Autumn may only be half-done in Europe: but already the World Cup season is almost upon this. October 26 – next Saturday – sees the first race, when the women’s giant slalom gets underway on the Rettenbach glacier above Solden, followed by the men’s giant slalom on Sunday.
Here’s a little video to get us all in the mood.
Needless to say, the resort is already brimming with race teams, TV crews and organizers. The skiers took advantage of some fine weather at the weekend to train (Solden’s facebook page has some good pix), and the organizers got out their protractors…
Thanks to the heavy snow in the Austrian Tirol ten days ago – and sunny weather since then – preparations are well in hand. But it looks as though Mother Nature won’t be so cooperative this week. The forecast for the next few days is for mild and – at times – wet weather. That’s not brilliant if you’re trying to prepare a hard, consistent and fast race course – even if it is on a glacier. Fingers crossed they get a few lucky breaks in the days ahead: and that Wednesday doesn’t deliver the rain that’s showing in our weather maps, below!
Still, today (Monday) is a good day for glacier skiing. Here’s how it’s looking today on the Hintertux glacier, above the Zillertal. Check out our country-by-country guide at the end of this report for information on where you can currently ski in the Alps.
Lots of snow in Colorado
In Colorado it’s been an exciting week for snow-watchers, with two moderate-to-heavy autumn storms on Tuesday and Thursday/Friday and another dusting of snow yesterday.
The high-altitude ski areas of Loveland and Arapahoe Basin are both open now, and many resorts scheduled to open in November have been snow-making to add to the natural stuff coating their slopes. This was Breckenridge, last week.
Thanks to heavy snow further south, little Wolf Creek opened for the weekend too – and is planning to do so again on October 26 and 27.
Sadly, it looks as though the weather’s going to calm down in the Rocky Mountains now – and several days of sunny weather are expected: cold at night, but sunny during the day, and warm enough to send the snowline marching back uphill, for now. As Joel Gratz, Colorado’s king of Snowfiends, points out,
“The main action for the rest of October will be in the midwest and east coast with very cold air, and snow falling for many mountains and even low elevation locations.”
In the medium turn, more snow is expected in the Rockies, but it’s not likely to fall until November.
Looking for tips on where to ski at the start of winter? Check out our guide to the best resorts for early-season skiing.
|France: The Grande Motte glacier above Tignes is open once more for skiing, and Les Deux Alpes is opening on October 26 until November 3. Check out the programme of events here.|
|Switzerland: You can ski on the glacier above Zermatt. Saas Fee’s glacier is open too, and the snow report talks of up to 148cm of cover on its pistes.|
|Austria: see our main report. The Austrian glaciers have been in great shape since the heavy snow of October 11. However, conditions are likely to be iffy midweek, with rain in the forecast. 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. Cervinia’s lifts will be open to skiers on October 26-27, before a daily opening from November 1.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are currently closed.|
|Western USA: See our main report. In Colorado, both Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are now open, with Wolf Creek open at the weekend. In Oregon, Timberline Lodge is also open for skiing at weekends. Next up is Copper Mountain, which is expected to open on November 1.|
|Western Canada: Canada’s resorts are currently closed.|