What a wonderful thing is altitude. Throughout this mild and quite sunny week (as in the previous week), altitude has been the key to good skiing conditions - wherever in the Alps you looked. Sunshine also mattered, of course; powdery snow was to be found pretty well exclusively on north- facing slopes, and the only resort-level runs worth risking your skis on skiing were those shaded by mountains or trees.

There was some snow early in the week in most French and Italian resorts, and in some Swiss ones, but not it was enough to have any impact on conditions: to find good skiing this week, you had to find slopes where February's snow is still lasting well.

As I write, on Friday morning, there is wet snow falling here in Klosters, following a dusting overnight; but the forecast doesn't encourage hopes for the decent dump of snow that would be very welcome in most parts of the Alps as Easter approaches. The Pyrenees continue to offer Europe's best all-round conditions, with good snow depths and rather lower temperatures than in the Alps. Meanwhile, winter still rules in north America: Colorado and Utah resorts offer low temperatures and good conditions after snowfalls early in the week, and more fresh snow was expected this weekend in both the east and west of the Continent - giving a welcome boost to Whistler/Blackcomb, in particular, and to the New England resorts.

Chris Gill