Suddenly, November has gone all snowy. We’ve had more heavy falls in the high Alps over the weekend, and this time some of the white stuff has settled down to 1400m, too. Meanwhile, in the American Rockies, conditions have been transformed by a series of storms which have, in places, dropped over a metre of snow in week.
There’s still more snow to come in the Alps
Anyone who’s seen our snow reports of November 13 and November 10 will know how much snow has fallen in the the high Alps over the last ten days. In particular, the high ridge separating western Switzerland and Italy has been walloped. Last Friday, Saas-Fee in Switzerland was reporting 1.5m of new snow in just over a week. Meanwhile, the Plan Maison mid-station in Cervinia – which was virtually snowless a fortnight ago – now has settled cover of 155cm on its pistes.
Pictured below was how Cervinia looked this morning. Clearly, it’ll be tough going up there today. But the next time the skies clear – WOW.
There’s been snow elsewhere too – although not in quite the same quantities. As a result, all the glaciers and ski areas currently open offer good or excellent skiing. For example, pictured below was the scene yesterday on the upper slopes of Obergurgl in Austria, which opened for the season on November 13, and had a top-up of the white stuff at the weekend. Note all the lines, off-piste. The settled cover, on-piste, is up to 70cm deep. That’s by no means exceptional for mid-November, but it’s a good start.
Meanwhile, below is how it was looking this morning on the Pitztal Glacier in Austria this morning, where there was 25cm of new snow over the weekend. Here, the settled cover is up to 105cm deep, on piste.
Pictured, below, is the snowpark on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier on Friday. There’s been less snow here in the last week than they’ve seen further west, but tomorrow should see a welcome top-up.
Conditions will improve still further over the next couple of days. Below, is today’s snow forecast for the Alps, which is predicting snow right across the region. More snow is expected tomorrow, too – especially in Austria.
One feature of the latest dumps has been the fact that the snow has settled much lower down than in recent storms. Pictured below was the Val d’Ayas, beneath the Monterosa massif in Italy yesterday.
Meanwhile this was the scene at 1900m, above Serre Chevalier this morning.
Pictured below was Tignes this morning.
That trend is set to continue for the next couple of days, before skies clear and the temperature starts to rise again. By the weekend, in France, French forecaster Meteo Chamonix reckons the freezing level could be up to 3200m again. The mid-range weather charts are suggesting more snow for the end of next week, but it’s too early to be sure of that. To be on the safe side, make sure there’s plenty of altitude in your plans if you fancy skiing before Christmas. Our guide to the best resorts for early-season skiing has plenty of suggestions about where to go.
Winter roars into life in Colorado
The mild weather that characterised October and early November in Colorado has just been blasted away by a week of moderate to heavy snowfall, which has left smiles a mile wild across the locals’ faces. Local forecaster Joel Gratz reckons some resorts have had up to a month’s of snow in seven days.
Breckenridge opened for the season on Friday, and reported 50cm of new snow on the upper slopes over the weekend and 134cm since the cycle of storms began.
Meanwhile, pictured below was Keystone, nearby, which had 27cm of new snow overnight on Saturday.
And this was Copper Mountain yesterday.
The immediate outlook now is mainly dry, but fairly cool, with the chance of more snow at the weekend.
There’s been snow in Utah too: this was how Snowbird was looking on Saturday. The resort is due to open next weekend.
The season is underway in Canada, too
The season is underway in the Canadian Rockies. Pictured above was Lake Louise in Banff National Park on its opening day, November 13. Its neighbour, Sunshine Village, opened a day later on November 14. Both could do with a decent dump of snow to really kick-start their winters – and next weekend Mother Nature looks as though it might deliver.
|France: above Tignes, the Grande Motte glacier is open for skiing, weather permitting, and as you’ll see from our main report, conditions are pretty good whenever skies clear. Pistes lower down will be opening up as the month progresses, and on November 29, the links with neighbouring Val d’Isere should be opening too. Meanwhile, in the 3 Valleys, high-altitude Val Thorens is due to open next Saturday, on November 22.|
|Switzerland: weather permitting, four glaciers are currently open for skiing in Switzerland – above Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Engelberg and Les Diablerets. Snow cover at altitude above Zermatt and Saas-Fee is exceptional in the wake of the heavy snow over the last 10 days. Verbier is currently opening at weekends, too.|
|Austria: most Austrian resorts currently open have had top-ups of snow over the last ten days. The dumps here haven’t been a match for those seen on Cervinia, Zermatt and Saas-Fee, but at altitude conditions are pretty good all the same. They’ll be even better after tomorrow’s expected snowfall. You can currently ski at Obergurgl, as well as on the Hintertux, Stubai, Molltal, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Rettenbach and Kitzsteinhorn glaciers. On the Hintertux glacier, 40km of pistes are now open, and the snow is up to 185cm deep.|
|Italy: there’s a lot of cold powdery snow above the Plan Maison mid-station at Cervinia. More snow if falling right now, too. Meanwhile, above Val Senales in the South Tyrol, eight pistes are currently open for skiing on the glacier. Today it looks as though the Italian Dolomites will be seeing significant amounts of new snow, although there’s no lift-serviced skiing on offer there yet.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are currently closed.|
|Western USA: see our main report. In Colorado, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Keystone, Copper and Breckenridge are all open, and conditions are vastly improved in the wake of last week’s snow.|
|Western Canada: in western Canada, Whistler has had several dumps of snow at altitude, although the resort isn’t due to open until November 27. In Banff National Park, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village are both now open for the start of their winter seasons.|