Latest snow report
Updated: 6pm Thursday 19 November 2020
Welcome to our weekly detailed snow report for the Alps and beyond.
By this point in November, around 20-30 ski resorts across the Alps would usually be open, however, measures taken across Europe to combat the spread of Covid-19 have left Switzerland as the only Alpine country currently able to offer lift-served skiing (to the public at least). Most of the Swiss options are glaciers, but there are also a handful of non-glacial options open (at weekends at least) thanks to artificial snow.
Elsewhere in the Alps (i.e. France, Italy, Austria and Germany) resorts are hoping to open or re-open in December, though this is obviously subject to current restrictions being lifted.
In terms of how snow conditions in the Alps are shaping up, regular followers of weathertoski will know that October was a cold and snowy month, leading to some very promising looking early conditions across the Alps. The last three or four weeks have been rather dry and exceptionally mild though, meaning that most of the early snow has now disappeared. The glaciers remain in good shape but below glacier level there is little or no base to speak of.
There have been occasional snowfalls in recent days, and it is indeed forecast to snow a few centimetres later today/tonight across some northern parts of the Alps. While this may look encouraging, much more is needed over the next few weeks to build up the base.
From tomorrow we are expecting the weather in the Alps to be dry and increasingly mild again until the middle of next week at least. Later next week there is a chance of a more substantive pattern change but this is far from certain at this stage, and even if this plays out it still may not be particularly cold. Stay tuned!
Across the pond a number of resorts are at least partially open with Colorado’s Wolf Creek and Alberta’s Banff/Lake Louise areas by far the best options right now…
There is currently no skiing available to the public in Austria due to measures taken to combat the spread of Covid-19.
There is currently no skiing available to the public in France due to measures taken to combat the spread of Covid-19.
There is currently no skiing available to the public in Italy due to measures taken to combat the spread of Covid-19.
11 Swiss ski resorts are expected to be offering some skiing this weekend, albeit mostly on a limited basis. These are Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Verbier, Glacier 3000, Crans Montana, Engelberg, Davos-Klosters, Laax, Arosa, Andermatt and the Diavolezza glacier (near St Moritz).
Zermatt (25km of pistes) and Saas-Fee (40km of pistes) currently remain the best bets in terms of both the extent and variety of open terrain.
Snow conditions are expected to be quite good thanks to the modest snowfalls expected on tonight (Thursday), the heaviest of which (10cm or so) will be in Engelberg, Davos/Klosters, Laax and Arosa.
Rest of Europe
A handful of resorts are open on a very limited basis in Scandinavia with, for example, four lifts currently in operation in Finland’s Ruka.
There is not yet any skiing in the Pyrenees due to both Covid-related restrictions and a lack of snow, with no significant snow forecast any time soon.
Scottish ski areas saw a dusting of snow last night, with up to 10cm of windblown snow at altitude in Cairngorm, but this will quickly disappear. Resorts are not expected to open in Scotland this month.
A dozen or so resorts are now open in the western US, albeit most on a very limited basis. One obvious exception is Colorado’s Wolf Creek where 130 trails are open and base depths are an impressive 110/130cm deep depending on altitude.
Four resorts are currently open in western Canada with the most extensive terrain and best snow in the Banff/Lake Louise area. Lake Louise itself has 90 runs open with settled snow depths of around 65/80cm, while Sunshine Village has 61 runs open with 80/185cm.
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Our next full snow report will be on
Thursday 26 November 2020