When’s the best snow in Europe for skiing?

If you’re searching for information on when is the best snow in Europe for skiing, also consider improving your chances of guaranteed snow by looking at resorts at the highest altitudes.  You might also want to check out our post…  5 Best French Ski Resorts with Guaranteed Snow

Unless you are going to an area of really high altitude or glacier skiing, you’re going to want to know that you have a reasonable chance of good snow conditions before you book your skiing holiday.

It isn’t just altitude which dictates the likelihood of pristine pistes. The geographic location of your resort will have an effect. For example resorts on the edge of north-western Alps enjoy heavier snow falls than resorts set deeper in the Alps. Areas of high rainfall will also affect snow retention.

Heavy snowfalls rarely fall on the whole mountain range. It is more likely that a heavy fall on the north side will accompany a dry spell on the south side.

Most European resorts do have efficient snow machines which are used to great effect to prolong the season. The best resorts ‘groom’ their slopes to make the most of the snow and keep conditions good.

Here is a month by month guide on what you can expect based on the past

Most European resorts open in December. However, enough snow for really good slopes is cannot be relied upon before Christmas. If you want to ski in Europe before Christmas, aim for a resort at a high altitude.

Conditions can be perfect in January which is the coldest month but sometimes the resorts are still building up the base of the lower pistes. Resorts with rocky slopes such as Zermatt need more snow to make their slopes skiable.

When’s the best snow in Europe for skiing?

Best Snow in Europe for Skiing

February usually offer prime skiing conditions. The base has had time to build up and the sun is not yet strong enough to melt the snow.

In March the slopes are usually in great shape even though the days are getting longer. However, in years of low snow fall, southern facing lower slopes can become thin. Warm sunny periods can reduce the quality of the snow especially in the afternoon. Cold temperatures at night improve the snow quality for the next day.

April is very unpredictable in Europe. Warm and sunny days can sometimes change with Polar air bringing fresh snow falls. These can quickly melt on the low altitude slopes if the base has already gone. However, at higher altitudes the conditions can be perfect.

Most European resorts close in early May.

 Tricks of the Trade

 Published snowfall and depth figures should be treated with a pinch of salt. Obviously, the resorts want to attract visitors and figures published by local tourist offices are unregulated. They may measure the snow depth at different points on the slopes and publish the best or even measure the snow where it is banked up.

Historic figures are unreliable too. Some resorts measurements are an average for the year, some include data from December to March. Some areas have 30 years of measurements, other areas may only have 10 years of data.

You would think that webcams would be the ideal way to check conditions. However, beware the webcam which is not updated; or webcams only showing only the highest slopes.

 When’s the best snow in Europe for Skiing (Posted by Springwood Gatwick)

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