It’s been an exciting end to autumn, Snowfiends. We’ve had fresh snow in the Alps – and in the east it’s been heavy at times. There’s more to come over the next three days, too.
Meanwhile, in the Rockies, the mainstream resorts have started firing up their lifts – and there too Mother Nature has lent a helping hand…
A steady stream of snowstorms in the Alps
Did you see our snow forecast for the Alps this morning? It’s going to be a snowy start to the week in the Alps, especially in the west. On their upper slopes, some French resorts could see half a metre of the white stuff over the next couple of days.
Here’s the map for today.
And the map for tomorrow…
According to the Meteo Chamonix, the snow could fall down to 1200m at times and the wind is likely to strengthen considerably during the course of the day.
On Thursday temperatures are likely to rise again – in the short term at least. After that, the mid-range weather models are predicting wildly different outcomes. Some predict mild, stable weather in the Alps. Others are calling for a quick return to snowstorms.
Needless to say, the whole ski industry will be watching these charts closely, because they’ll have a significant impact on the early ski season in the Alps. November can be both dry and mild, and only a handful of ski resorts without glaciers plan to open before the last weekend of the month: Obergurgl in Austria will be one of the first when it starts spinning its lifts on November 14. However, if it does stay cold and snowy for the next couple of weeks, we could see a rerun of 2007, when there was a flood of early openings, especially in Austria.
Here’s a brief survey of webcam and Facebook shots from the region.
In North America, Phase 2 of the ski season is at hand
We’ve had the race between the high-altitude ski areas of Loveland and Arapahoe to be the first in Colorado to open. We’ve seen a few other lucky areas spin their lifts too. But now, things are getting serious. Phase 2 of the ski season is upon us, as more mainstream resorts in the west open for the season.
Friday saw Keystone and Copper Mountain in Colorado open for the season, along with Norquay in Banff National Park, in Canada. November 8 will see the opening of Breckenridge in Colorado, as well as Lake Louise and Sunshine Village near Banff. Thereafter, there’s a fortnight’s break – and then comes a great avalanche of resort openings as the industry readies itself for Thanksgiving holidaymakers.
Just as in the Alps, the weather can be flukey across the American and Canadian west in November: but the general pattern is colder and snowier, and this year the outlook is promising. There was fresh snow in many resorts last week, with more to come. In Colorado, for example, snow guru Joel Gatz is calling for up to 15cm of snow on Monday night.
And here’s how it was looking in Copper Mountain, which claimed 20cm of fresh snow over the course of its opening weekend.
Meanwhile, here’s how it looked yesterday evening in Lake Louise, with top-to-bottom snow across the ski area.
There’s been plenty of fresh snow across Utah too. No resorts are open there, yet, but a lot of skiers are hiking to get their first turns of the season, and the local avalanche service has been telling them to take care. Here’s its latest safety video – and check out the powder on the upper slopes! In Utah, Snowbird is slated to open on November 20, and The Canyons on November 29. Those dates could change if the snowy trend continues.
|France: The Grande Motte glacier above Tignes is open once more for skiing – and should stay that way right through to the opening of the entire ski area (scheduled for November 30). The glacier above Les Deux Alpes has now closed again, after its winter preview: the resort reopens full-time from November 30.|
|Switzerland: You can ski on the glaciers above Zermatt and Saas Fee’s glacier. Saas-Fee’s snow report talks of up to 155cm of cover on its pistes. Engelberg’s glacier is closed until November 15.|
|Austria: see our main report. The Austrian glaciers are in fantastic condition at the moment. You can currently ski on the Hintertux, Stubai, Rettenbach, Kaunertal, Pitztal, Molltal and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers. On the Hintertux glacier, the snow report records cover, on-piste, up to 135cm deep.|
|Italy: the glacier above the Val Senales/Schalstal in the South Tyrol is now open for skiing. The lifts above Cervinia are also running full time, offering access to the glacier above Zermatt.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are currently closed.|
|Western USA: See our main report. In Colorado, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are among several resorts now open. Breckenridge opens on November 8.|
|Western Canada: Norquay in Banff National Park opened on Friday, with a limited offering of terrain. It will be joined on Friday November 8 by its near-neighbours, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village.|