Welcome, snowfiends, to a bonus Friday-morning Snow Report! Why? Because we want to celebrate the fact that the ski world is taking four big steps towards winter this weekend.
1. Double M opens tomorrow in Tignes
It’s not often that on the second weekend of November you can ski from the Grande Motte glacier all the way back down to resort level in Tignes. But this year it’ll be possible – thanks to the opening tomorrow of the piste Double M to Tignes Val Claret. The resort had up to 50cm of fresh snow on the higher slopes at the start of the week, and low temperatures have helped the snow cannons work hard too. It’s a significant moment. (Tignes will open up more terrain as conditions allow, and then – hopefully – connect with neighbouring Val d’Isere on December 1.)
2. Are, Sweden is opening the VM8 chair tomorrow, too
It’s been a cool and snowy autumn in Scandinavia, as regular followers of our snow reports will know – and further proof comes from Are, Sweden, which is opening its key VM8 lift, along with the Gästrappet piste, on Saturday. It’s the earliest-ever opening of the lift – and the outlook for the rest of the month is promising too, with several passages of cold and snowy weather likely.
3. Lake Louise and Sunshine Village open today in Canada
Canada’s ski season gets going in earnest today, when both Lake Louise and Sunshine Village, in Banff National Park, open for the season. It’s been a cold and snowy autumn there. Sunshine Village already has a settled snowpack 65cm deep and is opening five lifts, with fresh powder on the slopes. Last winter saw record-breaking snowfall in the Banff resorts. It looks as though this winter is starting in the same vein – as you’ll see from the video below…
4. Breckenridge opens today in Colorado
All right, so conditions in Colorado have been sh*tty for a week. Warm, snow-munching weather has limited the amount of terrain that Breckenridge will be able to offer on its opening day, today. But change is on the way – in the form of a storm called Brutus – and snow is in the forecast. It’s likely to be heaviest in Montana and North Dakota, but further south there should be snow too. Fingers crossed it delivers.
Does all of the above mean we’re heading for memorable start to the ski season? Well, it all depends where you are.
In Banff National Park especially the season is off to a cracking start. Parts of Scandinavia are looking good too.
In the American Rockies and California, it’s just a little too early to say. The recent thaw has been a pain in the backside, but the arrival of Brutus is set to change that. The mid-range forecasts suggest there may be another storm system or two lining up behind it as well. Fingers crossed at least one of them delivers. If it does, all will be well in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
And in the Alps? Well, the weather’s never straightforward in the Alps. This autumn, it’s blown hot-cold-hot-cold – serving up regular snowy spells, followed by sharp thaws. The next few days are a case in point. There’s snow in the forecast for the weekend, but today it’s warm with the freezing level in France at 3000m. Next week is going to be mild, too – and some weather models predict an area of high pressure warding off winter storms for several days thereafter.
So don’t bank on an early season like that of 2007, which saw superb skiing even in lower resorts by the end of November. If you’re planning a pre-Christmas trip, play it safe and aim high for now.
And speaking of early-season trips to high-altitude resorts, we note that significant discounts are starting to appear for package holidays to Tignes…
|France: See main report. There was up to 50cm of fresh snow on the glacier above Tignes earlier this week, and Double M is opening, but don’t expect any more big steps towards winter for at least a week after that, because of the mild weather. Meanwhile, 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 196cm of settled snow. In Zermatt, there’s good skiing down to Trockener Steg. The glacier above Engelberg is currently closed for skiing, because of lift maintenance.|
|Austria: There’s been some great skiing on the Austrian glaciers over the last two weeks, and there’s more snow to come this weekend. However, the mild weather expected today and next week will stall preparations for the start of 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 and Stubai glaciers – and above Solden.|
|Italy: Glacier skiing is possible again above Val Senales. Meanwhile, in Cervinia you’ll be able to 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, Keystone Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Copper Mountain and Keystone are all now open, though conditions have been so-so, thanks to the thaw. All eyes are now onto the storm called Brutus, to see what it can deliver.|
|Western Canada: See main report. Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Banff National Park are both opening today, November 9. Conditions are superb, given the time of year.|