Fellow snowfiends, a word of warning; if you’re pining for the white stuff, LOOK AWAY NOW. The latest videos from Sunshine Village and Lake Louise – in Banff National Park, Canada – are going to make you sick with envy.
Both resorts opened on Friday with a powder party. Sunshine Village had the best of it. There was 74cm of cover on its groomed trails according to the resort’s snow report – and dry, light powder everywhere else. Take a look at the video if you can bear it…
South of the border, they’ve got fresh snow too – thanks to a powerful storm called Brutus, which swept through on Friday and Saturday, and walloped resorts as far apart as California and Montana. Snowbird in Utah – which opens on November 17 – had some of the heaviest falls. Yesterday its snow report was boasting of a whopping 127cm of snow from the storm. Meanwhile, Heavenly, above South Lake Tahoe in Califorina, reported 35cm of the white stuff on its upper slopes – to add to the flat-out programme of snowmaking it’s running in preparation for its November 16 opening day. Check out the video below to see how it’s looking.
And what of Europe? Well…as anyone who saw our Snow Report on Friday will know that there were a couple of significant developments at the weekend. First, the Double M piste down to Val Claret in Tignes opened – which is early by the standards of a normal season. Meanwhile, Are, Sweden saw the earliest-ever opening of the central VM8 chairlift, with skiing right down to the lakeside.
But that doesn’t mean we’ve got spectacular start to winter on our hands, yet. After a couple of decent snowfalls at the end of October and the beginning of November, the season has taken a step backwards towards autumn, and we’re facing a thaw. According to Meteo Chamonix the freezing level will be up to 3200m in the western Alps tomorrow, which is well above the top lift in many ski areas. In Lech, in western Austria, they’re expecting a similar jump in temperatures, with the daytime high in resort nudging +13C on Wednesday.
It’s due to cool off a bit after that – but only a bit – and there may be snow at the weekend, at altitude: but it’s too early to be sure, and at the moment the message is clear enough. If you want to ski before Christmas, don’t book any resorts yet that aren’t high-altitude, or don’t have access to a glacier. If you don’t want to wait, you’ll be pleased to know discounted ski holidays in high-altitude resorts such as Tignes have already started appearing (check out our ski deals page for more details).
|France: See main report. The opening of the Double M piste down to Tignes on Saturday seemed like a significant step towards winter. But a powerful thaw is now underway, which is going to halt the march towards winter this week. Still, there’s a decent base now on the Grande Motte glacier, so the skiing there should be good this week. The glacier above Les Deux Alpes is now closed again, after its brief October opening – the resort reopens on December 1.|
|Switzerland: There’s excellent cover on the Swiss glaciers, with Saas-Fee reporting 180cm of settled snow. In Zermatt, there’s skiing down to Trockener Steg. The glacier above Engelberg is currently closed for skiing, because of lift maintenance. It reopens on November 16.|
|Austria: There’s been some great skiing on the Austrian glaciers over the last two weeks, but the thaw will frustrate efforts to prepare for the season lower down. On the Hintertux glacier there’s 105cm of settled snow and 58km of pistes to ski. You can also ski on the Molltal, Pitztal, Kitzsteinhorn, Kaunertal and Stubai glaciers – and above Solden.|
|Italy: Glacier skiing is possible again above Val Senales. Meanwhile, in Cervinia you can now ski the top of the Ventina piste down to Cime Bianche Laghi.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski areas are closed.|
|Western USA: See main report. In Colorado, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Copper Mountain and Keystone are all now open, and in conditions are much improved following a light dusting of snow and a drop in temperatures. As you’ll have seen in our main report, other areas got rather more snow from the storm called Brutus – especially Utah, though Montana did well too. Most resorts here are opening either at the weekend or on Thanksgiving, November 22.|
|Western Canada: See main report. Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Banff National Park are both open and have the best conditions of the resorts we report on. If only we could be there too!|