October’s got off to a cracking start in Austria’s glacier ski areas. Some had 30cm of fresh snow at the weekend, and more has fallen since. As I write, it’s still snowing hard in places.
No-one’s quite sure what the totals now are, but on the Hintertux glacier, they’ve probably had half a metre of new snow since the start of the weekend. Further west, on the Pitztal Glacier, they reckon on 40cm, and on the Stubai glacier, south of Innsbruck, it’s more like 35cm. Weather permitting, all are currently open for skiing, so there will be a lot of Austrians straining at the leash to get up to them once the skies clear.
Here’s how it’s looking at the top of the Pitztal Glacier this afternoon.
Pictured below is the whiteout on the Stubai Glacier. As I said, it’s been snowing hard…
Snow has been falling elsewhere in the central and eastern Alps, but not in quite the same quantities. This was the top lift station in Saas-Fee in Switzerland this afternoon.
And here’s a dusting of snow in the Italian Dolomites, above the resort of Canazei.
By the end of the week, temperatures will have risen again in the Alps – as warm air is dragged up from the south. In Austria, the daytime freezing point could be up to 3800m on Friday – but it’ll stay colder for longer in the south-western Alps, where more snow is expected. Check out the bright colours on our snow forecast for Thursday: there could be 50cm in the resorts south of Grenoble.
As I said yesterday, this is not the start of winter. Heavy snowfall in October is quite normal in the Alps and is usually followed by a sharp thaw. But all the same, anyone planning a pre-season trip to the glaciers will be glad of the new cover, which is bound to bring the opening of more pistes.
Meanwhile in North America…
Each year in Colorado the high-altitude resorts of Loveland and Arapahoe Basin race to be the first in the state to open for winter. They usually get going with only one or two pistes, and a skiing surface made up largely of snow-cannon snow: but still – with excitement building for the winter ahead, they capture everyone’s attention for a couple of weeks, and 2016 is no exception.
This October, they’ve both got off to a great start – firing up the snow cannons last week. On Friday, A-Basin reckoned it had made about half the snow necessary to cover its first trail. But it’s been too mild since then to run the cannons, and snow-making is currently on hold – despite a rather wet and mushy contribution from Mother Nature last night.
|France: Skiing has restarted on the glacier above Tignes – but it has missed out on the heavy snow falling in Austria. Above Les Deux Alpes there’ll be skiing on the glacier between October 22 and November 1.|
|Switzerland: the glaciers above Zermatt and Saas-Fee are both open. In Saas-Fee, the snow is up to 135cm deep. The glacier above Engelberg will be opening soon, too.|
|Austria: skiing is currently on offer on the Hintertux, Pitztal, Molltaler, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn, Rettenbach and Kaunertal glaciers. All have benefitted from fresh snow in the last four days.|
|Italy: Cervinia will open for skiing over the weekend of October 22-23, and for the season from October 29.|
|Andorra: no skiing is currently on offer in Andorra.|
|Western USA: snow-conditions permitting, ski weekends are currently on offer at Timberline Lodge in Oregon. Meanwhile, in Colorado, the race between A-Basin and Loveland is now on, although mild weather had put a temporary stop to snow-making in both resorts.|
|Western Canada:There’s no skiing on offer in the Canadian resorts at the moment, though the forecast is for some snow this week. In the Rockies, Lake Louise is hoping to open on November 10.|