko (20/160cm), where conditions remain best around the top station at Todorka. In the Czech Republic, there has been 15cm of fresh snow at Spindleruv Mlyn (40/70cm) in the last 24 hours, whilst in Romania a couple of centimetres of fresh snow was expected at Poiana Brasov (20/40cm) yesterday.
Conditions at Cairngorm (15/30cm) have continued to improve thanks to the fresh snow that has fallen lately, as well as the work done by the new snow factory; pushing manmade snow into the beginners area. At Glencoe (40/50cm) visibility was poor yesterday morning, but some of the wet snow of Wednesday has firmed up overnight, and conditions are good on the groomed trails.
The Lecht (30/40cm) was experiencing light winds and the chance of snowfall on Thursday, whilst at Nevis Range (30/40cm) some of the sticky snow around the Goose will have improved overnight. Those heading out in the morning will be able to enjoy some great riding before the weather clouds over in the afternoon.
Stormy conditions continue to dominate the North East, with a severe low pressure system delivering record low temperatures across the region. Resorts across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are predicted temperatures that could well drop below -10C, accompanied by moderate to heavy snowfall.
This ongoing period of severe weather has undoubtedly made the East Coast skiing options some of the best in the USA currently. Stowe (61/122cm) in particular is offering some excellent conditions thanks to ongoing snowfall.
Unfortunately, in contrast the clear skies that have become a fixture over the central Rockies continue, though at least with the temperatures slightly less mild that has been seen previously. Luckily this looks to change, abate briefly on Saturday where some new snow should fall, hopefully refreshing the pistes.
Similarly mild conditions dominate California, with the risk of rain around Lake Tahoe, with it now hitting the two week marker without fresh snow. Among other resorts, Alyeska (208cm) continues to see substantial fresh snow, with 60cm falling over the past 60cm 48 hours, with clear skies offering some great skiing opportunities for those prepared to venture up north.
It has been a relatively quiet period weather wise in Canada, with plenty of sunshine in most of our featured resorts resorts, but bitterly cold, with both Mont Sainte Anne (50cm/148cm) and Tremblant (60cm) both reading as low as -24C, so best to wrap up warmly.
Tremblant also had the biggest amount of snow in the last few days, with 17cm of fresh. The additional snow in Tremblant has helped freshen up the pistes, and provide great skiing conditions. Mont Sainte-Anne also had a dusting of around 8cm overnight to help improve the snow conditions.
As we head into the weekend more snow will be on the way, with Whistler (180cm) forecasting 43cm of snow by Sunday January 7, which will provide fantastic powder skiing, in what is already the place to ski in Canada so far this season.
Conditions in Japan are somewhat calmer than in previous weeks. Hakuba (90/260cm) saw heavy snowfall on Wednesday, while yesterday was a calm day; with Niseko having not seen substantial snowfall since Saturday December 30, uncharacteristic for the resort.
Skiing conditions are not really impeded however, with light winds and good visibility allowing riders to take advantage of the snow that has fallen already in the season. The next substantial snowfall is looking to arrive on the coming Monday or Tuesday.