Blimey, Snowfiends, it’s hard to know where to begin. There are so many reasons to be cheerful this morning. Here are eight, for starters.
1. Look at tomorrow’s snow forecast
The weather for the end of the week has been hard to predict, and for a while our Snow Forecast for the Alps was calling for a truly epic storm, which would bring over a metre of snow in 24hrs to parts of the Italian Alps. Sadly, the colours on the maps have now faded from purple to yellow: but all the same it’s pretty certain there will be heavy snow, especially in the south-west of the region. Half a metre – maybe more – is expected in parts of Italy tomorow, and it’s likely to affect Swiss and French resorts along the border too. Val d’Isere, for example, is likely to benefit. Saas-Fee should get a pounding too.
2. You can already ski back to resort level in Tignes
Did you see all the snow that fell in Tignes on Sunday? Over half a metre came from the weekend storm, and the resort was quick to react, opening the sumptuous Double M piste down to Tignes Val Claret on Monday. It wasn’t just the piste skiers who were able to ski back into town. There was powder too, as you’ll see from this amazing video shot on Monday by Big Mountain Adventures. And just in case you were wondering, off-piste skiing like this on November 11 is not normal…
3. Obergurgl in Austria is opening today
As you’ll have seen from Monday’s Snow Report, Verbier may already be running its lifts at weekends. But Obergurgl will today become the first big resort without a glacier to open on a daily basis. Here’s the preview video: it’s a bit heavy on the German, but you don’t need a translation to check out the snow…
13 lifts are in operation today. It’s a tad warm on the slopes – at +3C, but there is light-to-moderate snowfall in the forecast, and the cover on the pistes is already up to 55cm deep.
4. Verbier is opening more terrain this weekend
Verbier spun its lifts for the first time last weekend, but had only one piste open, the Lac des Vaux. Nevertheless, thanks to all the excitement about the recent snow, 1,500 people turned up to ski it. Since then, cold weather has allowed the snow cannons to run, and a second piste is scheduled to open on the front side of the Attelas, down to Les Ruinettes, at 2200m. Pictured, below, is the view from the top of the Attelas today, as the weather begins to change. Snow is expected here this evening.
5. From today, you’ll be able to ski the Ventina in Cervinia
Thanks to the recent run of snow in the Alps, Cervinia is today opening part of its celebrated Ventina run – red 7 on the piste maps. It’s a lovely descent, set amidst gob-smacking scenery, and you’ll be able to ski it from the Plateau Rosa to Cime Bianche Laghi at 2,812 m. The lifts are now running on a daily basis in Cervinia, and you can use them to ski over into neighbouring Zermatt too – where there’s skiing down to Trockener Steg, at 2,939m.
Pictured below is the Matterhorn today, seen from the Swiss side of the border.
6. Whistler is opening early, on Saturday
There’s been snow in western Canada too – enough to convince the Daddy of the local ski scene, Whistler, to open early for the season on Saturday. And right on cue, the weather is about to get wintry again, with snow flurries on Friday followed by a sharp drop in temperature as a front moves down from the north. On the top half of the mountain, a high of -12C is expected on Saturday.
It’s been wintry in Canadian Rockies too, where Sunshine Village is due to open tomorrow. Pictured below is the rather lovely view across the valley at neighbouring Lake Louise yesterday. The lifts have been spinning at Lake Louise since November 8.
7. Sunday should be a powder day in Colorado
Many resorts in the American west are waiting until the day before Thanksgiving (ie November 27) to open, but in Colorado, there’s already a range of ski areas to choose from. The forecast there this weekend is promising, to say the least. Local weather supremo Joel Gratz reckons there will be two separate snowstorms, with the one on Saturday night being the heaviest. Up to 20cm is forecast.
8. It looks like more snow is heading to the Alps next week
It’s too far out to be certain yet…but there’s a general consensus amongst mid-range weather models that next week will see more snow in the Alps. It’s a complicated picture, but it looks as though areas of low pressure will approach from both south and north, bringing mild, wet air to the region first, and then much more wintry conditions on Wednesday. Lower resorts in Italy could see a lot of rain at first, with heavy snow higher up. After that, the white stuff should become more widespread, and fall at much lower elevations, too.
There could yet be significant changes to the details of this forecast, but at the very least a cold snap is on the cards.
|France: The Grande Motte glacier above Tignes is open for skiing – and thanks to heavy snow on November 10 you can now ski all the way back down to Val Claret on the Double M piste. Meanwhile, above Les Deux Alpes the glacier has now closed again after its winter preview: the resort reopens full-time from November 30. In the Three Valleys, the first pistes at Val Thorens open on November 21.|
|Switzerland: You can ski on the glaciers above Zermatt and Saas Fee. Saas-Fee’s snow report talks of up to 220cm of cover on its pistes – and there should be a lot more up there by Saturday. Engelberg’s glacier is closed until November 15. Meanwhile, Verbier will be opening every weekend until the start of the mainstream season.|
|Austria: the mainstream ski season in Austria is underway – thanks to the opening of Obergurgl today, November 14. There’s also good skiing on offer on the Austrian glaciers: although the weather won’t be great for the next couple of days. You can currently ski on the Hintertux, Stubai, Rettenbach, Kaunertal, Pitztal, Molltal and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers.|
|Italy: the glacier above the Val Senales/Schalstal in the South Tyrol is open for skiing, and the lifts above Cervinia are also running full time, offering access to the glacier above Zermatt, and now the celebrated Ventina piste as well.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are currently closed.|
|Western USA: In Colorado, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland and Breckenridge are among several resorts now open. In California, the first lifts are running on Mammoth Mountain, too.|
|Western Canada: Norquay and Lake Louise in Banff National Park are now open for skiing, and will be joined by Sunshine village tomorrow. Whistler opens on Saturday.|