You can’t help feeling the mainstream season has just moved a step closer. Over the last week, we’ve seen more snow in the Alps…
…as well as the opening of the glacier at Les Deux Alpes for its half-term winter preview…
…and the first races of the World Cup season, on the Rettenbach glacier in Solden. The giant slalom races were won by Switzerland’s Lara Gut and France’s Alexis Pinturault – both of whom were in dominant form.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Arapahoe Basin won the race to be the first Colorado resort to open for the new season. Admittedly only one trail was skiable, when the lifts started spinning on October 21. But ‘twas ever thus: everyone knows we’re still a storm or two away from winter in this part of the world.
Further north, however, things are looking snowier. Pictured below is the snow-making at Lake Louise in Banff National Park last week. This was on the top half of the mountain: the lower runs are still grassy.
There was also heavy snow on the top half of Whistler last week – dumping 75cm on the highest slopes.
But remember: this is autumn, not winter
Despite all the excitement, we haven’t hit winter yet – and just to prove the point the weather in the Alps is going to be mild all week. Tomorrow in particular will be wet and warm, with rain falling above 3000m in both Austria and France – which means even the glaciers will get a dousing. Skies will clear towards the end of the week, but it will stay mild.
There are suggestions in the mid-range forecasts that November 3 will see the start of a much colder spell, which could last several days: but it’s too soon to be certain of it.
Here’s how it was looking Tignes today. Up on the glacier there’s skiing, and on the Double M piste, back down to Val Claret you can see they’ve started snow-making. They’ll probably have to hold fire now for a few days until the next thaw is done.
In other words, keep sacrificing the chickens. And if you’re thinking of a pre-Christmas trip, check out my guide to the best resorts for early-season skiing.
|France: as is usual in October, we’re getting very mixed messages about the approach of winter. Now the signal is “Stop” as mild air engulfs the region, accompanied by rain. Hopefully, the colder spell predicted by some of the mid-range forecasts for next week will get get things moving again. Skiing is currently possible on the glacier above Tignes, and you can ski in Les Deux Alpes until November 1.|
|Switzerland: the glaciers above Zermatt and Saas-Fee are both open. The snow on the Allalin glacier in Saas-Fee, is now up to 160cm deep. Weather permitting, the glacier above Engelberg will open two pistes for skiing on October 26.|
|Austria: skiing is currently on offer on the Hintertux, Pitztal, Molltaler, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn, Rettenbach and Kaunertal glaciers. Currently, the cover on the Hintertux is up to 75cm deep.|
|Italy: The glacier above Val Senales is now open for skiing. Meanwhile, there was skiing above Cervinia at the weekend and the lifts will start running continuously from October 29.|
|Andorra: no skiing is currently on offer in Andorra.|
|Western USA: In Colorado, A-Basin is now open for (limited) skiing, with Loveland expected to open this week. However, it will be a mild week in the American Rockies.|
|Western Canada:There’s no skiing on offer in the Canadian resorts at the moment, though there was heavy snow at the top of Whistler last week. It’s planning to open on November 24. In Banff National Park, Lake Louise is hoping to open on November 10.|