Latest snow report
Updated: 12pm Friday 6 November 2015
It has been a very mild few days in the Alps, and is set to get warmer still over the weekend and into the first part of next week, with freezing levels reaching 4200m!
Snow conditions remain very good on the glaciers, but much of the lower lying snow from the October storms has now melted and winter proper now seems a long way away.
Looking a bit further ahead, this mostly sunny and unusually warm weather is set to last for at least the next 10 days. After that there are tentative signs of a change to something more wintry, but this is a long way off, so we shouldn’t get too excited just yet.
Meanwhile, across the pond, the news is rather more encouraging with recent snowfalls in just about all western US and Canadian resorts.
It’s too early to say that they are going to enjoy a bumper early season, but it’s a good start, with Mammoth (desperate for a big season after a run of dry winters) opening earlier than scheduled last Thursday, albeit in a limited capacity.
All eight of Austria’s glacier resorts are open and skiing nicely, with the most extensive terrain in Hintertux (110cm upper base), Sölden (76cm upper base) and Stubai (80cm upper base), all of which are offering at least 30km of pistes.
Non-glacial Obergurgl is scheduled to join the action on 12 November, but there is very little natural snow below 2500m, and winter still seems a long way off.
Les 2 Alpes has now closed again for the season after its half term preview week, leaving Tignes (60cm upper base) as the only resort offering any lift-served skiing in the French Alps right now. Conditions on the glacier are good, but it has been too warm to open the famous Double M run back to resort (sometimes possible at this time of year).
Val Thorens is scheduled to open on 21 November, but more snow is needed to ensure this will happen as the recent warm weather has sent the snow line scurrying back up the mountain.
Three resorts are currently open in Italy. The most extensive terrain is to be found in Cervinia (130cm upper base) with its links to Zermatt, but you can also skin on the glacier at Val Senales (75cm) and in little known (non-glacial) Sulden (50cm upper base).
Zermatt (130cm upper base) and Saas-Fee (90cm upper base) continue to offer by the far the most extensive terrain in Switzerland right now, but there are a number of other smaller options available including Glacier 3000 (near Les Diablerets) and the Diavolezza glacier (near St Moritz).
On the whole, snow conditions are good but, like everywhere else in the Alps, much of the lower lying snow from the October storms has now melted.
Many western US resorts have seen snow over the last few days, which has increased optimism for the beginning of the season.
Loveland (45cm mid-mountain base) and A-Basin (45cm (mid-mountain base) in Colorado were first to open on 29 October, but have since been joined by Mammoth (76cm upper base) in California, albeit in a very limited capacity.
Norquay (near Banff) opened for the season yesterday and will be joined by Lake Louise today. It should be stressed though that snow depths here are still very modest (about 15-20cm up top) and available terrain, for now at least, is very limited.
Next full snow report will be on Wednesday 11 November 2015, but see Today in the Alps for regular updates