Latest snow report
Updated: 6pm Monday 20 November 2017
Snow conditions in the Alps remain good for November, with generally excellent cover at altitude and snow to quite low levels in places too.
There will be a slight spanner in the works this week when it turns much milder and much of the lower-lying snow melts. However, this is absolutely normal at this time of year and we are not expecting a protracted “warm” drought, as we saw this time last year.
Indeed it will turn colder and potentially snowy again in the Alps as early as this weekend, and into next week. Watch this space…
Meanwhile, across the pond the Pacific North-west is enjoying an exceptionally snowy start to the season with over 2m of settled snow in resorts such as Whistler and Mt Baker.
Austria has the best snow conditions in the Alps right now, with excellent cover in most high resorts and snow to quite low levels too, especially in the north.
Among the best options are Obergurgl (50/150cm) which currently has 99km of open and Sölden (5/180cm) with 49km.
Ischgl (20/60cm) is the next big opening on 23 November, with Lech and St Anton (both of which also have plenty of snow) due to follow on 30 November and 1 December respectively.
Val Thorens and Tignes are the two high profile French resorts currently operating on a daily basis. Both offer excellent snow conditions for mid-November, but Val Thorens (60/70cm) has the greatest extent of open terrain with 27 runs compared to the 7 on offer in Tignes.
Val d’Isère and Chamonix (Grand Montets) are two more big names set to follow suit this weekend.
There is some excellent skiing available in the Italian Alps though (surprisingly) Cervinia is not one of the better options right now. Here the snow cover is still patchy, with skiing confined to the glacier areas at the top of the resort.
Snow conditions are currently better further east in resorts such as Passo Tonale (30/100cm) and Val Senales (20/100cm).
The far south-west, close to the Mediterranean, is also in good nick with 60/100cm of snow in Prato Nevoso, for example, where a handful of runs are also open.
Snow conditions in Switzerland are generally good for mid-November with quite a few resorts now partially open.
Some of the freshest snow is in the central and eastern Swiss Alps, where a handful of runs are open in Davos (20/70cm) and Arosa (20/50cm).
In the western Swiss Alps, Zermatt (10/65cm) remains the best option with 26km of pistes open, including a 1400m vertical drop from the top of the glacier down to Furgg.
Rest of Europe
The Pyrenees have also seen early snow, which prompted Baqueira Beret (25/50cm) to open last weekend. It now has 25 runs open making it among the better options in Europe right now. Andorra’s Grandvalira area is expected to follow suit this weekend.
Most other non-Alpine European skiing is currently in Scandinavia where dozens of resorts are now open, albeit on a very limited basis.
The northern US resorts from Wyoming northwards and into the Pacific north-west have had a very snowy start to the season. Jackson Hole (95/140cm) will open on 25 November. Further north, Mt Baker (Washington) is open and already has an incredible 223cm upper base.
Elsewhere in the western US, California has also seen some significant recent snowfalls. Good early skiing is reported in Mammoth, which now has upper base depths of around 152cm. Snow cover is more modest in Colorado, however, with 46cm at altitude in Breckenridge.
Whistler has had a sensational start to the season, with half a dozen lifts already open and over 2m of settled snow at altitude.
A number of other resorts are also partially open further inland, including Banff, where upper snow depths are around 80cm.
Our next full snow report will be on Thursday 23 November 2017, but see Today in the Alps for daily updates