Snow Report, November 27 | Welove2ski
Snow Report

Snow Report, November 27

Our latest Snow Report marvels at another dump of snow in the Rockies, and moans about the mild weather in the Alps.
Snow Report, November 27 | Welove2ski
Vail, November 24. Photo: © David Milchev
Happy Thanksgiving, Snowfiends! And if you’re lucky enough to be in the American Rockies right now, you’ve certainly got a lot to be thankful for. Since November 10 a series of storm systems have rolled across the mountains and dropped significant amounts of snow across key resorts.

In Vail, Colorado, for example, they’ve had 196cm since the start of winter – most of it in the last three weeks. The latest top-up was on Tuesday, when 23cm fell, and even though the resort has only recently opened, the vaunted Back Bowls are already skiable. Check out Monday’s video below…

More than half of Vail’s terrain is now open.

Meanwhile, in Breckenridge, Colorado, Tuesday’s top-up totalled 30cm, bringing the season total to 234cm. Here’s the latest video

In Utah, it’s been snowing hard too. In Little Cottonwood Canyon, Snowbird was walloped by a three-day storm which started on Saturday night, and dropped 81cm of snow on the slopes. Here’s a rather tasty video to celebrate.

In Wyoming, Jackson Hole reported 53cm of fresh snow yesterday, and 231cm since start of winter. The resort opens for the first time today.

Snow Report, November 27 | Welove2ski
Bryan Iguchi gets a preview of Jackson Hole’s snow, November 28. Photo: Jackson Hole/Facebook

There is one disappointing aspect to the current outlook, however. Temperatures are now on the rise, and may hit +6C at the bottom of the slopes in some resorts. There’ll be breezy westerly wind too, so don’t expect top-to-bottom powder if you’re planning to ski over the next two or three days. The snow’s going to be fairly wet and heavy lower down.

According to local snow guruJoel Gratz there’s more snow to come next week.



We’re still waiting for winter in the Alps

Snow Report, November 27 | Welove2ski
The Grande Motte glacier today. Photo:
I’ve just come back from Tignes in France – skiing on the Grande Motte glacier with British ski school Snoworks. Up high, the snow’s been sensational – soft, cold and grippy – but lower down temperatures have been disconcertingly mild. The snow that fell last week down to resort level has gone scurrying back uphill, and at village level the slopes are greeny-brown, not white. For most of the last week, it’s been much too warm to run the snow cannons, too.

A mild November in the Alps is not exceptional: many will remember November 2011, when the weather was not only warm but sunny, and in many places the Alps were brown from top to bottom. In contrast to that month, November 2014 has at least been snowy at altitude – spectacularly so in places – and given that only glaciers and high-altitude resorts have been open, early-season skiers have had decent, and sometimes superb, conditions.

Snow Report, November 27 | Welove2ski
Plenty of snow at the Plan Maison mid-station above Cervinia, today. Photo:

Over the next two weekends however, the next wave of (lower) resorts is due to open, and there’s no sign yet of a decisive shift towards colder temperatures. As you can see from our snow forecast for the Alps, below, there is some sign of snow to come: but as has been the case for much of the autumn, it’ll only fall at high altitude. Despite a drop in temperature forecast for early next week (for example by Meteo Chamonix), it doesn’t look as though the freezing point will be much below 2000m in either France or Austria.

Snow Report, November 27 | Welove2ski
Welove2ski’s snow forecast for the Alps, November 28.

One sign of the current situation is the fact that Val d’Isere will be having a very muted opening weekend on November 29 and 30. When winter comes early, it will open pretty much all its pistes and connect with Tignes next door. But this time round, only two pistes on the Pisaillas glacier will be open. Meanwhile, Tignes next door will be focusing on the glacier and the pistes immediately below it.

Currently, some mid-range forecasting charts suggest there may be cold and snowy snap around December 7-9. That would be fairly normal for early December: and if it comes, it will transform conditions. But it’s too early to be sure. If you’re planning a pre-Christmas escape, then focus on the highest resorts in the Alps to be safe.

Snow Report, November 27 | Welove2ski
The Pitztal Glacier in Austria this morning. Photo:

Blackcomb Mountain is opening today in Whistler

In western Canada, there hasn’t been quite the rip-roaring start to winter seen in the American Rockies. But on the top half of Whistler’s ski area there has been plenty of snow over the last six days: 72cm in fact. As a result, six lifts will open on Blackcomb Mountain today for the first time. What’s more it looks as though it will cool down at the weekend, with snow forecast right down to resort level.

And finally…

Seen this video??



France flag France: see our main report. The mild weather continues…In Tignes, for example, there’s gorgeous snow on the Grande Motte glacier at the moment, but lower down the snow line has been rising in the warmth, and pebbles are coming through on the surface of the Double M piste. Next door, Val d’Isere opens at the weekend, but with only two pistes open to skiers. In the 3 Valleys, high-altitude Val Thorens opened for the winter on Saturday.
Switzerland flag 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 in mid-November, although the current thaw has affected its quality on all but the highest slopes. Verbier is currently opening at weekends, too.
Austria flag Austria: it’s been mild in Austria too, but that’s fine for now, because there’s lots of high-altitude skiing on offer, 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. All eyes are now on the mid-range weather charts, because a decisive shift to colder conditions is needed in the next couple of weeks to get the lower resorts ready for winter.
Italy flag Italy: early-season conditions have been superb above Cervinia. Here too it’s been warm, although there was a 5cm dusting of snow up high overnight. Meanwhile, above Val Senales in the South Tyrol, eight pistes are currently open for skiing on the glacier. Above Passo Tonale, on the Presena Glacier, three pistes are also open.
Andorra flag Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are currently closed. The Grandvalira ski area, home to Soldeu and Pas de la Casa, has had to postpone its November 29 opening day because of the mild weather.
Western USA flag Western USA: see our main report. The mild autumn in the Rockies is now a fading memory, and the season is off to a memorable start. A wave of resort openings marked the weekend just gone, including both Vail and Aspen, and every other ski resort worth its chairlifts will be going by next weekend too. The only problem is that the latest wave of fresh snow has been followed by a thaw – which has made the snow on the lower slopes humid and heavy.
Western Canada flag Western Canada: Whistler opened on Friday, and has notched up 70cm for fresh snow since then on the top half of the mountain – although it’s been raining lower down. Meanwhile, in Banff National Park, Lake Louise reports 26cm of snow in the past week, which has pepped up conditions after a rather muted start to the season.

About the author

Sean Newsom

As well as founding Welove2ski in June 2007, Sean has written about skiing and snowboarding in the British press for 28 years. For the last 20 of them, he’s also been the ski travel editor at The Sunday Times.

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