Latest snow report
Updated: 4.30pm Thursday 23 November 2017
Snow conditions in the Alps remain pretty good for late November, despite the milder weather this week. This weekend it will turn colder and snowier again, and colder still next week with even more snow, so all in all it’s a very encouraging start to the winter season.
There are inevitably still some areas of the Alps that don’t have much snow right now, even at altitude. Once such area is the Aosta valley in north-western Italy (e.g. Cervinia, Courmayeur) where cover remains very patchy. Some southern French resorts away from the Italian border are also very short of snow (e.g. Les Orres, SuperDévoluy, Serre Chevalier). However, for the majority of the Alps there now a decent base at altitude with plenty more snow on the day over the next 7-10 days.
Across the pond, the big news is the vast quantity of snow that has fallen in the Pacific north-west, in resorts such as Whistler and Mt Baker…
Milder weather is thawing some of the lower lying snow in Austria right now but, generally speaking, snow conditions are good for November with an increasing number of non-glacial options to choose from. The most prominent of these is Ischgl (60cm upper base) where 166km of runs are now open, the most extensive amount of skiing in the Alps for now.
Other recommended resorts include Obergurgl (60/169cm) with 99km of pistes, Sölden (5/180cm) with 91km and Obertauern (60/80cm) with 50km.
More snow is due over the weekend and at times next week.
Of the French ski resorts, Val Thorens (50/60cm) offers the greatest extent of skiing right now. However, this is likely to be eclipsed by L’Espace Killy this weekend as Tignes adds significantly to its current offering of seven runs and is joined by neighbouring (and linked) Val d’Isère (20/45cm). While there isn’t a vast amount of snow in L’Espace Killy, there is plenty to get a decent number of runs open, and more snow is expected to fall both this weekend and at times next week.
Other resorts in the French Alps that are partially open include Montgenèvre (30/40cm) and Isola 2000 (50/56cm).
Snow conditions are quite mixed across the Italian ski resorts, with good snow cover for the time of year in both the eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Dolomites) and far south-west (e.g. Prato Nevoso).
The Aosta valley, however, has less snow for now. Indeed snow cover in Cervinia (0/110cm) - often among the better options in the Alps at this time of year - is very patchy and skiing is still confined to the glacier.
Better options include Prato Nevoso (60/100cm), Kronplatz (10/40cm) and Val Senales (10/105cm).
Snow is expected across some Italian resorts this weekend but not, generally speaking, as much as in the northern Alps.
Snow cover in the Swiss Alps is generally pretty good for late November. The most impressive snow depths are in the northern Swiss resort of Engelberg (20/215cm), where nine slopes are open and (as of today) you can ski back to resort.
Two other good options are Zermatt (5/60cm) which has 41km of pistes open, and Saas-Fee (20/80cm) where there are 26km.
Fresh snow is expected across all Swiss ski resorts this weekend and at times next week.
Rest of Europe
A number of ski resorts are now partially open in the Pyrenees but Spain’s Baqueira Beret still leads the way with 23 of its 104 runs in operation.
Most other non-Alpine European skiing is currently in Scandinavia, where dozens of resorts are now open, albeit on a very limited basis. Finland’s Levi, for example, has four prepared pistes and snow depths of 10/50cm depending on altitude.
Recent snow in California has made for a decent early base in Mammoth (50/152cm) though warmer weather is now affecting the quality of the snow.
A number of ski resorts are also open in Colorado, though it is currently very mild here too. Breckenridge and Vail both have settled upper snow depths of around 45cm.
Further north, Jackson Hole has more natural snow (around 130cm up top) and will open on Friday.
Whistler (120cm mid-mountain base) has seen a huge amount of early snow though in recent days milder weather has affected the snow quality, especially lower down.
Further inland, snow conditions are more consistent right now in the Banff/Lake Louise area where they have also had plenty of early snow and the upper base is around 100-120cm deep.
Our next detailed snow report will be on Monday 27 November 2017, but see Today in the Alps for daily updates